This post is sponsored by Kitchenpalz. I received a 7-piece mixing bowl set to facilitate its review and aid in the development of my carrot cake recipe. No monetary compensation was received. Views and opinions are wholly my own. Post also contains affiliate links.
Crazy Good Carrot Cake is the culmination of many, many attempts to create a scrumptious dessert that is free of grains and refined sugars. Actually, it’s free of ANY added sugar. Can you see my silly happy dance? This recipe is a keeper! And it only took 147 tries. lol Well, not QUITE that many. Let’s just say it was more than a dozen.
After my diagnosis with NAFLD (Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease), grain and sugar are off limits for me. My family has been fantastically supportive and they eat what I eat, rather than have me cook two different meals. How awesome is that?! The side effects have been better health and weight loss for all of us. Them being so sweet about some fairly dramatic diet changes has inspired me to try to create some treats that resemble favorites from our “old life”. One of my favorites has been Dark Chocolate Pudding. It’s so simple and requires no cooking. Grain and sugar alternatives or omissions, present REAL challenges when baking, however. I’ve wasted a significant amount of ingredients coming up with just the right formula. In the case of this Crazy Good Carrot Cake, the experimenting has been worth it. And now you can just enjoy it, without having to do any experimenting on your own!
KitchenPalz Mixing Bowl Set Giveaway
Before, we get to the recipe, though, let’s talk a little bit about this fantastic giveaway. I’ve been using the KitchenPalz 7-Piece Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set, this week. I’ve discovered that I can clean out the cabinets, as I have no need for any other mixing bowls, now. The space-savings, alone, is worth it.
I’m impressed with the quality and durability of these beautiful mixing bowls.
- They’re deep, so I can comfortably mix and whip ingredients without sloshing and splattering. The batter stays in my bowl.
- The silicone bottoms are another favorite feature. The bowls cling firmly to the countertop — no sliding or slipping.
- Highly polished inside and out, the bowls are gorgeous. That high-polished finished could be scratched by metal utensils, over time, so KitchenPalz included a silicone whisk and spatula with my set.
- The wide variety of sizes means I have just the right bowl for any task. The 7-bowl set includes 1.5 qt, 2 qt, 3 qt, 4 qt, 5 qt, 6 qt and 8 qt. (A four-bowl set is also available and includes 1.5 qt, 3 qt, 5 qt and 8 qt.)
- Each bowl comes with a colorful vented lid.
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Now, on to this scrumptious recipe.
How to Make Crazy Good Carrot Cake
Alternatives to Refined Sugar
- maple syrup
- coconut sugar
- Medjool dates
Without refined sugar, I needed to find other ways to add sweetness to my recipes. Honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar are all natural options. In the end, they are still sugar, though. Our bodies will store them as fat when we have all we need for energy. That storage happens in the liver, which is a BIG “no thanks” for me. If I can find a whole food ingredient to sweeten a new recipe, it is my first preference. Bananas can often be an excellent option. I have several family members who don’t care for bananas, though. Super-ripe pineapple is another possibility, but it’s often difficult to predict the amount of moisture it will add to a recipe, so other dry ingredient adjustments are sometimes needed. My favorite “sweet” since eliminating refined sugar in our diet, is Medjool dates. They are more expensive than either bananas or pineapple, though, so you might try substituting one of those if you don’t have dates.
Regardless of the sweetener you select, remember that in the end, they are all sugars. Natural or not, portion control is important and sweet treats should be occasional luxuries, not every day fare. I have only tested this recipe with Medjool dates, so I can’t guarantee how other options will work. If you try one of the alternatives, I hope you’ll come back and post about your experience, though. It helps all of us, when we share our tips and ideas.
Reasons I Chose Medjool Dates
- They add a caramel-y taste and texture to recipes.
- They are high in fiber, which means the natural sugars in them, break down more slowly. They don’t cause huge spikes in blood sugar.
- They’re nutrient dense and have a lower glycemic load than other sweet alternatives. Honestly, they are incredibly good for you.
- They add moisture to baked goods.
Mixing Up the Carrot Cake
You’ll notice that my recipe lists many ingredients by their weight. I know we’ve talked about this before, but in order for you to have the same success with someone else’s recipe, especially with gluten-free and grain-free recipes, it is critical to measure ingredients by weight. Your one cup and my one cup can be vastly different, depending on how we scoop the ingredient into the measuring cup. And using flours, like coconut flour, which is highly absorbent, even one gram difference can be the difference between a delicious product and a dried out one. Read more about the importance of measuring ingredients by weight, in my post here.
Begin the Crazy Good Carrot Cake preparation by placing the water and pitted dates (Always be sure you’ve removed the pits.) in your food processor or high speed blender. Pulse, several times, to break up the dates. Continue blending/pureeing until the dates and water have formed a thick, smooth paste.
Set the date paste aside and grate the carrots. Zest and then juice the orange.
In the KitchenPalz 6 qt mixing bowl, whisk together the date paste and Nutiva Shortening. My guess is that coconut oil or unsalted, grass-fed butter could also work, but I haven’t tried them. I like Nutiva shortening for its health benefits. It is a blend of coconut oil and red palm oil. It stays solid at room temperature. It’s non-hydrogenated and has 100% less cholesterol than butter. It’s vegan and contains no dairy, soy or canola. It’s organic, non-GMO and fair-trade certified. It’s high in lauric acid and Vitamins A & E. I look for the best price on either Amazon or Vitacost.
Whisk the eggs into the date and shortening mixture. Add the orange juice with pulp, orange zest and vanilla. Stir to combine.
In the 2 qt bowl, mix together the almond flour, arrowroot, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt and shredded coconut. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients in the 6 qt bowl. Stir until all dry ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Stir in the grated carrots and walnuts.
Pour the cake batter into a greased, 9×13 cake pan. Bake the carrot cake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
For the frosting, make the date paste by pureeing the dates and water in a food processor or high-speed blender. Transfer the date paste to a small bowl, like the 1.5 qt KitchenPalz mixing bowl. Add the cream cheese, coconut manna and vanilla. Use an electric hand mixer to blend the ingredients until they are smooth and creamy.
Spread the frosting on the completely cooled cake.
- 500 grams Medjool dates (weight after pits are removed)
- 1 cup water
- 1 lg orange; zest, juice and pulp
- 6 large eggs
- ⅓ cup Nutiva shortening
- 1 Tablespoon homemade vanilla extract
- 170 grams (about 1½ cups) blanched almond flour
- 160 grams (about 1¼ cups) arrowroot starch
- 42 grams (about 6 Tablespoons) coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 cups grated carrot
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Begin the Crazy Good Carrot Cake preparation by placing the water and pitted dates (Always be sure you've removed the pits.) in your food processor or high speed blender. Pulse, several times, to break up the dates. Continue blending/pureeing until the dates and water have formed a thick, smooth paste. The date paste will be thick, smooth and creamy. It's the secret to sweetness and moisture in this Carrot Cake recipe.
- Set the date paste aside and grate the carrots.
- Zest and then juice the orange.
- In the KitchenPalz 6 qt mixing bowl, whisk together the date paste and Nutiva Shortening.
- Whisk the eggs into the date and shortening mixture.
- Add the orange juice with pulp, orange zest and vanilla. Stir to combine.
- In the 2 qt bowl, mix together the almond flour, arrowroot, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients in the 6 qt bowl. Stir until all dry ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Stir in the grated carrots and walnuts.
- Pour the cake batter into a greased, 9x13 cake pan. Bake the carrot cake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
- For the frosting, make the date paste by pureeing the dates and water in a food processor or high-speed blender.
- Transfer the date paste to a small mixing bowl.
- Add the cream cheese, coconut manna and vanilla.
- Use an electric hand mixer to blend the ingredients until they are smooth and creamy.
- Spread the frosting on the completely cooled cake.
I hope you and your family enjoy this recipe and a chance to have a sweet treat in your healthy diet. The more I learn, the more I am excited to share with you. It’s really true that you don’t have to sacrifice flavor to eat healthy. The foods we are loving most are loaded with flavor and texture and satisfy hunger in a way that processed foods never did.
So how are things going on your journey to a healthier way of eating? I hope you’ll share your tips and ideas in a comment, below. Also, remember to enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form, at the end of this post. Have a blessing-filled weekend, dear friend!
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