To give you a sense of how hectic life has been lately, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: this was supposed to be an Easter post.
That’s right, you heard me. I wanted to share this beautiful cake with you in time for you to (hopefully? maybe?) make it and impress all your friends and family.
I could have achieved this had I used the right size pan the first time around, but I’m sure you can see that this story has no such ending. Did I use an 8-inch cake pan, knowing as I do, that almond meal cakes don’t have a whole lot of lift to them? That in their slightly dense but ever-so-moist beauty, they’re happy to stay just the way they are?
Of course not. I used a TEN inch pan and blithely went on with the rest of my afternoon.
The result was a small but mighty cake about one inch high. And I will admit to you… I panicked. I not only needed to photograph this thing, but have it ready to share with my own friends and family that evening. I stared at my little creation and agonized over whether I could get away with icing this cake and serving it as is – no way was I going to throw out a perfectly delicious cake, however thin! But it couldn’t be done. The cake to frosting ratio would have been a child’s dream, for sure, but pretty ridiculous to any sane adult.
So I did the only thing I could do. I cut the cake in half, added frosting to both layers, and called it a “Mezza Luna Cake” (half moon cake) in honour of the Italian Easter celebration I was heading to.
I tried taking some sneakily deceptive photos so it wouldn’t be a total loss (as far as the blog goes – I assure you there were many happy tummies that evening), but apparently I don’t have the skill necessary to photograph half a cake and make it look like a whole one – there really was no way to hide the fact. Or perhaps it simply can’t be done? Let’s go with that.
The following weekend, however, offered another Easter opportunity, as my family celebrates the Orthodox holiday. And the frosting didn’t turn out as gingery as I would have liked the first time around, so I took the whole ordeal as a blessing in disguise and set about making some improvements.
AND I have to say, this new frosting is absolutely KILLER. For my first trial I just grated some fresh ginger right into the frosting, but it was so subtle (as to be almost non-existent). I really wanted the ginger flavour to come through, as I knew it would complement the earthy and not-too-sweet flavour of the cake perfectly. At some point I came up with making an infused simple syrup, and it was just perfect.
So if you’re in the mood for some crazy moist, delicately sweet, and definitely flavourful cake… well, look no further.
Almond Meal Carrot Cake with Honeyed Ginger Frosting
~ gluten free, grain free, dairy free, soy free ~
- 1.5 cups almond meal
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 3 tbsp tapioca starch
- 3 tbsp sucanat
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 cups grated carrot
- 4 large, organic eggs
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
- 1/4 cup unpasteurized honey
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup almond milk (or soy, cashew, etc.)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the frosting
- 1.5 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
- 1/3-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or soy, etc)
- a 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
- 1/4 cup unpasteurized honey
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- pinch of sea salt
- First, prepare a simply syrup for the frosting. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add the honey and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the honey has completely dissolved.
- Add the sliced ginger and let steep while you prepare the cake.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and thoroughly grease an 8-inch springform pan with coconut oil.
- In a large bowl, stir together all your dry ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, then whisk in the honey, pumpkin puree, almond milk, vanilla, and coconut oil.
- Gently combine the wet and dry ingredients, mixing until you no longer see dry flour, then fold in the grated carrot.
- Pour the batter into your cake tin, place in the middle rack of the oven, and bake for approximately 50-55 minutes. It should be slightly browned around the edges and feel firm to the touch. A toothpick should come out dry.
- Let cool slightly before transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before moving on to the next step.
- In a high-powerd blender or food processor, add all the ingredients for the frosting, including your infused simple syrup. You may wish to leave out a couple of the ginger slices and taste as you go. Blend on high until completely smooth, adding almond milk as needed, and then adjust for sweetness and ginger intensity.
- Transfer your now cooled cake to a cutting board and, using a sharp bread knife, slice it in half lengthwise (so that you have two identical round layers of cake – not half moons!). I don’t have two 8-inch pans, but if you do, you can avoid this step by baking half the batter in each! The baking time will be affected though.
- Spread some frosting on the bottom layer, then carefully place the second layer on top, and frost the entire cake. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and serve immediately.
- I don’t recommend making this cake a day ahead of time. While it’s still quite yummy (I enjoyed mine for several days after), it’s definitely not exactly the same the following day.
- If you are bringing this to a party or serving to guests later in the day, hold off on adding the frosting. Cashew frosting tends to become a little discoloured after being exposed to air for a couple of hours – it’s still perfectly fine to eat, but doesn’t look as nice.