My vegan comfort cake! Still no sugar added!

You may, or may not realize that I haven’t written any post for the last FOUR days! (most likely the latter) The longest I have neglected my blog since its fairly recent birth… And the reason for this neglectful treatment fittingly INTERTWINES with the creation of my VEGAN COMFORT CAKE.

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(The missing section had quickly gone to my stomach)

The back story of this cake is that…

The past week has been ‘exam week’ for me. Exam week can be best summarized as… alternately chaining oneself to a desk and craning over books, then dragging one’s arse and chaining oneself to another desk in the exam room. Ah, the joy.

As a result, I’ve decided that I deserve a cake by the end of it all(which is today) even though I’ve been failing in most of the exams I’ve sat.

I made up my mind on a ‘carrot cake’ which is my favourite dessert of all time, and the plan was to: eat the entire cake. Eat up all the pent up feelings! That’s the purpose of comfort cakes after all.

I’ve once again used this amazing vegan recipe: http://www.pigpigscorner.com/2010/01/vegan-chocolate-avocado-cake.html (for vegan avocado cake) which no matter how much of a low-fat mutation I would mold the cake it into, never failed to be nice, light and fluffy.

However, I’ve never tried molding this recipe into a completely sugar-free one! But this is the successful result:

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(Still cake-looking. The cake in the heart shaped tin was chocolate flavoured. In the spirit of the moment, I decided that I also had a chocolate cake craving.)

AND Yes, my compulsive nature took over. I had to make even my comfort, post-exam trauma cake low-fat, sugar free and healthy.

However, even with the sugar eliminated, fat significantly reduced from its already minute content, the recipe still worked like an equilibrium(out of my head, chemistry!); i.e. withstanding changes to the system!

TASTE AND TEXTURE: The cake still somehow managed to maintain its moistness, and most importantly, cake-like quality!

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(I like my walnuts chunky)

WHY THE FLUFF? I give credits to VINEGAR used in the recipe, as an awesome leavening agent superhero.

(Acids are leavening life-savers, in the absence of sugar; check this super light+fluffy lemonade scone out! http://www.exclusivelyfood.com.au/2006/07/lemonade-scone-recipe.html)

The vinegar is added on top of the baking powder and soda. Also, another fluffiness factor was the fact that only 1/3 of the cake is oatmeal this time. I have failed before with healthy sugar-free cakes that were at least 80% oats/oatmeal (I used this recipe; http://www.instructables.com/id/The-BEST-chococlate-cake-ever…that-happens-to-be/ resulting in cakes that are deliciously wholemeal-y but had a strange, rubbery-spongy texture, even though it didn’t have eggs in it! Possibly due to over beating?) The tip is to sacrifice a bit of unrefined carbs.

The cake might have been dense, but the texture was very much like your good old, traditional carrot cake. It actually tasted slightly oily even though it had about 10% oil in it? (I feel like this usually happens with tofu cakes)

(Most carrot cakes are uberly moist and dense anyway)

WARNING: The cake tasted so drastically NOT SWEET even I, a sugar-free freak agreed that it seriously needed a nice, sugary shower. It was like a cake. That just wasn’t sweet. Would you still call it a cake?

Thankfully, the cake had raisins in it.

Therefore, PLEASE feel free to add some natural sweetener into the mix (you have been warned!), OR be nice and healthy like me and devour the cakes with kiwi fruit slices. YUM. (Fresh fruit slices can really amazingly help substitute for sweet, moist frosting!)

VEGAN CARROT CAKE RECIPE

Makes one 8-inch round cake

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup oatmeal

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup shredded/food processed carrots

1/4 cup tofu

2 tbsp soy milk

1 cup water

1 tbsp vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

*And then I did this weird thing of adding in some instant coffee that also had sweetener in it, thinking it would help with adding in some sweetness. Turned out utterly useless*

Handful of walnuts

1 tbsp of soaked raisins

2 tsp mixed spices

2 tsp ground cloves

Optional: 1 tsp of coffee powder (although it does nothing whatsoever)

Recommend: 1 tbsp of poppy seeds (I’m crazy about poppy seeds and cakes), 1/2 cup of brown sugar or 2 tbsp honey, whatever source of sweetness you fancy.

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • Oil cake tin. Set aside.
  • Sift together all of the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  • Mix all the wet ingredients together in a bowl; this includes the carrots, tofu(mashed and pureed), soy milk, water, vinegar, vanilla extract.
  • Mix the wet with the dry all at once, and beat with a whisk (by hand) until smooth. Add the walnuts and raisins along with this mix.
  • Pour batter into a greased cake tins. Bake for 30 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. For cupcakes, check after 15 mins.
  • Let cakes cool in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

For the chocolate version: add in 3 tbsp cocoa powder, and omit some ingredients i.e. spices, walnuts which you think may affect the chocolate taste (I accidentally left in the walnuts and poppy seeds. Still a chocolate cake)

Of course, I couldn’t wait for the cakes to cool for 15 bloody minutes. I was excruciatingly hungry, my exam had finished at 11.40 am, and by the time I got home, finished baking the cake it was already 1 pm. I’ve been hungry since after the exam where I’d burned tons of energy sitting on my butt at a chair for 3 straight hours.

The best way to eat a comfort cake is hot, fresh and moist from the oven. If your cake is the annoying ‘sinky’ type, please be patient and wait for at least 10 or 15 minutes for it to hold structure. Thankfully, my cake didn’t sink upon removal from its tin, allowing it to be devoured in the cliche, wolf-like manner.

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The chocolate version; So moist yet cakey at the same time! Ah! Delcious low-calorie-ness

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My hand was shaking with hunger and satisfaction…(How pathetic) I should’ve filmed myself devouring the cakes; it would make a pretty scary video. I ate the cake straight from the hot tin, and obliterated half of it in 10 minutes. Good old binge eating. For some reason I love eating food in the ‘abnormal way’ not binge eating! But i.e. beans straight from can, food from pot, makes them taste 50% more delicious.

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(Weight watchers beans, most delicious from the tin)

BINGE EATING is pretty bad though. I should have at least took a bit more time devouring each slice (i.e. Now feeling uber stufffed and slightly regretting).

Why? 1. Eating large amounts of food, really quickly at one go can really decrease your insulin sensitivity = over time you may develop lower insulin activity, resulting in easier storage of fat/weight gain. Eating lots of sugar, or tons of calories at once is how people slowly develop type 2 diabetes.

2. Can also result in energy spikes and lows (never got intense energy from food, wish I could! I’ve unfortunately only experienced lethargy a while after a big meal) and feelings of jittery and dizziness afterwards.

All the reasons why you should eat food more slowly! Chew more! (I’m still repeatedly telling myself this) Ever wonder why skinny people eats so slowly?

I managed to finish half the cake which was all I could muster. The first two slices actually already got me full! Surprisingly filling yet relatively low in calorie. I blame the amount of water and flour it contains.

If you’re looking to eat up your own emotions for whatever reason, I suggest you do so with foods of high water contents e.g. cucumber, pepper, oranges, etc. to get you full before you explode with calories overload (Although that’s quite unlikely considering some super unhealthy meals can contain nearly all your daily caloric intake e.g. http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/food/long-john-silvers-big-catch-named-americas-worst-restaurant-meal/story-fneuz8wn-1226673446701 and lots of people binge on an entire ice-cream tub) Aim to incorporate a range of colours into your binge meal for optimum nutritional variety. I’m just kidding. Try not to binge, even on healthy food, because of the insulin and energy levels deal. From my bio studies; if our body didn’t digest glucose at the slow rate it does, a simple slice of apple pie can raise your body temperature up to a limit (can’t remember the precise number!) where you will basically die.

(Just a slice can kill you. Now appreciate the hard work your body is doing, and don’t overload it even more by binge  and fast eating)

Back to the cake;

NUTRITION INFO: Around 850 CALORIES for the entire cake. Divided into 8 servings = 106.25 CALORIES per slice (simple maths people!). With sugar or simple water icing, each slice would total to around 150 calories.

That’s not too bad in terms of caloric content, considering this amount equals to i.e. a large apple or banana. The cake also has, I’d say at least 5 g of protein per serve, which is great news for vegans and veggies! Each slice contains fibre from the oats, walnuts, and vitamins from the carrots. And don’t forget the dosage of omega-3 from the walnuts.

CONCLUSION: A much better approach to sugar-free baking than compared to my previous post; sugar-free buns. http://obsessivenutritioncompulsive.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/the-healthiest-jammy-buns-on-earth-with-no-sugar/ Although the buns were much less filling, they were surprisingly more caloric load. This cake had a much better texture. Even my mum, the desserts conossieur found this über healthy cake palatable, of course after some chestnut spread treatment.

(French chestnut + sugar puree) My mum’s attempt of reducing nutella intake. Nevertheless, still resorts to round the clock out-of-jar nutella binges (binges no longer reserved for night-time). I swear crackers are just her excuse to eat more nutella. I should probably write a rant about her crazy 40+ years old metabolism in some future posts.

Back to the point; I’m yet to perfect this recipe in terms of taste i.e. add some natural sweetener? Fruit juice? Also felt they needed some orange zest (me and my zest obsession again) to add some zing to it, and for the buns recipe, a softer texture.

I might make Cici’s healthy nutella spread to go with the cake tomorrow, http://kitchencici.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/dark-chocolate-nutella-without-oil/

Please try this recipe out and share your results! 🙂