I love it when a culinary cock up comes good and this loaf is one of those happy accidents. I started out making something else entirely, which, through lack of attention, or planning, or both, I fucked up properly. I was actually working on the recipe for these Raw Carrot Cake Balls and although I’ve said it’s pretty hard to cock bliss balls up, I’m also proof that if you try hard enough it’s also totally possible – one of the pitfalls of being a slap-dash, go-by-feel kind of cook.
So I found myself with a big bowl of beautiful ingredients that I knew had the potential to be something delicious, and of course my tightarse tendencies wouldn’t let it go to waste without a fight! So I added a bit of this and that, chucked it in the oven and oh happy, happy days this super moist, sweet and spicy delight emerged.
Sweetened only with fruit it’s totally refined sugar, gluten, grain and dairy free but has all of that rich, indulgent carrot cake flavour in a far more health friendly form. For me, one of the best parts of carrot cake is that amazing cream cheese icing so I served mine with a generous spread of home made labne or yoghurt cheese for the total package. A-freakin-mazing!
Get this stuff
½ C dates – soaked for a few hours or overnight to soften
½ C dried apricots – soaked for a few hours or overnight to soften
1 t apple cider vinegar
2 T fresh orange zest
2 T fresh orange juice
½ C walnut pieces
½ C cashew pieces
1 C grated carrot
1.5 C almond meal
2 T pepitas
2 T goji berries
2 T sunflower seeds
½ t nutmeg
2 t cinnamon
2 t dried ginger
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
Do this with it
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees, ideally fan-bake if you have the option. It pisses me off no end getting my baking all mixed up and ready to go then realising I didn’t turn the oven on so do yourself a favour and do this now. Also grab a loaf tin, give it a lick of grease of your choice (I like to use coconut oil) then line it with baking paper so you loaf will be easy to lift out.
The dried fruit needs to be soaked so it will form a nice smooth puree, so if you’re able to plan ahead and put them in a bath the night before great. If not, using boiling water will speed up the process and you can chuck them in the microwave for a bit to soften them up faster otherwise a couple of hours soaking should do the trick. Drain the dates and apricots but keep the liquid in case you need it later to adjust the consistency. I tend to keep the liquid anyway as it’s a nice syrupy flavour and consistency and makes a great addition to sweeten smoothies.
Puree the fruit with the orange juice, eggs and apple cider vinegar until you have a nice smooth paste. Next add the walnuts, cashews, carrot and orange zest and whiz again. You’ll end up with a pretty thick sticky paste that you can now dump into a bowl.
Add the almond meal, baking powder and soda, spices pepitas, gojis and sunflower seeds and mix until it’s all really well combined. It might take a bit of muscle work here but consider it a workout to earn the end result. The mixture should be pretty moist so if it’s too dry add a few tablespoons of the reserved soaking liquid.
Pour it into the loaf tin and then bake (in your pre-heated oven you clever bastard you!) for 45-60 minutes. This is a pretty dense loaf so it takes a while to cook and will depend on your oven. Test it with a skewer and when it comes out clean you’re done.
This tastes pretty fucking special served warm from the tin with a spread of labne (yoghurt cheese), a dollop of greek or coconut yoghurt or some whipped coconut cream.
Shit, that all sounds so good I’m going to have to whip up another loaf for myself!