LLast September, Hispanic-Welsh artist Rafael Pérez Evans dumped around 29 tonnes of carrots on the doorstep of Goldsmiths University as a work of art titled Grounding. The facility sparked local conversations about waste, including a protest that involved cooking with carrots, and since the university is right next door to my house, I walked around to see the work and claim some carrots. for myself.
Old and wobbly or curved carrots make a great carrot cake. I adapted today’s recipe, which was created by my friend and fellow chef Richard makin, AKA the School Night Vegan, to include whole foods and especially wobbly carrots. Richard’s motto is “Anything you can cook, I can cook vegan,” and he’s not wrong – you’d never guess his delicious recipes are vegan. He says, “I have never had a more bouncy sponge than with psyllium husks. It’s so high in fiber and a truly wonderful ingredient.
Carrot and Walnut Cake
This plant-based carrot cake is a great variation on a familiar cake. It’s made from psyllium husks and olive oil instead of eggs and butter, but you can’t tell the difference – it’s simply one of the best carrot cakes I’ve ever had. never tried. Psyllium husks create a wonderful sponge and are also cheaper than eggs. If your carrots are curvy and well overgrown, carrot cake is a great way to turn them into a real treat.
This is my adaptation of a recipe by Richard that includes wholemeal flour, black muscovado sugar, and a rich plant-based nut frosting. If you like, says Richard, give the cake a deliciously smoky, grown-up taste by adding a teaspoon of roasted and crushed coriander seeds to the batter mixture. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
130 ml extra virgin olive oil
280 g of black muscovado sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
Zest of ½ orange
2 teaspoons of psyllium husks
350 g of wholemeal flour (spelled, preferably, but wheat will do)
2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 teaspoons of baking soda
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon of chilli
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 teaspoon of sea salt
400g of walnuts
350g carrots, grated with their skins
300 ml oat milk
2 tsp cider vinegar
Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan) / 350F / gas 4. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, 180g of muscovado sugar, the vanilla extract and the orange zest. In a small bowl, cover the psyllium husks with three tablespoons of water, let stand for 30 seconds, then stir into the oil and sugar mixture until combined.
Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, allspice, ginger and sea salt, then stir in 100g of coarsely chopped walnuts, all the grated carrots, oat milk and apple cider vinegar. Mix until well combined, then transfer to a buttered and 20 cm lined cake tin. Bake for 45 minutes, or until cooked through, then let cool in pan.
Meanwhile, prepare the icing. In a bowl, cover 200 g of the remaining nuts with boiling water and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain, keeping the liquid, then tossing with the remaining 100g muscovado sugar and enough steeping liquor to create a cream cheese consistency. Spread it on the cooled cake, then decorate with the remaining 100 g of whole walnuts.