And not just any carrot cake either… Probably the best carrot cake in THE WHOLE WORLD! This one as a matter of fact. Lauren declared herself a master of the carrot cake a while back, and man was she right! This is just amazing, do yourself a favour and head over to her site and then bake this cake, as it will potentially change your life or lead to marriage proposals. Not that the latter happened to me, only brownies have had that effect so far in my life, which is appropriate. (For the record I don’t think the person in question was serious, but he definitely wanted more brownies, and he was willing to go to great lengths to achieve that)
Now if you have a look at the recipe you might go, now hold on a minute… Eggs and cream cheese now that surely isn’t vegan! You would of course be completely right, I had to veganise this cake. I did not want to change this wonderful recipe much at all, I had a quick look at a few vegan carrot cake recipes and they all seemed to just leave out the eggs all together and add a little extra baking powder. Now I am sure this would have worked out just fine, however I decided to add a few flax eggs just to make sure it would hang together. Oh and of course flax is really good for you so surely it can’t hurt…
To make a flax egg you basically mix one tablespoon ground flaxseed with 2.5-3 tablespoons of warm water, whisk and leave it to set for a few minutes until it reaches an eggy consistency. Nice and easy, 1 tablespoon is equivalent of one egg so I used 3. Then I added 1 teaspoon of baking powder, well actually I was out of baking powder so I used another 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Basically the same….
Now the cream cheese frosting was another story altogether and a much longer one… My original plan was to leave this as unadulterated as possible, however finding vegan cream cheese in Malta ain’t no walk in the park. There are only a handful of places that have it, and only one I can get to after work. I know for a fact they had it on Monday as I checked, however when I came back on Thursday they were sold out of the original flavour. Shock! Horror! I quickly decided that both garlic & herbs and French onion was a bad idea, and pretty soon that vegetables somewhat off too. So I reached for the only thing that I though just might work, vegan sour cream…
The following is really how most of my kitchen creations come to be, I have an idea but have the wrong ingredients and need to taste and improvise my way to something that works…
Totally random vegan carrot cake frosting
About 1/2 cup coconut oil
1 tub vegan sour cream
500 g icing sugar (1 box basically…)
1/2 vanilla bean
zest of 1 small lemon
zest of 1 small orange
Mix the coconut oil with about the same amount of icing sugar till creamy, if you have a mixer of sorts use that, I don’t… Then add the sour cream and the rest of the icing sugar bit by bit, if mixing by hand you might want to sift it. It just might make your life easier…
When I write it up like this is sounds totally straight forward, which it is most certainly was not… For one thing I realised that my icing sugar was less powder and more brick. Bring on the potato masher, of course there are a lot of kitchen equipment that would have done this job better, like my beloved pestle and mortar. Unfortunately that, along with a lot of other kitchen stuff is in Scotland… A potato masher and elbow grease also works though, although my black jumper most certainly is not black anymore. Coconut butter with icing sugar is hardly a novel idea, I am pretty sure I got it from this article in the NY Times. I was always going to add the sour cream, I mean after all I bought it for this very purpose. I used Lauren’s frosting as inspiration and she uses vanilla, unfortunately the only vanilla extract I have is rather dark brown and as I was using unrefined icing sugar I did not want to make the frosting any darker so I decided to use a vanilla bean and just scrape out the seeds. I also love the look of those little black seeds, so pretty and promise so much lovely flavour! These ingredients made for a perfectly OK frosting in themselves and my boyfriend rather liked it like this. However when I tasted it I felt that it lacked a little bit of the acidic kick that a good cream cheese frosting has, thus the zest came into the equation. I chose not to use the juice as this would make the frosting far too liquid, and much to my surprise it turned out delicious!
Who’d have thought… Anyhow what are you doing hanging around here? Head over to Lauren’s blog and take your laptop to the kitchen pronto! (Not being bossy or anything… OK, OK so maybe I am, but it is for a good cause!)