Whole-Grain Vegan Carrot Cake Loaf with Lemon Glaze

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on April 20, 2011

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Growing up, I was always taking pictures. Of everything. My love affair started with a classic pink Polaroid camera and I would save up my allowance to buy new film.

Once I got my first point and shoot digital camera, I rarely left home without it. My family would always teasingly call me, ‘the little tourist’ because I took pictures of EVERYTHING…every moment…everyone…nothing could escape my wrath!

I never expected that my love for photography would blossom into a real hobby in my adult life. Eric bought a Canon DSLR in 2007 and I was so intimidated by it, I didn’t start using it for my blog photos for over two years! Over time, he was able to convince me (and show me) the difference a professional camera (and lens) could make in a photo with the right knowledge.

Let’s take a look at comparisons of my Point and Shoot Camera (Canon Powershot SD800) vs. our Canon EOS 30D. These are unedited photos (except the very last one).

My Canon Powershot SD800 on the macro setting: (no tripod)

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Canon EOS 30D with Canon 50 mm 1.4 macro lens: (no tripod)

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Check out the colour difference!!! You may also note that the second picture is a bit blurry. That is because I was shooting without a tripod in very low light.

This is the Canon EOS 30D with Canon 50 mm 1.4 macro lens WITH A TRIPOD:

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Much more crisp!

Tripods steady the camera when shooting and result in a sharper image. Once I saw the difference a tripod makes, I never went back! Yes, tripods are a pain in the butt and it does take longer to shoot, but to me it is so worth it.

Again, this is the Canon EOS 30D with Canon 50 mm 1.4 macro lens WITH A TRIPOD:

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And because I shoot in RAW format, I edit my photos with Lightroom:

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All I did was make tiny increases the clarity, contrast, vibrancy, and saturation.

So why all this camera talk? Well, after my carrot loaf shoot yesterday it really hit me how much I love food photography. Nothing is better than looking on the camera screen and getting excited by the shots.

Ok, ok, it also helped that I took a nibble of this loaf and it tasted great!

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I kept telling myself, do not eat the slice, do not eat the slice…and then I was like ‘forget that’ and I took a bite! I think it gives the picture more character anyways. ;)

The updated recipe is below (Jan. 21, 2018):

5 from 3 reviews
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Whole-Grain Carrot Cake Loaf with Lemon Glaze

Vegan, refined sugar-free, soy-free

By

A carrot cake loaf that’s wholesome enough to enjoy for breakfast?! Yes please! Spiced with cinnamon, vanilla, and ginger, this beauty will fill your house with a delicious scent as it bakes. The loaf is naturally sweetened with maple syrup, and a lemon-cashew-coconut glaze gives the whole thing a fresh, zingy kick. This recipe is a revamp of my 2011 carrot cake loaf, which was originally adapted from Sweet Freedom.

Yield
10 slices, plus 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (155 mL) glaze
Prep time
Cook time

Ingredients:

For the loaf:
  • 1 1/2 cups (185 g) finely grated peeled carrot*
  • 1 tablespoon (7 g) ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (140 mL) pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup (185 mL) almond milk or other plant milk
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) grapeseed oil or melted coconut oil**
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (230 g) whole-grain spelt flour***
  • 1 cup (100 g) walnuts, chopped
For the glaze:
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) raw cashew butter
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) full-fat coconut cream, at room temperature****
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) pure maple syrup, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) fresh lemon zest, or to taste
  • Dash fine sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a lightly oiled 8x4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the grated carrot, ground flax, maple syrup, almond milk, oil, vanilla, and vinegar until thoroughly combined.
  3. In that same bowl, one-by-one, stir in the dry ingredients: cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, salt, flour, and half of the chopped walnuts. Mix until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth evenly with a spoon. Sprinkle the remaining walnuts on top of the loaf and press them gently into the surface.
  5. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes (I bake for 45 minutes) until the loaf springs back slowly when touched and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. Combine the cashew butter, coconut cream, maple syrup, lemon zest, and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until smooth. If it's too thick you can thin it with a bit of almond milk.
  7. After baking, place the loaf on a rack to finish cooling. The loaf is delicate so I don't suggest slicing until completely cooled.
  8. Once cool, slice the loaf, drizzling the lemon glaze on individual portions just before serving.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size 1 of 10 slices | Calories 350 calories | Total Fat 19 grams
Saturated Fat 3 grams | Sodium 200 milligrams | Total Carbohydrates 39 grams
Fiber 5 grams | Sugar 15 grams | Protein 6 grams

Nutritional info includes lemon glaze and walnuts. If serving without glaze (but with walnuts) each slice (1 of 10) is 290 calories. If making without glaze and without walnuts, each slice is 230 calories.
* Nutrition data is approximate and is for informational purposes only.

Tips:

* Please use the finest grate hole on the grater box.

** You can use any light-tasting oil you prefer. I’ve used light olive oil with success as well. If you use melted coconut oil, be sure that the rest of your wet ingredients are at room temperature to avoid seizing the oil.

*** I expect all-purpose spelt flour will work just fine here too. Whole wheat pastry flour or sifted whole wheat flour should also work fine, but they may require extra baking time.

**** Please use the thick, full-fat white cream found at the top of the can.

 

Make it nut-free: Omit the walnuts to make this loaf nut-free. For a super-fast, nut-free lemon glaze you can whisk 1/2 cup powdered icing sugar with 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (or more to taste).

The original recipe is below:

[print_this]

Whole-Grain Vegan Carrot Cake Loaf with Lemon Glaze

Lightly adapted from Sweet Freedom. Glaze from Blissfully Vegan.

Yield: 1 small loaf, eight 1-inch slices

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups finely grated carrot, unpacked
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1/3 cup light extra virgin olive oil (or oil of choice)
  • 1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1.5 cups whole grain spelt flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins, soaked for 10 minutes & drained
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • Lemon glaze: 1/2 cup icing sugar whisked with 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or to taste)

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a small loaf pan (20cm x11cm x 6cm) with parchment. Lightly grease the parchment and sides of pan with oil and set aside. Note that the original recipe used an 8”x8” square pan so that would also work.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the grated carrot, ground flax, pure maple syrup, almond milk, oil, vanilla, vinegar, and lemon zest. Set aside for at least two minutes while you gather the dry ingredients.

3. In another large sized bowl, whisk together the spelt flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder & soda, and salt. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until just combined (a few dry spots may remain). Fold in the raisins and chopped walnuts. Be careful not to overmix as spelt is a very delicate flour.

4. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, and then transfer the loaf to a wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle on lemon glaze just before serving. Serves eight 1” slices. May be frozen.

[/print_this]

I made this loaf for our family Easter get together this weekend. Ricki says that the loaf freezes well, so after the shoot, I froze the loaf (just until the glaze froze), and then wrapped it tightly two times with plastic wrap and  placed it into an air-tight container. It should keep nice and fresh for Saturday!

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I was also amazed at how much impact something as simple as a glaze could make in a photo.

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The glaze just makes the loaf look so much more interesting, doesn’t it? I also love how it drips through the rack onto the parchment.

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This is quite a dense loaf because spelt doesn’t rise much, but the nutty flavour really makes up for its short stature.

Once I drizzled the glaze over this loaf, the lemon really stole the show and I found myself almost forgetting that I was eating a carrot loaf!  If you are not a lemon fan, I’m sure you can sub almond milk (or any milk) for the lemon juice and create a traditional glaze. I’m sure the glaze would also be very good with a pinch of cinnamon in it too!

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Our power went out last night due to a CRAZY thunderstorm, so I need to go reset all the clocks!

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

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Ellesha Wanigasekera February 6, 2017 at 2:41 pm

I knew this was going to be epic when I couldn’t stop eating the BATTER! Tastes good the day after too, although there’s not much left haha. Well done! Definitely making this again and again.

Reply

Celeste April 19, 2017 at 11:25 am

This was a huge hit at my Easter dinner. Thank you for all that you do to provide such wonderful recipes :)

Reply

Niru June 20, 2017 at 1:37 am

I am totally new to baking (just learnt to switch on the oven last month!) and since I’m vegan, your site has been my go-to guide :) Tried the Carrot cake yesterday.. which was almost perfect! The taste was spot on, but the only issue was that the the cake came out a bit dense / moist.. and didn’t hold up too well. Any idea why this could happen? Thanks in advance!!

Reply

Angela Liddon June 27, 2017 at 1:29 pm

Hey Niru, It sounds like the loaf came out pretty similar to how it should. By nature, carrot cake is pretty dense and vegan loaves tend to be slightly on the more crumbly/delicate side since they don’t have eggs. I hope you still enjoyed it, at any rate! :) Happy cooking!

Reply

Susan Stamm January 15, 2018 at 9:59 am

Can I sub applesauce for oil?

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) January 15, 2018 at 10:11 am

Hi Susan, I haven’t tried it any other way before…sorry I can’t help! Please let us know if you try it out.

Reply

Marianne Sargi January 22, 2018 at 5:20 am

This looks amazing!

Quick question: is there a replacement for Spelt Flour?

Thanks in advance,
m.

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) January 22, 2018 at 7:18 am

Hey Marianne, I think whole wheat pastry flour or sifted whole wheat flour should both work, although they may require a bit more baking time. Please let me know if you try anything out!

Reply

Michele Friel February 26, 2018 at 4:43 am
Recipe Rating:

Winner Winner Carrot Cake Dinner! For my very first vegan dinner party for non vegans I served this as one of the deserts. Well let me tell you THEY WENT IN FOR SECONDS!!!!
I have to admit a couple of things though I read the printable version that has misprint, it puts the lemon zest in the wet ingredients. I opted for a tradional glaze after I noticed that. The second thing is that I happen to have a batch of raisens soaked in libations this was adults only and lastly because I swaped out the spelt for all purpose. That was only fear I would completely freak out the people I was serving.I will keep with the lemon zest in the recipe but try the spelt next, even my husband who hates carrot cake ate three pieces.

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) February 27, 2018 at 9:39 am

I’m so glad it was a big hit Michele! Thanks for trying it :)

Reply

Katie Boyd March 9, 2018 at 2:48 pm

My youngest has celiac. I had cegan carrot cake down pat and made it whenever a craving arose, until his diagnoais. A few failed gluten free attempts and I gave up. We make a raw carrot cake thing but it is SO NOT cake. I want cake! I am wondering if you have ever subbed a gf flour in this recipe successfully. Love your recipes:)

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) March 12, 2018 at 9:17 am

Hey Katie, Oh I hear you on the struggle of making vegan recipes gluten-free…it’s tricky without eggs. I haven’t made a successful GF version of this loaf (though I’ve attempted many times!), but if I do I will be sure to share it!

Reply

WEndy March 10, 2018 at 1:33 pm
Recipe Rating:

MMmmmmm….I made this yesterday and it is very tasty, not sweet like cake but sweet enough. I am trying to avoid white flours and sugar so I like this is whole grain with lots of carrots and walnuts. I made a mistake and Forgot to add the oil until it was baking. I pulled it out of the oven and added it. Oops! Still tasted fine but us denser than your photo. I was wonder it would work with say 1/3 cup coconut oil instead of 1/2cup. I didn’t bother with the icing.

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) March 12, 2018 at 10:39 am

Hey Wendy, I’m so happy you love the loaf, and that it still worked even without the oil (even if it was a bit dense). Thanks for your review!

Reply

Bonnie Hanson June 7, 2018 at 9:31 am
Recipe Rating:

Just made this and it’s amazing!! I actually skipped the glaze as it’s my intent to use it as a breakfast bread. I put a little almond butter on it and WOW! My husband is going to absolutely LOVE ME!

Quick question – any specific reason you omitted the raisins in the revision?

Enjoy your recipes, thanks for sharing the love.

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) June 7, 2018 at 10:55 am

Hey Bonnie, So glad you love it. A breakfast bread is genius!
My family tends not to like raisins in the bread so I removed it for simplicity but you can absolutely use them if you like!

Reply

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