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Ultimate Carrot Cake with Vegan Gourmet Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe Courtesy of: Chef Jessica

This cake is everything carrot cake should be – dense, rich, and decadent, with a hint of spice and a sweet cream cheese frosting. It makes a beautiful layer cake! Try dressing it up with some marzipan “carrots” and mint leaf “greens” to make an even cuter presentation. Chopped nuts or freshly grated carrots (if serving immediately) also make a great garnish!

This recipe is raisin- and nut-free, but you can add up to 1 ½ cups of chopped walnuts or pecans and 1 cup of raisins at the end of mixing. Just increase the baking time by 5 minutes. For a 9×13” cake, increase baking time to 45 minutes or 50-55 minutes if including nuts and raisins.

Ingredients

For Cake:

2 ½ c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 ¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
½ tsp salt
1 lb medium carrots, peeled and shredded (6-7 carrots, about 3 cups)
1 ½ c granulated sugar
½ c packed light brown sugar
1 c plain or vanilla non-dairy yogurt
¼ c cornstarch
1 ½ c canola or other mild vegetable oil
1 c raisins (optional)
1 ½ c nuts (optional)

For Frosting:

¼ c non-hydrogenated non-dairy margarine/butter alternative, softened
¼ c non-hydrogenated shortening, softened
½ c Vegan Gourmet Cream Cheese, softened
4 c powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Decorations (optional):

Marzipan
Natural orange food coloring
Fresh mint leaves

Instructions

Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat to 350° F. Spray two 8” cake pans with nonstick spray or cooking oil and line bottom with parchment paper, then spray again.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt in large bowl; set aside.

In a small bowl, mix non-dairy yogurt with cornstarch with a fork or small whisk until well-blended and few clumps remain. Add yogurt/starch mixer to large mixing bowl along with brown and granulated sugars and beat with electric mixer on medium high speed until well-combined (about 2 minutes). Turn speed down to medium and slowly add oil in a steady stream while mixing, and mix for another 30-45 seconds until frothy.

Stop mixer and add half of dry ingredients and mix just to incorporate, then repeat with second half of dry ingredients. Add carrots (and nuts and/or raisins if using) and mix on low speed until dry ingredients are absorbed and no streaks of flour remain. Add nuts and raisins if using and mix well. Pour mixture into prepared pans and bake for 34-37 minutes until edges are browned and toothpick comes out of center of cake clean. (If using nuts or raisins, add an additional 5 minutes to baking time, testing at 35 minutes.) The cakes will not rise significantly but will brown on edges and the tops should look dry. Rotate once during baking so each side is even. Once finished, remove from oven let cakes cool for at least 30 minutes in cake pans before inverting on a wire rack and letting cool completely (at least an hour). If not frosting cakes immediately, wrap in plastic wrap and store refrigerated until ready to use.

Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. Cream together margarine, shortening and Vegan Gourmet Cream Cheese with electric mixer on medium high speed for about a minute until well-combined. Add powdered sugar in 1-cup batches and mix at high speed until smooth and creamy (at least 5 minutes), then add in vanilla. If not frosting immediately, store tightly covered and refrigerated until ready to use, then let come to room temperature (at least 30 minutes) and use when spreadable.

To frost cake, place one layer on a flat serving surface and cover with generous layer of icing. Stack second layer on top and cover top and sides with remaining icing.

For marzipan “carrots”, work orange food coloring into marzipan and shape into carrot forms, then press down on them several times with a sharp knife to create lines. Arrange eight “carrots” on cake and add small fresh mint leaves to create “greens.”

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