So I’m finally back east with the fam…and just like every year, Mother’s Day and my dad’s birthday fell right next to each other and we had a nice little celebration. Good dinner, good wine, good cake.
Ah, cake. My favorite dessert in the whole wide world is cake. OK, no…it’s the frosting. But you know, cake is the mighty vessel upon which it rests in all its gooey glory.
So carrot cake has always been my Dad’s favorite (and, incidentally, mine) so it’s seriously been the go-to every year. No, really…every year. So I had big shoes to fill since I’m pretty sure everyone we know has had their had some year or another…some years we ordered special from fancy bakeries…some years we totally forgot and ended up grabbing a pre-made one at Safeway…and, obviously, Mom has made more than a few and it felt like every year she’d do something a little different (nuts vs. no nuts…pineapple vs. no pineapple…etc).
I know generally how to make a carrot cake…but just like making a Paleo version of anything you love, there’s a lot of pressure not to f*ck it up when cooking for your very-not-Paleo-family.. I’m moving away from my general formula for cakes and cupcakes and muffins and other bread-y baked goods to be, you know, creative and all…and also just to experiment with texture. I’m a huge believer in changing up your repertoire and trying new things in the kitchen since, sure…you might have a tried and true recipe for Mom’s Apple Pie that might be “good,” but not “great”? I’ve had waaaaaay to many of someone’s mom’s or grandmothers cookies that they swore were the best ever…unmatched past, present, and future…and honestly, dude, not THAT great. Sorry.
I based this cake recipe off of the infamous vanilla cake over at Pretty in Primal. To date, it really is the best plain vanilla cake I’ve had, and like any good white or yellow cake recipe, you can personalize it in a million different ways. The texture is moist…like stick-to-you-fork-moist. Most of my cakes and muffins of old are primarily coconut flour and egg-based, which is fine, but like I said I wanted to get crazy and see what happened.
At the very least, I knew that if the cake sucked, I could always hide it under gobs of cream cheese frosting. That’s pretty much my solution for everything in life.
But in case you were wondering, it didn’t suck. In fact, Dad went back for seconds and said it was one of the best carrot cakes he’d every had…period. For a man who’d had it every year for his birthday for…a lot of years…that sure made my day
- For the Cake:
- ½ c Coconut Flour
- ½ c Almond Meal
- ½ t Salt
- ½ t Baking Soda
- ½ c Maple Syrup (or honey)
- 2 t Vanilla
- 4 Eggs
- ¾ c Full Fat Coconut Milk
- 3 Large Carrots, grated
- ½ t Cinnamon
- ½ t Nutmeg
- ½ c Chopped Walnuts
- ½ c Chopped Dates
- For the Frosting:
- 8 oz Cream Cheese
- ¼ c Maple Syrup
- 3 T Full Fat Coconut Milk
- Note: This recipe made one, 9-inch cake layer that I split in two. Double the recipe for additional layers.
- Whisk all of your dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients (except the cream cheese, extra syrup, and coconut milk for the frosting) and beat on low with an electric mixer until everything is well combined.
- Pour into a greased and parchment-lines baking pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool completely and frost with the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.
- To make the frosting, bring the cream cheese to room temperature and beat well with the maple syrup and coconut milk.