Saturday, December 18, 2010

On Sunday, Curt and I had dinner with our friends Billy and Monika.  Monika made a DELICIOUS dinner of salmon, mashed cauliflower, and asparagus!  I couldn't let her make everything, so I attempted a pretty much paleo dessert.  I read the blog Health Bent on an almost daily basis.  I actually posted one of their recipes before : Rosemary Cashews.  Anyway, one of the recipes that I'd been wanting to try was for carrot cupcakes.  I decided to give it a go, but with my own little twists.

Pretty Much Paleo Carrot Cake

* 1 c almond butter
* 1/2 can full fat coconut milk
* 2 eggs
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1/2 cup raisins
* 1/2 cup crushed pineapple
* 1/2 cup shredded coconut
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 3 carrots, shredded
* 1 Tbs vanilla extract
* 2 Tbs cinnamon
* 1 tsp nutmeg
* 1 tsp ginger
* 1/4 tsp ground cloves
* pinch salt
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

This is a pretty easy cake to make.  I didn't have whole carrots, but I did have a bunch of baby carrots, so I shredded those in my food processor and let them sit.  In a large bowl, I mixed pretty much all of the ingredients, except the carrots.  I mixed everything together with just a wire whisk.  It was pretty easy to make sure that everything was mixed well.  I love lots of "stuff" in my carrot cakes, so I added some coconut and pineapple to the original recipe.  Since the cake doesn't call for much sugar at all, I thought that adding the pineapple would give the cake a bit of moisture as well as some natural sweetness

Once the batter was mixed, I added in the shredded carrot and mixed again.  By this time, my arm was getting a pretty good workout!  I've never made a cake without flour before, so I wasn't sure how/if the cake would rise or if it would even taste good without much sugar.  Many people put more sugar into their coffee than I put into the entire cake!

Next, I greased 2 8-inch cake pans and split the batter between the two pans.  I wanted to make a 2 layer cake since this was for a nice dinner with friends.  Curt could eat a cake that didn't look like it came from a bakery, but I like my sweets looking really pretty!  So... 2 frosted layers it was!  I stuck the pans in the oven at 350 and waited.  It took about 30 minutes for the cakes to bake all the way through.  I did the traditional "toothpick test" to make sure the cakes were completely cooked.  The toothpick came out clean, so I pulled the cakes out to let them cool on wire racks.  

While the cakes cooled, I whipped up a quick cream cheese frosting.  I mixed a package of cream cheese, 3 tbs butter, 3 tbs sugar, 2 tsp vanilla, and a teeny pinch of salt.  I would have used powdered sugar in the frosting, except my fat little beagle got into the sideboard a few weekends ago and ate half the bag of powdered sugar, along with a stick of crisco.  (Nope, she didn't get sick at all- she's got a stomach of steel).  Anyway... I played with the proportions of ingredients until I got a nice fluffy frosting.  For this, I did use my hand mixer... my arm muscles had gotten enough of a workout for the night!

Once the cakes were completely cooled, I set one layer on my pretty snowman plate.  I then took some of the frosting and put it on top.  

Then, because I had extra, and because I wanted to add a little pizzaz, I spread some crushed pineapple on top.  Then, I set the next layer on top and frosted the whole dang thing. 

It looked really pretty to me.  I didn't have any fancy marzipan carrots or anything, but I thought it looked pretty cute.  I did add some shredded coconut on top, just to make give it a little something extra.

So the big question is: "How did it taste?!"  Well, it may have been the few glasses of wine, but, I think that the cake was a success!  Everyone had a nice sized slice after dinner and I got some good reviews.  (They could have been lying to make me feel better though haha).  But I thought it tasted yummy!  I tend to have a sweet tooth and love sweets, but this is a nice alternative!  Just because it's pretty much paleo doesn't mean that I can eat them all day every day for my meals.  However, it's just like a regular dessert.  It's good for a treat every once in a while, but it's a heck of a lot better for you than most carrot cakes!

I even brought the leftovers to school the next day (I'm a teacher) and the teachers I work with all ate some and said it was good.  I was even asked for a copy of the recipe! 

So the verdit on Paleo carrot cake?  The recipe's definitely a keeper!

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