After a weekend of getting our son settled back into his college apartment and adjusting to life at home again, minus one person, we are all finding our way in our new routines. Our son, once again, gets familiar with making his own meals, cleaning his own home, and balancing his studies along with his social life. While the three of us, here at home, can't help but look at the empty spot at the dinner table and feel something (or someone) is missing. His room goes untouched and the communication with him dwindles as his college life gets busy.
This is all good stuff, I know. He's growing up and building a solid foundation for his future. It's ultimately what every parent wants for their child. Sometimes it just takes a little while to feel comfortable with the new rhythm in life. I'm sure you can relate. We've all gone through new seasons in life when we face a change. Sometimes we struggle to find that comfort level we are used to, while other times we easily adjust.
So far I would say we are well on our way to finding a comfortable peace about our new routine. This week I decided to make one of our favorites for dessert. I don't know about you, but I find a nice, moist piece of cake has its way of soothing any uneasiness we might be feeling...at least temporarily. And this carrot cake does not disappoint.
This almond flour based carrot cake is loaded with freshly grated carrots and moist, plump raisins. You can include walnuts or leave them out. My family enjoys this cake with some coconut whipped cream or sweet cashew cream on top. Sometimes we have a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. The warmly spiced flavors of this cake are appealing and satisfying without being overly sweet. I bake it in a 9x13 cake pan and prefer to use this baking pan and find it yields some fabulous results. It's made in the USA and has a silicone coating for a great non stick option.
Here are some tips you may find useful in preparing this cake. I like to soak my raisins before adding them to the cake mix. What I usually do is soak the raisins in some chai tea which involves placing the raisins in a medium bowl, filling it with hot water, and placing a chai tea bag in the bowl. Super easy! It adds such a nice flavor to them. You can just use hot water as well. I let them soak for about an hour so plan ahead for that. Then drain them when it's time to use them. This of course is optional but by soaking the raisins, you are making them easier to digest. It also adds a nice plump texture in the cake. Also, take your eggs out ahead of time to get them to room temperature. This will help when mixing them in with the coconut oil. If your eggs are cold, it will cause the coconut oil to start clumping up and it will not be combined evenly in the mix. Melt your coconut oil with enough time to allow it to cool a little. If you add hot oil to the room temperature eggs, guess what happens- yep, they can cook a little. So as you can tell, there is a balance in temperature going on when baking with eggs and coconut oil. If this seems like too much work or overwhelming, don't worry. You get used to this balancing act the more you do it. And pretty soon, it all makes sense and seems natural. I would suggest starting with these three things first and by the time you are ready to get your cake going, the eggs, oil, and raisins will be ready to go too. Sound like a plan? Great!
Recipe adapted from Elana's Pantry.
3 cups almond flour
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbs ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cardamom
5 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup full fat canned coconut milk
3 cups carrots, grated
1 cup raisins, soaked
1 cup walnuts (optional)
1. Start your prep work by taking out your eggs in advance, soaking your raisins, and melting your coconut oil. Once those things are settled, grate your carrots. You can also grate the carrots the day before to save time.
2. Lightly grease your baking pan and preheat oven to 325*F.
3. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. Mix well.
4. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, maple syrup, coconut oil, and coconut milk.
5. Stir in soaked raisins and grated carrots to the wet ingredients.
6. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in walnuts in desired.
7. Pour batter into your baking pan and bake for about 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick to ensure it is done.
8. Allow to cool and then add topping of your choosing or enjoy it plain. Trust me, it's delicious enough to eat on its own! Store leftovers in your refrigerator.
I have also tried using this recipe to make carrot cake loaves. They are delicious as well. With all of the nutritious ingredients, you could eat this for breakfast! The only change you will need to make is bake the loaves at 350°F instead of 325°F for the cake. It will also take a bit longer, approximately 45-55 minutes depending on your loaf pans and oven. So just check on it occasionally. I just followed the recipe as if I were baking the cake, and then divided the batter into two loaf pans. You can freeze one for later.