Just because there’s no butter, eggs or milk doesn’t mean a dessert can’t be decadent.
At , the café and coffee shop on Seventh Avenue between 11th and 12th streets, Pastry Chef Laetitia Burns and Head Chef Piero Cespedes work hard to whip up tasty sandwiches, soups and desserts to please vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike.
And though the cafe has always served up high-quality soups, salads and sanwiches, when owner Janice Pullicino bought the café from the original Naidre four years ago, she began focusing on bringing in higher quality pastries and baked goods, which the previous owner had primarily purchased instead of making in-house. Now the shop makes all of it’s own baked goods (excepting bagels and French pastries) and the Vegan Carrot Cake is just one of the items that has become a hit.
Naidre’s “ I Can’t Believe It’s Vegan” Carrot Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups demerra sugar
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup vegetable oil
Equivalent of 4 “eggs” using Ener-G powdered egg substitute mixed with water (per product directions)
3 cups grated carrots
Tofu Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
8 ounces tofu cream cheese at room temperature
2 tablespoons Earth Balance or other butter substitute
2 teaspoons good quality vanilla
1/2 cup (or more to taste) finely chopped, toasted walnuts to decorate the outside of the cake. (This is also an integral part of the flavor of the frosting, we don’t suggest leaving it out, but you could experiment with other nuts like pecans.)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with a non-stick cooking spray, and dust the sides with flour. Cut two rounds of parchment paper to the size of the pans, and insert into the bottom of the pans.
Sift together all dry ingredients, except the nuts. Beat “eggs” until light and fluffy. Using a spatula, add the oil into the dry mix (it will be very sticky), and gradually add the eggs. Stir in the carrots and nuts. The batter may seem too dry at this point. If so, let the batter sit for 10 minutes to allow the carrots to release some of their moisture into the batter, and stir again. Divide batter into the cake pans and cook for 30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Cool thoroughly before frosting.
Make the frosting. Mix tofu cream cheese, and butter substitute on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. On slow speed, add vanilla and confectioners sugar. Turn speed up to high until you reach desired consistency for frosting (approximately 5-6 minutes). Add more confectioner’s sugar a couple of tablespoons at a time. If the frosting is too soft, it should hold its shape.
Frost the middle and outside of the cakes, and decorate with chopped walnuts. Refrigerate at least two hours or preferably overnight to set.
Have a slice and smile! Most people never know it’s vegan!