The carrot craze continues…
I am a proponent of eating lots of fruits and vegetables, and raw cuisine intrigues me. Dining at a raw resto can leave me beguiled: how did they do that? This goes beyond salads. Silky smooth lasagnas, luscious chocolate hazelnut cakes and brownies. This does not taste remotely like raw foods. Then I immediately want to try to make it myself. New techniques to bring you different flavours…
If you need any introduction to raw foods, raw desserts are definitely the way to go. No stranger to decadent raw desserts (Raw Key Lime Pie, Better Than Nutella Cheesecake, Raspberry Cashew Dreamcake), sometimes they go thump with the richness from nuts and coconut. It hasn’t stopped me from wanting to explore more desserts, though. Even better when they are lighter.
Last summer, I was a recipe tester for Amber’s cookbook Practically Raw Desserts and while the recipes are very flexible (I love her multiple variations!), one ingredient she was adamant about not substituting was coconut flour. It is unlike any other flour or shredded coconut.
I was dying to try was her Enlightened Carrot Cake. Nut-free, the base is made from carrots, apples and dates. Oh, and coconut flour. However, by the time I tracked down coconut flour and had the gusto to make this recipe, the book had already been shipped to the publisher (oops!). Thank goodness, this was one of the first recipes she shared online because it finally prompted me to try it.
Amber made this as a cute double-decker cake with a small springform pan. Since I don’t have one, I looked for an easier option. Cupcakes worked well with my last raw carrot cake (very good, too), and even though I had no muffin wrappers, I decided to try it out. After a bit of warm water pouring over the back of the muffin tray, the frozen cupcakes popped right out. It worked!
And yes, they were delicious. Because they are made with coconut flour, they are light. Coconut flour is defatted coconut meat, so it is a lower-fat coconut-based option for desserts. Most importantly, it is an ingredient creating a fluffier texture. As such, these cupcakes are so different than any other raw dessert I have made. The sweetness is not over-pronounced and it was a delicious dessert with a hint of coconut and cinnamon. Satisfying and surprisingly filling for a low-fat dessert.
Amber has two recipes as suggested frostings. I chose neither, although her fermented cashew frosting is still on my hit-list. My last cashew-date frosting was a bit dense and definitely not white, so I wanted to substitute the dates. Instead, I made an apple-cashew frosting. It was simple: apple + soaked cashews + ume plum vinegar (another acid and salt could work) + water. I liked how the fresh apple added bulk and sweetness. The consistency was just perfect after a chill in the refrigerator. Smooth and creamy.
Of course, now I am excited to make more recipes with coconut flour. Have you tried it yet?
Many of the recipes in Practically Raw Desserts use coconut flour, so I am excited to try more of Amber’s creations. I promise to do a better review of the cookbook when I finally get my copy. Here are other recipes that use coconut flour:
Maple Streusel Coffee Cake Squares in Practically Raw Desserts
Pecan Chai Spice Bars in Practically Raw Desserts (I made these as a tester but found the flavours a bit muted and the frosting too soft)
Pecan Shortbread in Practically Raw Desserts
Cake Batter Protein Balls from Chef Amber Shea (I have made these already. They are very good for something so simple)
Raw Apricot Jam Bars with Flakey Crust by Bonzai Aphrodite
Cardamom Chocolate Chip Cookies from Purely Twins
Peppermint Protein Bars from Purely Twins
Coconut Lemon Meltaways from The Hearty Herbivore
Raw Avocado Brownie from Bite-Sized Thoughts
Chocolate Avocado Cookies from Sprint 2 The Table
1 cup pitted dates, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes and drained (water reserved)
1 pound carrots, peeled if desired, shredded
1 large or 2 small red apples, peeled if desired, cored, and chopped (I had 250g prepped Fuji apples)
1/4 cup date soaking liquid
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon (consider also adding nutmeg and ground ginger)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup coconut flour
Stevia to taste (optional, did not use)
Apple-Cashew Frosting (see below) – or your favourite frosting
1. Soak your dates.
2. Use your food processor to grate your carrots with the grater attachment. Remove and set aside in a large bowl.
3. In your food processor using the S-blade, combine the drained dates, apple, reserved soaking water, lemon juice and vanilla and blend until smooth (a bit chunky is ok).
4. Add the cinnamon and salt and blend again until combined
5. Add pureed mixture to the carrots and stir well with a spoon to combine.
6. Stir in the coconut flour (sift it if it is clumpy), and stir until uniformly combined. Adjust sweetness by adding stevia, if desired. Set batter aside for 5-10 minutes to allow the coconut flour to absorb the water.
7. You can make this into a cake as per Amber’s directions, but I made cupcakes. Pack batter into muffin tray (I did not line them and it was ok) and place in freezer until frozen. At this point, to remove from the muffin tray, I gently ran warm water on the other side of the muffin tray. Once slightly melted, the cupcakes popped right out. Wrap tightly or place in air-tight container. Can refrigerate or freeze. Prior to eating, thaw cupcakes at room temperature for at least two hours, then frost.
Makes 10 cupcakes.
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 1 hour, then rinsed and drained
1/4 apple, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar (may sub with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar with a bit of salt perhaps)
water to thin to desired consistency (I used around 1/2 cup but start with less since it will be more saucy initially. It will firm up in the fridge overnight)
1. Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Add water to thin to your desired consistency. It will thicken once chilled, making it easier to frost.
Makes 1 cup. Depending on how much frosting you like, you will need to double or triple the recipe to frost all cupcakes.