Happy Sweet-Tooth Friday! This is Christine with a very special dessert this week—one that is not only vegan but also gluten-free and raw! I’ve never made a raw cake before so I was pretty skeptical, but this cake was packed with amazing fresh flavor!
Ok, my apologies, but there has been a lot of talk about chia here on NMA and apparently my brain is hard-wired to sing that jingle every time I hear the word. Matt had a post about chia seeds where he talked about their history as warrior-fuel for tribes of amazing runners, and then he got some more from his iHerb.com shopping spree. My interest was sparked by the chia seed’s gelling ability- I am excited to see their potential in vegan baking. And as an added bonus, the seeds are full of omega-3’s, antioxidants, and dietary fiber.
Last week I promised to work on a chia energy bar, but I’ve been feeling a little bit burnt out on bars and cookies and was in the mood for cake. I found an interesting recipe for No-Bake Carrot cake in the book Sweet Alternatives by Ariana Bundy. If you remember from my post on Vegan Rice Krispie Treats, her book is filled with dessert recipes made without gluten, dairy and soy. I thought a raw cake would be the perfect venue to try out the gelling nature of the chia seed and let its nutty flavor shine through. Here’s my adaptation of the recipe, with chia seeds added.
Vegan Raw Chia-Carrot Cake
- 1 3/4 lbs grated carrots (eye ball this from a 2 lb bag of whole carrots and chop in a food processor, or get pre-grated)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 cup chopped dried mangoes
- 1 cup packed chopped dates
- zest and juice of 1 orange (just under 1/2 a cup of oj)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp agave nectar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
If starting with whole carrots, process to very small pieces or if you have the energy grate them by hand. Stir together the carrots, walnuts, the 1/2 cup of chia seeds, mangoes, and orange zest. In a food processor, puree the chopped dates, orange juice, 2 tbsp of chia seeds, vanilla extract, agave nectar, cinnamon and salt. Mix the puree into the carrot mixture- you may need to wash your hands and get in there to get the job done!
Line a 8 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap. It doesn’t have to be perfect because the weight of the batter will weigh the plastic down into the corners. Refrigerate the cake overnight. I didn’t plan the timing correctly so I just stuck it in the freezer for a couple hours, which turned out fine but I imagine overnight is slightly more solid. Turn the cake over on to a plate, and garnish with orange slices and extra carrot peel.
I was pleasantly surprised with the results of this raw cake! It was super super moist, and the chia seeds added a nice crunch. While it was very different than carrot cake made with oil and flour, I won’t deny that I went back for seconds! It was a lot of fun to make together with my dad this afternoon. By the way, I think this recipe would be excellent as cupcakes. I skipped making the orange-cashew-agave icing that went along with the original recipe but it’d be nice on the cupcake version.
I hope you give this recipe a whirl and reap the benefits of both the chia seeds and the joy of a healthy sweet snack!
Until next time, stay sweet!