As I’ve mentioned in some other blog posts, I have coeliac disease so eat a strict gluten-free diet. I don’t talk about it much on the blog, because it’s a vegan blog, and is not about health or gluten-free recipes, but all the food I cook does happen to be gluten-free, and my recipes on my blog are either all gluten-free or can be made gluten-free, depending on what type of flour, pasta, etc. that you use. I know a lot of people looking for gluten-free and vegan cake recipes, and in general for vegan cake recipes, so thought I would share this recipe.
I think this cake can be great for kids, in particular, because even though it is a regular cake with oil and sugar in it, it has some nutritious ingredients too, like bananas, carrots, raisins, walnuts, ground flax seed and cashew nuts, so it’s a little extra way to sneak some goodness into their diets, without going totally overboard on sugar. It’s a pretty good source of omega 3s, protein and iron! I made it with a healthier icing, but you could also swap the cashew/coconut mixture for vegan cream cheese, if you feel like it. I love Violife Creamy mixed with a little maple syrup or icing sugar, and that would be lovely on this cake! I think this could make a lovely birthday cake for kids. It would be something different and it gets them to eat veggies!
If you are not on a gluten-free diet, I’m sure you could make this cake with regular wheat flour, or even spelt or whole wheat. I haven’t tried it but I see no reason why it wouldn’t work. You might need to add less soy milk, because I find that gluten-free flour sometimes needs a bit more liquid. If you are an experienced baker then you can probably see for yourself how much liquid it needs, but I suggest adding the soy milk a little at a time until it seems right. It should be a wet batter, but not runny, if that makes sense!
As usual with my recipes, you don’t need to stick to the ingredients exactly. I use unsweetened soy milk, but any plant milk should work. You can leave out the raisins, or add extra, or add some extra chopped walnuts to the mixture, leave out the spices and vanilla if you like or don’t have them, use different types of sugar, different oil, etc. I made this cake into squares because I felt like it, but you could make a loaf cake (probably halving the quantities), or a round cake, muffins, etc. (you might have to adjust the cooking time.)
I use Dove’s Farm self-raising gluten-free flour mix for baking cakes, and I find it works perfectly every time, so I recommend that mix. But a similar flour mix should work too, I also like the Aldi gluten-free flour mixes.
For the cake
3 flax eggs (3 tbsp. ground flax seeds + 9 tbsp. warm water)
3 medium carrots
375g self-raising gluten-free flour mix (I use Dove’s Farm)
225g brown sugar
3 tsp baking powder (gluten-free if required)
A dash of cinnamon
A pinch of allspice (optional)
A pinch of sea salt (optional)
A handful or two of raisins
225ml neutral tasting vegetable oil (I use sunflower oil)
100ml soy milk (or other plant milk)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the icing
1.5 cups of cashews
1 cup of desiccated coconut
3 tbsp. maple syrup (or agave syrup)
A squeeze of lemon juice
1 cup of water
A couple of handfuls of walnuts
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a cake tin with baking paper or use a non-stick baking tin (I used a 20cm square tin).
Mix the ground flax seed and warm water and set aside for 10 minutes to thicken up.
Mash the bananas until fairly smooth.
Peel or scrub the carrots and grate them into a bowl.
Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, raisins, spices and salt if using in a large mixing bowl with a spoon.
In a separate bowl or jug mix the oil, plant milk, and vanilla extract.
Add the carrots, banana and liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon working quite quickly until just combined. Don’t worry if there are some lumps, that will be fine and it’s best not to overmix it.
Pour the mixture into the baking tin and bake for about 50 minutes on the bottom shelf of the oven. I lightly covered the cake to stop it from browning too much on top before it’s fully cooked through. (Alternatively you could put the mixture into two separate cake tins and bake for less time, to make a 2 layer cake with icing in the middle.)
While the cake is baking, make the icing. Add the cashews, desiccated coconut, maple syrup, lemon juice and water to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. If your blender is not that powerful, you could soak the cashews first, either for an hour in cold water, or if you’re short on time, for ten minutes in warm water. I didn’t mind the icing having a little texture because I like the texture of the desiccated coconut, but if you have a high speed blender you can get a smoother texture. Either way it will taste good!
Roughly chop the walnuts and toast in a dry frying pan for a few minutes over a medium heat, until turning lightly golden in places. Be careful not to burn them!
When the cake is ready and cooled, spread the icing on top and sprinkle the walnuts over the top. Leave to firm up for a little while in the fridge before slicing. And enjoy! I stored this cake in the fridge to keep the icing fresher. As with many gluten free cakes, it only is at its best for a couple of days, so I would suggest freezing it in slices if you want to keep it for longer, and defrosting in the fridge before eating it, or else just eat it all in one day! It does make quite a lot of cake (as you can see in the photo below, but I had many helpers helping me to eat it!) You could also make half the quantity in a loaf tin, which I will try out next time.