This carrot cake is egg, sugar and wheat-free. It feels very soft and holds a rich warm flavour, perfect in autumn or winter.
When baking cakes, eggs are often used as a binding and leavening agent. Here I’ve substituted the eggs with Sodium bicarbonate and dr Oetker Baking powder.
Sodium bicarbonate (also known as ‘bicarbonate of soda’ or ‘baking soda’, E500 and chemical formula NaHCO3) will react with acidic components (like the apple cider vinegar in this batter). It also reacts to heat above 80 °C. When either reaction occurs, it releases carbon dioxide, which causes expansion of the batter.
Baking powder also consists of sodium bicarbonate, with an added source of mild acid (in my case disodium pyrophosphate, E450i, chemical formula Na2H2P2O7) and starch. Because the disodium pyrophosphate doesn’t have a strong taste, the cake won’t taste different by using this (it would if we’d added more sodium bicarbonate and apple vinegar). The starch acts as a thickener and stabilizer in the batter so it won’t flatten quickly.
Spelt holds a high amount of gluten. Gluten give elasticity to dough, helping it rise, keep its shape and give the final product a soft texture (in contrast to crumbly). Spelt holds a higher gliadin:glutenin ratio than “Winter wheat” (often used as general wheat with baking) which means that the viscosity is a bit higher (good for chewy cake), but the nutritive value a bit lower, than whole grain wheat (luckily, cake is not really meant to be healthy).
Spelt also has a slightly sweet and nutty flavour, which pairs well with the other ingredients of this cake.
When using sugar, the end product often has a crisp and very ‘hard’ sweet flavour. Sugar also hardens when cooled. By using honey, this cake is still sweet, and the crusts will stay nicely soft.
If you would like to make the cake completely vegan, you can substitute the honey with maple or agave syrup.
- 250 grams (2 cups) of spelt flour
- 500 grams (1 large bag) of carrots
- 115 grams (3/4 cup) of pecan nuts
- 90 grams (1/2 cup) of vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil)
- 200 grams (1/2 cup) of honey
- 1 vanilla stick
- A pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon Sodium bicarbonate
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Chop the carrots in small pieces, and mush them in a food processor/blender to your desired consistency (in my case I made the consistency of apple compote). Crush the pecan nuts into small pieces with your hands or a mortar. The larger the pieces, the more bite your cake will have.
Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod. In a large bowl, mix flour with the spices, salt and the vanilla seeds. Next, add the sodium bicarbonate and the baking powder. Blend in the carrots and the pecan nuts. Add the oil, the honey and apple cider vinegar. Mix until all the ingredients look evenly spread.
Pour the batter into your cake pan and bake for about 30 minutes. The cake is done when toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Allow to cool and top with your favourite cream cheese frosting or (sugar) glaze. Enjoy!
(Unfortunately I forgot to take more pictures, but I can promise you, it looked very good)