Coconut Carrot Cake with Creamcheese White Chocolate Icing

coconut carrot cake - trust in kim

I can’t really believe I haven’t posted this one before.  I’ve been making it for years, and it is a favourite for many people.  The recipe comes from the Rebar Cookbook, which was put out by a great little vegetarian restaurant in Victoria, BC.  There is a bit of work involved in this cake, but just chopping and grating a few things, nothing too technical.  It also makes nice cupcakes or a 9 x 13 cake.

What you need:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup (180 mL) crushed pineapple
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 & 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice

What you need for the icing:

  • 9 oz ( 270 grams) cream cheese (firm block, not spreadable) room temperature – very important
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 oz (90 grams) white chocolate
  • 3 cups icing sugar, sifted (could cut back to 2 & 1/2 cups)

What you do:

  1. Butter and flour two 8″ round cake pans.  I like to  cut out circles of parchment paper to fit into the bottom of the pans for easy removal.  Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Combine the grated carrot, pineapple, coconut and chopped walnuts in a large bowl.
  3. In a mixing bowl beat the sugars with the eggs. Add the vanilla and beat on high-speed until the volume has tripled. With the beater on low-speed, pour the oil in slowly to blend it in.
  4.  Combine the remaining dry ingredients and gently stir them into the egg mixture. Fold in the carrot mixture. Divide the batter among the cake pans and smooth the tops.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes sit in the pan for about 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert onto cooling racks.
  6. After the cakes have cooled, prepare the icing.  Begin by melting the white chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat and set aside to cool a little while you do the next part.
  7. Beat the room temperature cream cheese on high-speed until smooth and fluffy, then blend in the vanilla and butter.  Add the melted chocolate to the cream cheese mixture and mix on high until smooth and fluffy (I added the chocolate when it was too warm, and I couldn’t get to the fluffy stage.  I put it in the fridge for 10 minutes and that solved the problem). Slowly add the icing sugar, stopping to scrape down the sides now and then. Beat on high until the icing  is light and fluffy; about 3 minutes.
  8. Spread the bottom layer of the cake with one-third of the icing, smoothing it evenly to the edges. Chill for 10 minutes. Place the top cake layer on and frost the top and sides. I garnished it with white chocolate curls, but my next choice was to make a border of chopped walnuts around the edge.  Toasted coconut or a decorative piped border are other options.
  9. Store refrigerated where it will keep for up to 4 days.

carrot cake - trust in kim

Cilantro Pesto

Often, when I don’t know what to cook, I open up my Rebar cookbook.  I’ve tried a lot of the recipes, loved a lot of them, but only blogged a few.  This pesto is a nice change from the usual, with cilantro, pumpkin seeds, lime juice and jalapeno peppers.  I served it tossed with some baked spaghetti squash, but it would also be great on regular pasta. This recipe is half the original, and makes about 2/3 cup of pesto, plenty for a few people.

What you need:

1 bunch clean cilantro, stems chopped off

1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

1/4 jalapeno pepper, chopped with seeds

1 garlic clove

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons grated parmesan or asiago cheese

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

What you do:

1.  Toast the pumpkin seeds slightly in a dry frying pan.  They toast really fast, so just turn the heat to medium-low and shake them around every half a minute or so.

2.  Put all the ingredients except the olive oil into a food processor.  I just have a little handheld one, and that works fine. Puree until everything is chopped to little bits.

3.  Pour in the olive oil, a little at a time, until it is combined.

Ready to go!