Gingered Carrot Loaf Cake
Dairy-free, gluten-free, whole grain
There is one place in Boston that I will always look forward to going to: Flour Bakery. Joanne Chang is my baker-lady idol and an all around amazing person. Sure, the sticky buns there are legendary (and rightly so), but there is one item that I got excited about in the fall: their vegan ginger carrot muffins.
I had one last year (I eat gluten only for special occasions; this is one of them) and I feel in love. I am not someone who really loves super sweet things; I like sweetness to be balanced. These muffins are just the right amount of sweet and right amount of gingery spice. Full of golden raisins and nuts, topped with cane sugar before baking so you get a crunchy top. I love them.
My immediate response when I eat a baked good is to try and figure out how I can recreate it. It’s just how I am. I want to take things apart and see how they are made. So that is what I did with this muffin and this cake is what I came to.
It may not be in muffin form, but it is perfectly moist, sweet and spicy. Not to mention, there is no dairy or gluten in this cake.
Most muffin or cake recipes will call for some milk or yogurt to be added. Milk helps to give the cake moisture, flavor and structure. Coconut cream has a good amount of fat (hello moisture) and flavor and the protein needed to provide structure. If you want to get the best flavor and texture, use the full fat coconut cream instead of almond or cashew milk. While nut milks can work well in baking, I prefer coconut cream because it is fattier, which will then produce a more tender crumb.
When you are picking your coconut cream, make sure that it is organic and full fat. The whole point of adding the milk is for the fat, so no skimping. If you are not dairy-free, use full fat milk. If you want something seriously rich, use cream.
Gluten-free flours can be very tricky. Each one acts a little bit differently and getting the right mix involves trial and error and balancing out their different properties. While you can certainly use a store-bought gluten-free flour mixture, I like to make my own, adding a little extra nutrition where I can.
I love Teff flour. Made from the ethopian grain, teff is high in protein, full of amino acids and other good-for-you stuff. While it is predominately used for making flat breads, when added to baked goods it lends a subtle nuttiness that is reminiscent of whole wheat. Teff can’t really stand on its own since it can make things pretty darn dense. Oat flour is a great companion to teff. It provides a similar flavor, but also helps to give better structure to the bread.
While oat and teff flours provide great flavor and some structure, they are gluten-free flours and need some help to bind together and rise. Arrowroot flour helps to provide that missing something. It not only acts as a binder, but gives a little bit of chew to this bread that is truly delicious.
160g/about 11/2 cups grated carrots
1/3 cup (70g) olive oil
2/3 cup (122g) coconut cream (full fat), at room temperature
3/4 cup (105g) organic coconut sugar
3 large, organic eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup (120g) teff flour
1/2 cup (75g) gluten-free oat flour
1/4 cup (35g) arrowroot flour/starch
1 3/4 tsps baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped crystallized ginger
3 tbsp organic cane sugar for topping
In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, including the nuts and chopped crystallized ginger. Not the carrots.
In a large bowl, combine the oil, coconut cream, coconut sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisk together until smooth. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, whisk together to remove any clumps and fully combine.
Add the carrots and use a spatula to incorporate. Scrape into the prepared loaf pans. Sprinkle all the cane sugar across the top of the batter.
Bake for 1 hour, until the top is crisp the the center is fully cooked. Let cool completely before slicing. This bread is DELICIOUS the day after; it gets better after a day. Sliced and toasted with tahini it is amazing.