Moist Vegan Carrot Cake

DSC03402I’ve never been a dieter. Part of that is an active lifestyle, part of it is luck, and a good portion is due to my absolute lack of willpower. I love food.  I love eating heaping plates of food, checking the level of discomfort in my swollen belly, and then cramming in just one last dessert.

This all sounds very unhealthy, upon reading. My impulsive nature is shining in all it’s oft-sugar-drenched glory. And while I might be coming off as a horrible binge-eater – I’m really not, as I eat copious amounts of food on a regular basis, and I do it for joy and health, vs. out of despair or stress.  And I never let myself feel guilty.

Which brings me to a completely unsolicited piece of advice, which may be unwelcome considering that last tirade, but may make perfect sense if you’re a dieter who struggles with fluctuations of adherence to your latest goal, and that is… Bake delicious treats and have them around you at all times.

*Gasp!

But hear me out. Breaking diets happens, and frequently occurs because people put their bodies through severe and sudden dietary alterations, and deny themselves regular cravings, often for sweet, salty, or oily foods.   While anything in excess isn’t healthy, most things in moderation are just fine.  If you allow yourself  to have nibbles and snacks in small amounts when your body starts to have an urge, you can potentially avoid bottling up frustration and letting it all out in one ginormous 3,000 calorie “cheat meal,” where your body clings to every calorie, knowing it’s been on a severe calorie reduction as of late.

However, when you surround yourself with delicious food all the time, you’ll constantly moderate your intake.  You’ll know that regardless how wonderful the scone sitting on your counter might taste, there will cornbread the next day, and perhaps even some homemade ice cream to boot. These snacks, despite having some sugar or honey each each, will be healthier to have in moderation and with regularity, than binging on Snickers bars or brownies purchased from a grocery store, or even your neighborhood bakery.  When you bake your goods, you know that they don’t contain hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup, those chemical nasties that really make those sweets so hard for your body to process.

So bake away. I mean, this recipe has carrots in it for goodness sake, and sunflower oil (or a light oil of your choosing).  Beta carotene! The good fats! Bake.  Eat.  Be healthy.

Live it up! Get used to having amazing food around you all the time, and getting healthier for it.

This recipe is one of my favorite old school cookbooks, The Farm, which is a recipe book put out by a cooperative living commune by the same name in the 1970s. My recipe retains most of the original proportions, with the exception or a heavier hand with my spices, the addition of nutmeg and ginger, and I completely leave out the raisins.  I’m a pretty open-minded person, except when it comes to raisins in baking.  No. Uh-uh.

DSC03810And speaking of binging, I’m having a Beatles binge-fest right now, making my way through some classics, as I decide which few albums are the first I’ll be imparting on my dear young nephew over the next few years. The tune that was jamming for most of this cake production was the Beatles’ Rubber Soul. Since everyone knows the Beatles, I’ll just give you some info. on Rubber Soul.  This album in particular was when the Beatles started to break out of their boy-band pop style.  Aside from 40 seconds on “Maggie May,” this was the first album where the Beatles didn’t include any covers, and it was the first album in which George’s sitar appeared, on the incredible “Norwegian Wood.” SO GOOD.

Just like this carrot cake. Now let’s get you started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sunflower oil (or any other light salad oil)
  •  2 cups brown sugar (or 1 cup  white sugar + 1 cup brown sugar)
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (water works fine as well)
  • 4 cups unbleached white flour (I usually use 3 cups white and 1 cup wheat – which is a pretty standard shift in all of my recipes)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions:

  • Heat the oven to 375°.
  • Oil and flour a 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish (or three round layer pans for a fancy three-layer cake).
  • Using an electric mixer, blend oil and sugar.DSC03381
  • Beat in milk.
  • Sift the flour with remaining ingredients and add to sugar mixture.
  • Add carrots and mix well. DSC03388
  • Add in nuts and mix (optional).
  • Pour into an oiled 9″ x 13″ pan and evenly spread. DSC03389
  • Bake for 35-40 min (Check after 25-30 if using small round pans). When a fork comes out clean, it’s done! DSC03393

DSC03414Enjoy! Have a some today.  Have some tomorrow. Have some the next day… and the next… until you’ve eaten the whole darn thing.

And don’t feel guilty about it! You’re eating vegetables.

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