Harvest Recipes for Mini-Carrot Cakes and Easy Curry Carrot Soup, Vegan and Gluten-Free
Did you just eat the greatest gluten-free carrot cake and have a hankering to bake one yourself?
Did your neighbour serve you up a bowl of the most delicious curry carrot soup you've ever tasted-- and you're shy about asking for the recipe?
Well,you have come to the right place. My dear organic farmer son just delivered us piles of carrots and other root veggies. The carrots taste like the carrot from my childhood-- sweet and flavourful. I needed to find some great recipes. I did. I modified them so they would be Gluten-Free and vegan, and here they are!
Mini Carrot Cakes
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A couple of tips about the (many) ingredients for these cakes:
- If at all possible, go for the freshest organic ingredients you can find. As you can see, this is a healthy plant-based recipe jam-packed with fruits and veggies. If you can shop for fresh, organic and local ingredients for the fresh items here (carrots, apples) don't scrimp, and do purchase organic. There, that's my little blurb for Organic Week (September 20-27, 2014).
- Organize everything in advance so the experience is similar to what you see in one of your fave cooking shows: clean off your counter, wash up your veggies, gather everything together that you need (the day before is a good time for an inventory of what you will need vs. sending the hubby out at the last minute to buy a ripe banana), measure, chop, grate, grind, and compartmentalize the stuff-- it will be fun and easy to put it together! There are a LOT of ingredients, but you'll feel like a Gourmet Chef when you take these babies out of the oven-- it's worth the extra time and trouble!
- Make in advance: GLUTEN-FREE FLOUR BLEND for this recipe (double it if you are doubling the recipe): *3/4 C./96 g/3.38 oz Brown Rice Flour, *1/4 C/32 g/1.13 oz Potato Starch, *2 T/25 g Tapioca Flour, *2 T/25 g White Rice Flour, 1/4 tsp./.6 g Xanthan Gum. whisk together well. Store in a covered bowl in the fridge until needed.
- I grind Flaxseed and Sunflower Seeds (separately) in a Coffee Bean Grinder before-hand-- you could also purchase ready-made flaxseed and sunflower seed (or almond) meal (see amounts below)
- 1 1/2 Flax Eggs (1 1/2 T./22 ml Flaxseed, ground; 4 T./60 ml/ 2 oz Water)
- 1/4 C/60 ml/2 fl. oz Coconut Oil, melted over hot water
- 1/2 Large, Very Ripe Banana, well-mashed
- 1/4 C/170 g/6 oz Maple Syrup
- 1 Sweet Apple, grated (or 1/2 C/170 g/6 oz unsweetened applesauce)
- 1/2 C/100 g/3.88 oz Coconut Sugar (or other dry sweetener of choice)
- 1/2 tsp/5 g Celtic Sea Salt
- 1 1/2 tsp./6 g Baking Soda
- 1/2 tsp/1 1/2 g Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp/ 1 1/2 g Allspice (Optional)
- 1/2 C/115 g Almond Milk or Lite Coconut Milk, unsweetened
- 1 jam-packed C/220 g grated Carrot
- 2/3 C/60 g Gluten-free Rolled Oats and/or 1/4 C/19 g Coconut shreds, unsweetened
- 1/2 C/120 ml Sunflower Seed Meal (bought as meal or seeds ground in Coffee bean grinder)
- Gluten-Free Flour Blend (as measured out above)
- 1/4 C/28 g Raw Walnuts, chopped (for top of cakes)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/190 degrees Celsius
- Using some Coconut Oil on a piece of paper towel (my method-- you might have a different one),grease up a muffin tin with a dozen cups... or use a dozen muffin tin liners... or use silicone muffin pans with a dozen oversized cups-- this is what I used, and because one recipe only fills up half a cup, I call the resulting confection a mini-carrot cake (instead of a muffin). Yes, I know it's just semantics, and a mini-carrot cake by any other name tastes as sweet...
3. Add the 1 1/2 Flax Eggs to the large mixing bowl that you will be using to combine all the ingredients. Notice how the flax eggs have a very similar viscosity as do hen's eggs. You may also use chia eggs (same method- 1 T. ground chia seeds to 4 T. water)
4. To the Flax Egg, add the mashed 1/2 Banana, Maple Syrup (or Agave), and liquid Coconut Oil. Whisk to combine the ingredients.
5. Next add in the grated sweet apple (or apple sauce), coconut sugar (or other dry natural sweetener of choice), baking soda, Celtic Sea Salt, and spices- cinnamon and allspice (optional). Whisk everything together.
6. Add in the Almond Milk (or other non-dairy milk of choice) and whisk or stir together.
7. Add in the shredded carrots. Whisk or stir to combine.
8. Finally, stir in the oats, sunflower seed meal (or almond meal), coconut shreds, and GF flour mix.
These delicious mini-carrot-cakes are only the tip of the iceberg where decadent, yummy, healthy vegan AND gluten-free baking is concerned! Don't be afraid to experiment!
9. Carefully divide your batter among the dozen (12) muffin cups. I personally prefer to diddle around by putting one tablespoon of batter in each of the 12, and doing that until all the batter is equally distributed. If you are using standard smaller muffin size cups you will likely have enough filling to reach the top of all the cups. If you using large muffin containers, like I did, you probably will only have enough for about a half of the cup, and this is where the name mini-carrot-cake originates! Don't they look more like cakes than muffins? (my husband still calls them muffins, but ah well...)
10. Press a sprinkling of chopped raw walnuts (optional) into the top of each mini-cake. Like the flax egg, the walnuts contain wonderful Omega-3 essential fatty acids that have been shown to be important in brain development and maintenance of mental wellbeing (no, I'm not a medical professional but I have cited a link to the appropriate study below1 A small handful of raw walnuts every day is a vegan's answer to fish oil.
11. Put the mini-cakes in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes to 40 minutes, depending on your oven. They should be a golden colour and the kitchen will be fragrant with spices! Use a toothpick to see if they are done or not.
12. Remove from the oven and let them sit for about 10 minutes before either removing them to a cooling rack or setting them on their sides in the muffin cups if they are in paper muffin cups. Gluten-free always means a few innovations on wheat baking, doesn't it? (Hang in there-- they REALLY are worth all this detail).
13. If you are using paper muffin cups, let the mini-carrot-cake cool totally before removing from the paper or you might end up with one of those disappointing mushy messes stuck to the paper. If you are using the silicone cups you can pop the whole mini-carrot-cake out while there is still some heat happening, but it is usually beneficial to cool the baking first before eating.
14. You could make a fancy white cream cheezy icing (there are recipes on the internet for vegan approximates of this) but in our house we find a nice tart jam like my ginger grape jam or the fresh fig jam really work a treat. Look to the sidebar for links to those recipes (try other fruits and spices using the same recipe-- they will all turn out gourmet-quality).
15. Although these little gems are healthier than a batch of chocolate chip cookies or brownies, and you scarf them all down in one sitting, just know that because of the rather intricate preparations required to bake them, you will not likely be making a batch of them every night. Enjoy!
1 Go to this link to find an article that cites several findings and studies related to the healthfulness of nuts, including brain development and wellness maintenance: http://www.independent.ie/life/food-drink/table-talk/nuts-are-the-perfect-brain-food-for-study-time-30281843.html
This carrot curry soup-- this silky, subtle, scented, sensuous, syncophant soup (okay, I just threw syncophant in there because I got carried away with the alliteration)-- is at once the perfect comfort food and a divine offering at a potluck.
As was the recipe for the mini-carrot-cakes, this soup recipe is both vegan and gluten-free, which means healing.
This particular recipe is much simpler than the recipe for the mini-carrot-cakes and I won't treat you to more out-of-focus huge screen shots set up to simulate a step-by-step 'tutorial'. And no poll asking if you are happy about this choice.
- 1 T. Coconut Oil
- 1 large Onion, chopped into small pieces
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped small
- 1 1/2 T. Curry Powder (or to taste)
- 1 thumb-sized raw Ginger, peeled and grated
- 3 large Carrots, peeled and chopped small
- 1 3/4 C. Water (or Vegetable Broth)
- 1 - 14 ounce can of Coconut Milk
- Celtic Sea Salt, to taste
- Black Pepper, freshly ground OR Cayenne sprinkle (optional garnish)
- Other spices and seasonings of choice (eg., cumin, turmeric, garlic etc.)
- Sauté Onion and Bell Pepper in Coconut Oil until fragrant and translucent
- (Nothing like coconut oil to bring out that fragrance!)
- Stir in Curry Powder, Ginger and Carrots for about 2 or so minutes. *Picture shows grated carrots, but carrots chopped small give a much nicer texture to the finished soup.
- Add in Water or Vegetable Broth and bring to a boil.
- Put lid on pot and turn down to low setting, simmering for about 20 minutes until carrots are soft
- Remove from heat and allow the mix to cool considerably before transferring, with Coconut Milk and Sea Salt, to a blender carafe (or, alternately, using a stick blender in the soup pot)
- Do up the soup in a couple of turns if there is too much to safely do at once in the blender
- Serve hot with black pepper ground at time of presentation, or a sprinkle of cayenne.
- Enjoy this lovely warming soup!