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Carrot Cake with Coconut and Dates

I realize that sharing a new carrot cake recipe the day after Easter is about as useful as a new Latke recipe the day after Hanukkah or a perfect Christmas beech on December 26th. I was planning to share this a week ago and – hybrid alert! – I patted myself on the back because of my own intelligence, the first sign that things are going south. What could be more perfect for a week that included both Easter and Passover, while sparing so many people the work of having to adapt a Gluten or milk cake not to include them? Nothing! But I was unraveled by two forces: firstly, some confusion about whether baking powder, a sourdough, is allowed or not at Passover, a holiday prohibiting sourdough breads [it turned out that it is!] and also thanks to our own Seder preparations [we had 16 people here on Wednesday night; I’m delinquent bad at outsourcing, so I cooked for 3.5 days]. And that brings us to this day. One good thing about having a 16-year-old for a cooking blog, however, is that even poorly timed arrivals find their rightful place in the archives. If you are looking for a flourless carrot cake, be it today, next week or the holiday season next April, this will apparently be on time.

Let’s talk about this cake! If you have my recent cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Keepers (and oh, I’m obviously biased, but I think you’d like it), you might know that I prefer carrot cakes to carrots. The carrot cake from the book with brown butter and no mess is the simplest I’ve ever made. However, this recipe is more complete… Co-Stars: almond flour, coconut and dates! What happened, Deb? Maybe it’s just the gluten-free of everything, but I like that this cake is hearty and full of Textures; it absolutely works here and makes it better. I’m developing… continue? Will I start adopting beets, Bucatini and tomatoes soon? Phew, that’s a lot to consider. What is not if you need this cake in your repertoire is not: you undoubtedly do.

Prepare the cake: Heat your oven to 325°F (160°C). Coat a 9-inch round (or 8-inch square) cake pan with non-stick spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Define the page.


Place the eggs and 1 Cup of brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on medium-high speed for 8 minutes or until thick and doubled in volume. Combine the rest of the ingredients – carrots, almond flour, coconut, dates, salt, spices, baking powder, oil and Vanilla — in a large bowl and mix to combine. Fold the carrot mixture into the beaten egg mixture, try to empty the eggs as little as possible and pour the mixture into your prepared pie pan. Smooth the top of the cake so that it is level.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, but please note: a toothpick inserted in the center will come out without dough after only 35-40 minutes, but it will not be cooked enough (i.e. the crumb could be wet and even look a little undercooked in the center) unless you take it for another 10-15 minutes. The cake forgives what you might think is scalloped, even if the sides look dark.

Remove the cake from the oven and immediately run a knife around the cake to loosen it in places that could be stuck. Let cool in the mold on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then transfer to a baking sheet, peel off the parchment and let the cake cool, right side up, until it is at room temperature. I usually hurry to do it either outside on a cold day, or in the refrigerator.

Make the icing: [see the note on cream cheese temperatures in the article] in a stand mixer, a food processor or with a hand mixer: beat or mix the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream and vanilla paste until creamy and light.

For the icing and decoration: spread 2/3 (eyeball only) of the icing on the cooled cake and spread it in a thin smooth layer. Put the remaining icing in a bag and cut off the corner. Overlapping ripples around the cake until you run out of frosting.

Go ahead: store leftover cake in the refrigerator. It keeps (without appearing dry, hooray) for 5 to 6 days.

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