I love Carrot Cake!
In honour of my birthday on Easter Sunday…I was determined to whip up a new favourite for the family…Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Carrot Cake!
My boys have never tasted Carrot Cake…I think the word ‘carrot’ turned them off!Chocolate and Vanilla were more to their liking!
Now that they are ‘mature teenagers’…lol! I decided it was the perfect time to try my luck with my ‘all-time favourite’.
Carrot Cake has not always been a favourite of mine…the typical presence of walnuts in the cake made it taste ‘funny‘ to me.
I have no memory of my mother making Carrot Cake as a child…however, she assures me she made it…she even has a note written on her recipe stating even my brother, David, liked it! He was always all about chocolate!
A memory I do have involving walnuts is the avoidance of them!
As a child growing up, around Christmas, my mother would fill a basket of nuts and place them by the fireplace with a nutcracker. As kids, my brother and I would love to try to break the nuts open with the nutcracker…not very easy…but a fun challenge!
I believe that would have been my first encounter trying a walnut. I have this memory of my mouth going dry and my tongue feeling ‘funny’…not tingly but more ‘numb like’.
Hard to describe as I have not had a walnut in years!.
It wasn’t until my son, Michael, began describing the feeling in his mouth when he ate something he was allergic to. I put ‘two and two’ together and came to the conclusion that I might have a possible walnut allergy!
Suffice it to say…I tend to overlook Carrot Cake as it tends to be baked with walnuts.
As a special treat for my birthday weekend, I chose to create a Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Carrot Cake.
And so, the quest to find the best recipe to adapt began!
The first Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Carrot Cake recipe I adapted was from The Toronto Star’s Susan Sampson, Cooking 101. I have been hanging on to this recipe for a while now…I was excited to finally put it to the test! Susan Sampson adapted the recipe, Carrot Cake With Ginger Icing (click here) from epicurious.com. (click here)
I further adapted the recipe to make it allergen friendly: I replaced the 2 eggs with 1/2 tsp of baking soda, 2 tbsp of water and 1/4 cup of cinnamon applesauce.
I chose to bake the batter in a small bundt pan rather than a 9 inch cake pan, spread a Lemon Icing for the topping and decorated the cake with grated carrot and Surf Sweets Jelly Beans.
Verdict: Delish! Both Michael and Matthew were sceptical at first…but easily converted once they had a mouthful! Michael seemed to be pleasantly surprised at the taste and moist texture. “Are there bananas in this?”, he queried, upon discovering a piece of crushed pineapple and then proceeded to pick all the ‘bits’ out.
Note to self: Omit crushed pineapple. Both enjoyed the ‘twist’ of a Lemon Icing. I assured them the icing will taste even better when I get my hands on a container of Tofutti Cream Cheese!
The second, Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Carrot Cake to adapt, came from my mother’s cake recipe archives. She retrieved her original clipping of Easter Bunny Cake from the Lifestyle Food Section of The London Free Press, Wednesday, April 18, 1984.
This recipe had the lovely addition of orange juice in the cake and in the icing. I baked it in a loaf pan to rave reviews!
The third and final Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Carrot Cake I adapted came from my mom’s sister…my Aunt Frances.
As much as we all loved my mother’s recipe…Aunt Frances’ was the clear winner in the ‘taste buds’ of my boys. Perhaps it was that extra teaspoon of cinnamon! (The cake above was 1/2 of the following recipe)
Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Carrot Cake
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce
4 tbsp water
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, oil, applesauce, water and grated carrots. Combine well until the oil is incorporated throughout the mixture.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, powder, salt and cinnamon.
Stir the dry ingredients into the bowl of the wet ingredients.
Pour batter into a 9 inch cake pan that has been lined with parchment paper, oiled and floured.
Bake at 350 F for 1 hour and 15 -20 minutes depending on your oven. Check to make sure that a toothpick comes out clean from the centre of the cake.
Let cool in cake pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before turning cake out to finish cooling.
Once cooled it is ready to ice and decorate.
If you have a soy allergy, a simple Lemon or Orange Icing is the perfect complement to Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Carrot Cake. Click here for my Vanilla Icing recipe. Replace the vanilla with lemon/orange juice and add about 3/4-1 tsp of lemon/orange zest. Taste to adjust to your liking.
Dairy Free ‘Cream Cheese’ Icing
In a large bowl, cream the Tofutti and Earth Balance until well blended.
Stir in the lemon juice and slowly start to blend in the icing sugar.
I spread about 3/4 of the Dairy Free ‘Cream Cheese’ Icing over the top of the Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Carrot Cake. Sprinkled the edge with grated carrot that I let sit on paper towels to soak up any moisture and decorated with Surf Sweet Jelly Beans.
P.S. I will be posting the adapted version of my mother’s recipe from The London Free Press on Friday.