Monday, 6 May 2013

Celebrating a plant-based Easter (+Pineapple Carrot Cake recipe!)

My family and I don't often get a chance to eat together, so when holidays come up, we absolutely make time for an awesome feast, if we don't do anything else. Sunday was Orthodox Easter, and although we are not religious, my parents and I do LOVE to eat... so we did just that.

Traditionally, Serbians (like us) and other Orthodox people celebrate Easter with dying eggs using onion peels to colour the eggs, and flowers to create a pretty design on the egg. During Easter, we would grab an egg and crack it on top of another person's egg to see who's is stronger. 

As a kid, I ate a boatload of eggs during Easter! My dad and I are now plant-based, so my mom did make eggs, but she is the only one actually eating them. I know it's not very vegan of me to participate, and honestly I wouldn't have gone and dyed the eggs myself, but my mom still holds the tradition, so I cracked some eggs, and she ate them.

In the past, we would eat a ton of meat and very heavy dishes during any and all holidays. Easter was a time for lamb, musaka, a bunch of smoked meat, pita, and other traditional Serbian dishes (yup...very similar to Greek!). This year, my mom and dad gladly left it in my hands to handle the menu for Easter lunch.

Needless to say, I wanted to go for something much lighter and more refreshing this year. With warm weather coming at us full force, it was a perfect weekend to make some delicious raw recipes. Eating more raw foods in the warmer months is what your body craves and needs. I had gone to a farmer's market the day before, so I had tons of delicious local veggies to work with.

I had prepped a dehydrated raw pizza crust a couple days before, so I figured it was a perfect time to use it! I used a recipe in Doug McNish's book Eat Raw, Eat Well. It is totally amazing, by the way. A staple book in my kitchen! I came up with a raw tomato sauce myself a week before, and I totally wanted to throw some of my own recipes into the mix, so I topped the pizza with that. I put a cashew cheese (recipe from Doug's book) on top of the sauce, then added just some fresh basil and sprouts I had freshly sprouted in my kitchen. Simple, and DELICIOUS! A big hit with the fam as a main course.

As a side, I used as many greens as possible and made a giant salad. I added superfoods like chia seeds, dulse, and goji berries, as well as a few sunflower seeds. I topped it with a raw vinaigrette. The light salad was a great compliment to the rich and savoury pizza flavours.

After our raw meal (enjoyed with wine), we finished it off with a recipe I just came up with for a pineapple carrot cake. When I'm on the bus, out and about, whatever, I like to just jot recipe ideas down into my phone. I perfected how I wanted it, and went to work debuting it during Easter. I used the same recipe for a raw cashew coconut icing as I had for my cake at the Vegan Bake Off. It's an awesome icing for cookies, cakes, whatever! This cake turned out exactly how I'd wanted. It is vegan, of course, and wheat-free, but it is not gluten free. I used fresh spelt and kamut flour from the farmer's market, both whole grain, and I found my picky tummy was OK to digest the cake.

My family really enjoyed the meal. We all left feeling energized and light. We wanted to go out walking and enjoying the sunshine, not taking a nap as we usually do after a holiday feast. I think eating lighter raw foods as a holiday meal really has it's perks!

I wanted to share my recipe for the carrot cake. I guarantee you will love it. It's free of refined sugars, no artificial BS, just good, REAL ingredients. If you don't regularily use kamut or spelt flour, I suggest just getting the amount needed from a bulk food store. 

Happy eating!

Tropical Pineapple Carrot Cake
with Cashew Coconut Icing 


-1 cup spelt flour
-1/2 kamut flour
-1 tsp each baking soda and baking powder
-1 tbsp pumpkin spice
-2 tbsp cinnamon
-1 tbsp fresh minced ginger (use 1/2 if using dried ginger)

-1.5 cups shredded carrots
-2/3 cup fresh pineapple, diced into very small pieces
-1/4 cup apple sauce, unsweetened
-3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
-3/4 cup almond milk
-2 tbsp Cocovie coconut jam (preferably pineapple flavour)
-1/2 cup crushed walnut pieces, or golden raisins, or a mix of both (optional)

-1/2 cup cashews, soaked for at least two hours, or overnight, and rinsed
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-2 teaspoons lemon juice
-1/4 cup coconut flour
-1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
-1-2 tbsp coconut nectar (as sweet as you like it)
-1 cup of water, or as needed

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine carrot and pineapple in a large bowl. Use a potato masher or fork to mash, so the pineapple releases juices but some pineapple chunks remain. Add remaining wet ingredients and stir until well combined. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then slowly add to the carrot mixture and mix well. Add walnuts/raisins, if using, and stir just until evenly distributed.
3. Pour mixture into a loaf pan lightly greased with coconut oil. (To facilitate removing the cake from the pan later, you may use wax paper to put on the bottom of the pan.) Use a spoon to evenly flatten the batter in the pan.
4. Bake for 40 minutes.
5. Remove from oven, and let cool for at least 15 minutes. Flip the loaf pan carefully to put the cake on a plate. You can chill the cake overnight in the fridge, or just wait until it’s completely cool to add the icing on top. Mix all ingredients for icing besides water in a blender. Make sure the melted coconut oil is not very hot, to ensure it combines properly with the other ingredients. Feed water through the top of the blender while the motor runs, until a smooth consistency is achieved.
6. Pour icing evenly over cake and spread to cover top and sides. Serve immediately, or store in fridge for up to a few days for maximum freshness.


No comments:

Post a Comment