1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 pound carrots, peeled and grated
1 cup vegan buttermilk*see notes (it’s a real thing!)
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
¾ tsp. baking soda
4 flax eggs*
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup almond milk yogurt*
1 container Tofutti Dairy Free Cream Cheese
½ cup vegan butter (eg. Smart Balance), room temp *see notes
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 ½ tsp. lemon juice
3 cups powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Line three 6-inch cake pans, or two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Then, coat with coconut oil spray or vegan butter.
Coarsely chop the walnuts and place on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 8 minutes or until golden brown.
In a large bowl, whisk in the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and all your spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg) – extra dash of cinnamon for good luck.
Using a handheld or counter electric mixer beat the flax eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on high for 2 minutes until it is a pale, tan color.
Add vanilla extract, and beat for 1 more minute.
Add the almond milk yogurt and beat until well-combined.
Add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the vegan buttermilk until just a couple streaks of flour remain
Fold in the carrots and walnuts with a rubber spatula until evenly distributed and pour the batter, as gracefully as possible, into the prepared pans.
Bake the cakes until a toothpick, skewer, or knife comes out clean – all ovens are different, mine baked for about 45 minutes. I started checking at 35 minutes by giving the pans a little nudge to see if they set in the middle. Once done, let the cakes cool for at least 15 minutes. Take a knife and slide it around the sides of cake, say a prayer, and flip them over onto a surface. Remove the parchment, find your patience, let them cool.
Using a handheld or counter electric mixer, beat the vegan cream cheese and butter on high until smooth—about 2 minutes.
Fold in the vanilla extract and lemon juice. Beat for 1 minute.
Reduce the speed to low unless you want a powdered sugar facial. Add one cup at a time, beating it thoroughly after each addition.
Taste your frosting. Is it tangy? If it’s not, add more lemon juice. Is it thick enough? Add more powdered sugar as needed.
*Note: This is not a standard cream cheese frosting. This frosting WILL have a looser consistency than typical cream cheese frosting, but I promise that it’s so good you will not care.
Once the cakes are cool, place the first layer with the rounded side facing down on a plate.
Spread an even layer of frosting over the cake. Add the next one or two layers. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the remaining sides of the cake.
Place the cake in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from freezer and apply another thin layer of frosting. Because this frosting is not as thick as a standard cream cheese, the best way to get a thick, smooth layer of frosting is to continually lightly frost, freeze, and lightly frost again. Totally your call based on if you are going for, “I want to eat this cake now,” or, “I want this Instagram to knock people’s socks off!”
EAT AND ENJOY YOUR VEGAN MASTERPIECE!
To Make Vegan Buttermilk:
1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Whisk together almond milk and lemon juice in a small bowl and let it sit for 10-15 minutes–and tada, vegan buttermilk!
To Make 1 Flax Egg:
1 tbsp flax seed
3 tbsp water
Whisk together flax seed and water in a small bowl (remember, you are making four of these.) Place the mixture in the fridge for 15 minutes
I recommend Kite Hill Plain Almond Milk Yogurt
If your butter is not room temperature, your frosting will be full of clumps. It is very important to let the butter reach room temperature so it smoothly blends into the cream cheese.