Desserts

Carrot Cake Squares with Maple Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

carrot cake

I often revisit an older recipe by making it time and time again and tweeking wherever I see opportunities for improvement. I was testing these delicious squares late last week and built this really impressive, carrot cake tower for the winning shot. I just about managed to get a top shot view and then a close up of the nicely stacked carrot cake squares when the tower came toppling down. I just about cried. Not really; but I sure did eat a lot of cake to feel a little better about the photo fail. If you follow me on snapchat, you know exactly what am talking about! All those candid shennanigans I share with you behind the scenes.

Carrot cake is simply one of my favorite desserts on the planet. It’s truly Fall personified ( but I eat mine year-round) & I like mine cold with a cup of warm black tea or dark coffee. What’s not to like? Carrots add the perfect level of sweetness to this dessert while incorporating mainstream fall flavors; a pinch of nutmeg, orange zest, cinnamon, pure maple syrup, pineapple, and brace yourselves… for the creamiest vegan cream cheese. This “cream cheese” has nothing on cheese. You will agree with me too, I promise. So what’s it made of, you ask? “Tofutti-Better than Cream Cheese.” I often give this product as a vegan alternative to make my raw cheesecakes a little creamier as opposed to adding mascarpone or ricotta cheese. The frosting is lightly sweetened with pure maple syrup & it also has a strong, vanilla flavor.

carrot cake squares

Not convinced? Would rather opt for cream cheese that has real cheese and dairy in it, that’s fine. But you must read on & try the carrot cake recipe itself. It’s also got walnuts, sultana raisins & fresh pineapple and the best warming spices. It’s just perfect. It’s got the right level of moisture, crunch, & sweetness. It’s made with gluten-free flour and it’s a great alternative to traditional wheat carrot cake.

gluten free carrot cake

I hope you know am typing this in the wee hours of the morning and am trying my hardest not to go downstairs & open the fridge (because I have a freshly made tray that am saving for Friday). I joke with my husband & friends that I sometimes eat dessert at night just to draw inspiration to write the blog post for the recipe, because all the flavors are fresh in my mind and it’s easy to write about. That’s (sort of) my business justification, I guess.

Carrot Cake Squares with Maple Vegan Cheese Cream

  • Servings: 10 pieces
  • Time: 45 mins
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of gluten free all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder ( I use GF)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • a pinch of sea salt (about 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 cup of brown coconut sugar
  • 2 cups of grated carrots
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2-3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 cup of finely chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1 large handful of sultana raisins (optional)
  • 1 large handful of chopped walnuts (for batter & toppings)
  • 1 tbsp of orange zest
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract

Frosting

  • 1/2 package of “Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese”
  • 2-3 tbsp of pure maple syrup
  • a splash of vanilla extract
  • the juice of 1/2 lemon

*start with these measures, use the rest of the Tofutti & repeat recipe if you require more frosting.

Whisk them all well & refrigerate the icing, always.

Instructions

  1. Heat up the oven to 350F and use some good grass fed butter (or coconut oil) to grease the bottom & sides of a nice, large rectangular (non-stick) baking pan. My mother always adds a little flour to the sides of the pan (to coat the butter) & this works like a charm to prevent the cake from sticking. * I like to eat these as squares, but use 2 springform pan if you want a cake, instead. This recipe is enough for 2 small, round cakes.
  2. Put your gluten free flour through a sifter and into a large bowl.
  3. Mix the flour well with the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, sea salt & nutmeg.
  4. Beat the 2 eggs in a bowl & slowly add the coconut sugar, vanilla & coconut oil. Whisk well.
  5. Slowly incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient bowl. Whisk well until uniformly blended.
  6. Add the grated carrots, pineapple, orange zest, sultana raisins, & walnuts. Continue to mix well.
  7. Pour the mixture into the baking pan of your choice & bake in the middle of the rack for 35 to 40 mins or until golden brown. I always insert a long, wooden skewer in the very center of the cake, if it comes out clean; it’s ready!
  8. Allow it to cool before trying to remove it or cut it.
  9. Enjoy it… slowly! keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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