Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ginger-Macadamia-Coconut-Carrot Cake

I made all kinds of substitutions with this cake, but still kept it vegan. To be precise, Vegan with a Vengeance. I'm saving the outcome for the end. Ooooh! The suspense!

But, to be fair, I'll post Isa Moskowitz's recipe here and tell you how I altered it along the way.

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 t baking soda
3/4 t salt
2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground or freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup pineapple juice (I used 1 cup of pineapple chunks in their own juice.)
1/2 cup canola oil (I cut this by 1/3 to account for the agave nectar.)
3/4 cup sugar (I used agave nectar.)
1/2 cup maple syrup (I used agave nectar.)
2 t vanilla extract (I used vanilla paste.)
1 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped (I used a mix of macadamia and cashew nuts.)
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped (Because that contains sugar, I just used 1 T ground ginger.)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 cups carrots, grated

To keep it short, I'm editing her recipe description. You should go BUY her book anyway. It is the coolest vegan book available. John was a dear and bought me mine.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two 8-in round springform cake pans (I used a bundt pan and a mini-cupcake pan, both of which are non-stick, but I sprayed the bundt pan with canola oil anyway. I also used paper cups for the cupcakes. This recipe is truly flexible, like most of hers are, so if you use a bundt pan like I did, you will end up with enough extra batter for 12 mini cupcakes).

Sift together the first 6 ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Add the dry to the wet in batches and combine well. Fold in the nuts, ginger (I added mine to the dry ingredients), coconut and carrots.

Pour the batter into your pans and bake for 40-45 minutes. (In my case, the bundt took exactly 45 minutes. The wee cupcakes took about 20.)

Let cool in pans. (I didn't do this. I let them cool for an hour, then I turned them out onto a rack to cool the rest of the way.)

Frost with her Coconut Heaven frosting.

I'm ending the recipe here, because from here out, I invented a glaze.

I mixed 1/2 a can of coconut milk with 1 cup of agave necar to make a glaze for the cake. Then, I turned the cake back from the rack into the bundt pan and used a skewer to poke holes about 2 inches apart down through what would become the bottom of the cake to the "top".

Then, I poured the glaze on top of the cake and let it soak in for several hours before turning the cake out of the pan and onto the cake keeper bottom (it was destined for Mom's party this past Sunday).

It looked pretty glazed and smelled very coconutty. I tried a few of the cupcakes that didn't have glaze, and they were pretty tasty. I couldn't taste the ginger or the carrots, though. Mostly, they were nutty and coconutty. And cinnamony. I figured they'd be even more coconutty after a good glazing, but all the glaze went to the cake.

At Mom's party, the cake received a lot of compliments. My cousin Gabe, who doesn't like coconut really enjoyed it, surprisingly. Mom had many lovely things to say about it and the guacaamole I brought.

I tried it and was very happy with how moist the glaze made the cake. And, I was right, it was plenty coconutty. The pineapple helped as well.

If I had to do it again, which I might, I'd leave out the nuts, use more pineapple and fresh ginger, and add some clove or allspice. The glaze went well, so I'd probably leave that alone. Or, if I'm feeling experimental, I'd make some kind of butter/cream cheese coconut frosting and flake coconut over it for a pretty, fluffy effect.

I asked Dave to take a photo of the "innards" for Robyn, so when he sends me the slice shot, I'll post it here.

The next recipe I plan to try from VWAV is with millet. Will definitely post about it here.

Oh, and BUY Isa's book, please.

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