Food converter: Sugar-Free Carrot Cake with Cranberries

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In my little experiment of completely eliminating products packed with loads of sugar, just after a couple of weeks into the experiment, I realised that I do not like commercially made cakes anymore. Even cakes in artisan bakeries just don’t do it for anymore, because they use traditional recipes and every single one of them is made with just too much sugar.

It’s been months since we stopped even buying table sugar and switched into more natural alternatives. As a result, we are now the happy eaters of home-made cakes, that are packed with nutrients, fiber and sweet little things that give enough satiety to our inner sweet-tooth itch.

To make a most delicious cake, that will make you full, content, warm and guilt-free, we need to take a standard recipe and convert it into nutritional heaven.

Carrot-cake-slice-MLK

I crossed out original ingredients and measurements, and corrected them with the healthier alternatives to make it special.

For the base:

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4 free-range eggs
240ml 180ml any vegetable oil (better to use different ones at a 50/50 ratio, like olive/sunflower, as they have different nutritional profile and you want variety)
350g flour 7 tbsp wholewheat flour, 5 tbsp wholemeal spelt flour, 2 tbsp  oat flour, 1 tbsp coconut flour (you can use just one type of wholemeal flour total 13-15 tbs, just choose the one with highest amount of fibre you can find locally)
400g organic carrots (they cost almost the same at Tesco vs non-organic ones)
380g brown sugar  5 tbsp xylitol, 5tbs coconut sugar, 5 tbs of date syrup/maple syrup (total about 220g of sugars)
1 tsp cinnamon + 1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking powder
2 oranges, zest from oranges add to the the base
1.5 tsp butter no need for the butter
200g of nuts 2 cups of any nuts you want, I used walnut and cashew (pecan will be perfect too), the more the better, you are doing it for yourself, not for sale, so be generous
handful of dried cranberries

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For the icing:

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200g Philadelphia (you can use normal cream-cheese too, full-fat tastes better)
250g Mascarpone cheese
250g icing sugar 5 tablespoon xylitol or 4-5 tablespoon coconut sugar (100g of sugars in total maximum)
70g butter
2 tsp Lucuma powder – adds sweet taste and antioxidants to the mix

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This type of cake is made from something that is called muffin type dough. All it means, that there are “wet” ingredients and “dry” ingredients. You need to mix dry ingredients first, then add wet ones to it, mix it to a good smooth consistency and… the cake is done!

It really cannot be much simpler than that, hence this cake is one of absolutely favourite in my kitchen, because it’s super simple, it’s beautiful, it can be very healthy and, most importantly, it’s delicious.

That little extra that makes the cake better for you consists of cranberries, lucuma powder, variety of nuts, good sugars and lots of fibre, so it is a seriously nutritional cake that will make you full and will not add inches to your waist, so have no fear!

Instructions:

Start with measuring the carrots and grating them. You need roughly 400g, but it can be more, it’s not vital. Ideally, you want juicy sweet carrots, the better the carrots, the better will be the end result.

Put all the ‘wet’ ingredients in a bowl.That is all the eggs, oil, squeeze juice from two oranges (before that grate the zest), you can also add vanilla or orange essence, if you want. 

Carrot-cake-MLK

Then it’s time to mix all the “dry” ingredients. That is all flour, cinnamon, nutmeg (you can skip it if you don’t like it), xylitol/coconut sugar. Some people suggest to mix sugars with liquid, but it really doesn’t make any difference at all. You can add your sugars at any stage.

Then mix “dry” and “wet” ingredients together and just stir it with a spoon. No mixers, don’t get too exciting about it, just good old spoon would do the trick. I will, however, highly recommend adding sugars gradually. Add 5 tbs, try it. Keep adding 1-2 tbs at a time and keep tasting. Don’t over do it, because you will have the icing on it too, which will be sweet.

Chop all the nuts and bake them a couple of minutes, as it enhances the nutty flavour. It’s suggested that baking nuts make them lose a little bit of their nutritional value, so you can skip this step and just add them to the base directly.

When the base was ready, mine wasn’t sweet enough, so I just added a drop of date syrup, which made it perfect. So tasting is the key! (If you worried to taste the base because it has raw eggs, I suggest you grow up as it’s not dangerous just add a little bit more sugar in the beginning).

Finally, just add your dried cranberries. Dried cranberries are great addition due to taste (adds a tiny bit of very nice sourness) and some nutritional value, so it’s a win-win.

Collage-carrots-dates-nuts-cranb

All you need to do now is just bake it. I had enough batter to bake two cakes, which I just cut in half to get my 4 layers. It’s up to you what you want to do. You can either bake 3 separate thin cakes, or two thicker ones and cut them, or one thick and cut it in two. It doesn’t matter. But if you are going for a one thick cake option, just bake it for 5-10 mins longer.

I suggest baking it at 180C for 20 minutes. Then go and check it out, if you are not sure, a toothpick tip will help you decide if it’s ready. Put a toothpick in, get it out – if it’s dry, it’s good to go. If not, then put it back for 5 minutes more and check again, do not over bake. If you do, it becomes dry and you lose points from your karma.

While it’s baking, you will have just enough time to do the icing.

Get your butter, which must be room-temperature, otherwise you will have lots of fun trying to whip cold butter with sugar, you don’t want to be doing that, just trust me. Once it’s all done and it looks like on the picture below, which takes about 30 seconds, add your cream cheese and mascarpone and mix it with your mixer, but don’t over do it. Once it’s smooth, it’s done. Taste it, if not sweet enough, add something sweet to it, one table spoon at a time. Alternatively, add some lucuma powder as it’s wicked and sweet and will help us live forever. If you don’t have it, then buy it for the next time. 

Making-icing-MLK

When everything is ready, let your cakes cool a little bit. Just 15-20 minutes, so that you can handle them and the heat wouldn’t make your icing melt, which is not the ideal scenario.

If you need to cut your cakes, just get a big heavy knife and start making small cuts on the side of the cake, while turning it around. Once it’s done, just cut it through. This little tip will help you have relatively even layers. (But even if they are not very even, nobody cares, it will hardly be noticeable). I got 4 layer beautiful cake.

Four-layer-cake-MLK

Now it’s the best part of the day – you need to assemble your beautiful creation. Cut as many layers as you want, spread the icing,  and repeat. One final tip – you should spread the icing on the side which had been cut, as opposed to outer side which is harder, as it will be much harder for the icing to be absorbed. Once you assembled it, then the last layer should be the most even one, as it will give you the shape of the cake. Then just spread the remaining icing to the best of your abilities, try not to eat half of the icing while doing it, and enjoy your result.

Assembling-the-cake-MLK

Now it’s the hardest time of the day – you need to let it rest for at least 60 minutes. Let the icing absorb a little bit, as it will enhance the taste and make it a little cooking perfection.

I’m joking! You don’t have to wait at all if you can’t help it. By the time you eat your second slice, it will taste even better, due to icing absorption, but it doesn’t really matter, because this cake is the absolute perfection and it will make you happy. I guarantee you that. You are welcome!

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