Carrot cake is always a favorite. This version is adored by all my guests and has even been served as a wedding cake. Here’s a professional cake-maker’s trick: Coat the cake with a layer of frosting, then refrigerate the cake before applying another layer of frosting. Known as “crumb coating,” this helps seal all the crumbs so they don’t mix into the outer layer of frosting. The result is a perfectly smooth frosting.
For the non-vegan option, try our cream cheese frosting for carrot cake recipe.
- Yield: 8 to 10 servings
For the Carrot Cake:
- 1 1/2 cups maple syrup
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 2/3 cup apple juice
- 3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 cups grated peeled carrots (from about 12 ounces)
- 1 cup currants
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
For the Tofu Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 3/4 cup apple juice
- 1/3 cup agar flakes
- 18 ounces vacuum-packed extra-firm silken tofu
- 7 ounces extra-firm water-packed tofu, drained
- 1 1/4 cups brown rice syrup
- 4 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/4 cups walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
- Heat the oven to 325°F. Lightly oil two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper and lightly oil the paper. Using an electric mixer, beat the maple syrup, oil, and apple juice in a large bowl until blended. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and salt into the maple syrup mixture and stir to blend. Stir in the carrots, currants, and walnuts.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean and the cakes begin to pull away from the sides of the pans. Cool in the pans on wire racks for 20 minutes, then turn out onto the racks and cool completely.
- To make the frosting: Combine the juice and agar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes, or until the agar dissolves.
- Meanwhile, blend the silken tofu, water-packed tofu, rice syrup, zest, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt in a food processor until very smooth and creamy. As soon as the agar is dissolved, pour the juice mixture through the feed tube with the food processor running, and blend into the tofu mixture until well combined. Transfer the frosting to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 4 hours, or until set.
- Return the chilled frosting to the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Place 1 cake layer on a platter and spread 1 1/2 cups of frosting over the top. Top with the second cake layer and spread half of the remaining frosting over the sides and top. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or until the frosting is set. Spread the remaining frosting over the sides and top of the cake. Press the walnuts around the sides of the cake.
- Cover the cake with a cake dome and refrigerate. Serve cold. The cake will keep for 2 days.