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  • Writer's pictureKelly

Fruit-Sweetened Carrot Cake Loaf (w/ a Lemon Pineapple "Cream Cheese Frosting") (Vegan, Paleo, GF)

5 types of fruit. 1 dessert. Zero sugar. Boom. This is one of my Easter desserts for 2023 at The Dimpled Date! It's simple yet extremely satisfying. The carrot cake loaf is moist, pleasantly sweet, and warmly spiced and is reminiscent of my Zucchini Bread (because I based this recipe off of that one). But what really makes this an incredibly delicious dessert is the tangy but sweet Lemon Pineapple "Cream Cheese Frosting." The frosting is coconut butter-based yet is incredibly creamy and fluffy to the point where you wouldn't believe it's not vegan cream cheese frosting or buttercream. This carrot cake loaf is vegan, paleo, gluten-free, oil-free, and sweetened entirely with fruit and contains hidden veggies (carrot, but I guess not so hidden since it's the flavor). Give this allergy-friendly treat a try to satisfy all your carrot cake and fruity cravings!



This is a wonderful spring/summer treat with its lightness and lemon-y and pineapple frosting that reminds you warmer weather is coming. Tbh the frosting was a complete accident. I was originally going for an icing of sorts, and it came out as a frosting instead. But it's a very happy accident because this frosting is the perfect combo of citrusy, sweet, tangy, fluffy, creamy, and is paleo. And it's as easy as stirring the frosting ingredients together in a bowl (yes you read that right).


This recipe is very quick and easy to make. It's as easy as blending all the ingredients together in a food processor, folding in the shredded carrot, and baking, and simply stirring the ingredients together for the frosting. Btw the loaves look very small in the photos, but you can make 2 taller loaves instead of 3 smaller loaves if you want.





This carrot cake loaf is 100% vegan, paleo, gluten-free, oil-free, and fruit-sweetened, frosting and all! The 5 types of fruit in this loaf are: apples (applesauce), pineapple, dates, raisins, and lemon (in frosting). The veggie is carrots. But this bread doesn't sacrifice on flavor or texture. It's light and chewy with a clean sweetness and a flavor-packed fluffy frosting. You can't feel guilty about eating this because this is about as clean-eating as it gets.


For the topping, you can sprinkle crushed walnuts/pecans, lemon zest, spiralized carrot, crushed pineapple, mini-sized versions of my Carrot Cake Energy Balls (just use less dough when rolling to make mini), or refined sugar free candied carrot peel on top of the frosting. Or whatever you want! Or you can just frost the loaves without any garnishes on top. You don't even need the frosting if you don't want it (although I HIGHLY recommend it, as it is fantastic).





For this recipe, you're going to have to shred carrot (either by hand with a grater or using a shredder attachment on a food processor). You also have to blot out the extra moisture from the shredded carrot, so as not to make the bread too moist.


Have a recipe you'd love to see me try this month? Leave your suggestion in the comments!


And I have more Easter/spring recipes coming soon, as well as my birthday desserts! Stay tuned for these goodies and many more.



Substitutions


For the loaves, the dates can't be substituted, but you may use whichever variety of dates you'd like, such as Medjool or Deglet Noor. The vanilla can be replaced with an equivalent amount of scraped vanilla bean, pure ground vanilla beans, OR sugar-free vanilla powder/paste/syrup. You may try replacing the vanilla with 1/2 tsp sugar-free coconut extract (like OliveNation's) per single batch or if you must, you can omit it. The unsweetened applesauce can be replaced with the same amount of unsweetened crushed pineapple OR melted coconut oil. Alternatively, you could try using the same amount of mashed banana with mixed results. The unsweetened crushed pineapple can be replaced with the same amount of unsweetened applesauce OR melted coconut oil. Again, you could try substituting with mashed banana with mixed results. The flax eggs can be replaced with 2 chia eggs OR 6 Tbsp aquafaba (chickpea brine) per single batch.


The almond flour is tricky to substitute, and I don't have any suggestions for replacements. The same goes for the coconut flour. Both these flours are key for the texture of these loaves whilst keeping it grain-free. The arrowroot starch can be replaced with tapioca starch OR possibly cornstarch OR possibly with potato starch with mixed results (*but note: using cornstarch or potato starch would make this bread no longer paleo). The cinnamon can't really be substituted or omitted and is necessary for flavor. But you may use ground Ceylon cinnamon instead. The same goes for the ground ginger. The nutmeg can be replaced with a pinch of ground cloves OR a pinch of ground cardamom OR a pinch of ground allspice or you may omit the nutmeg. The baking soda is necessary for leavening the bread and cannot be replaced. The sea salt can be substituted with table salt or can be omitted.


The unsweetened plant milk is tricky to substitute, but you may use whatever variety of plant milk you wish, so long as it's unsweetened. Potentially, you could try using filtered water instead with mixed results. The carrots are absolutely necessary and can't be replaced. This is carrot cake bread after all. It's also important that your carrot is grated or finely shaved. The raisins are completely optional, but you may use dark/red or white raisins OR you can replace them with unsweetened dried cranberries OR unsweetened dried sour cherries. The walnuts/pecans are also entirely optional, but you may use whatever kind of nuts/seeds you wish, such as almonds, macadamias, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), etc.


The frosting is also optional, but highly recommended. For this frosting, the coconut butter is necessary for the texture and flavor and cannot be replaced. The unsweetened coconut milk yogurt can be replaced with your unsweetened dairy-free yogurt of choice, such as unsweetened almond milk yogurt, unsweetened cashew milk yogurt, or unsweetened Greek-style almond milk yogurt. Alternatively, you could try using 1 tsp coconut oil in place of the yogurt, but the frosting would no longer be oil-free. The date sugar can be replaced with powdered maple sugar OR powdered coconut sugar. The pineapple juice can be omitted for a simple lemon frosting, or you may use freshly squeezed orange juice OR grapefruit juice. You can omit the lemon for a strictly pineapple frosting, or you may replace it with freshly squeezed orange juice OR lime juice. The vanilla extract is optional but recommended. You may use sugar-free coconut extract instead (such as OliveNation's) or almond extract.


If you want a different flavored frosting other than pineapple lemon frosting, you can try a ginger frosting, cinnamon frosting, strictly orange frosting, carrot frosting, vanilla bean frosting, or strictly almond frosting (by adding those flavor ingredients a little bit at a time to taste). You can replace this paleo coconut butter-based "frosting" entirely with a batch of my Lemon Buttercream Frosting (the lemon frosting in this recipe post. Be sure to double the batch). Or you could make a vegan/refined sugar free cream cheese frosting or a vegan glaze to go on top of this bread. Or you could try a simple coconut butter icing made of melted coconut butter, a tiny bit of coconut oil, and sweetener to taste. The options are endless!


For optional toppings, you can garnish with crushed walnuts/pecans, lemon zest, spiralized carrot, crushed pineapple, mini-sized versions of my Carrot Cake Energy Balls, refined sugar free candied carrot peel, or whatever your heart desires. Have fun!



"Future Recipes Sneak Peek"


It's that time yet again! The "Future Recipes Sneak Peek" is here and reveals 3 new recipes on their way to The Dimpled Date soon. 3 new recipes that are perfected and ready for the blog are:


  1. Raw Robin's Egg Cheesecake (Blue Stracciatella Cheesecake)

  2. Matcha Almond Overnight Oats

  3. Pistachio White Chocolate Spread

2 bonus recipes:


4. Healthy Butter Pecan Ice Cream

5. Pineapple Inside Out Ice Cream..


...AND MORE!! Recipes loading... yumminess in progress... please wait.


If you celebrate, Happy Easter! And HELLO spring!


ENJOY!

-K.



Fruit-Sweetened Carrot Cake Loaf (w/ a Lemon Pineapple "Cream Cheese Frosting") (Vegan, Paleo, GF, Fruit-Sweetened, Oil-Free, Hidden Veggies)


Prep Time: 30 minutes (incl. making frosting)

Cook Time: 35 to 40 minutes

Total Time: abt 1 hour

Servings: three short 6" mini loaves OR two tall 6" mini loaves


Ingredients (carrot cake loaves):


-1 cup Medjool dates, soaked in hot water for 5-15 min

-1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

-2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce (OR an additional 2 Tbsp crushed pineapple)

-2 Tbsp unsweetened crushed pineapple, canned OR better yet 2 Tbsp puréed fresh pineapple (OR an additional 2 Tbsp applesauce)

-2 flax eggs (Minimalist Baker has a great flax egg recipe!) -1 cup superfine blanched almond flour, unpacked

-1/2 cup coconut flour

-1/4 cup arrowroot starch (can sub tapioca starch)

-2 tsp cinnamon

-1 tsp ground ginger

-pinch nutmeg

-1 tsp baking soda

-1/8 tsp sea salt

-1/4 cup unsweetened plant milk of choice

-1 cup shredded carrots, packed lightly and squeezed of excess moisture

-1/4 cup unsweetened raisins (optional)

-1/2 cup raw unsalted walnuts OR pecans, chopped finely (optional)


Ingredients (Lemon Pineapple "Cream Cheese Frosting"):


-1/2 cup coconut butter, melted

-2 Tbsp unsweetened coconut milk yogurt (OR unsweetened dairy-free yogurt of choice)

-2 Tbsp date sugar (date sugar made from ground dried dates, NOT date palm sugar // go up to 3 Tbsp for a sweeter frosting)

-3 to 4 Tbsp unsweetened pineapple juice (3 Tbsp for a more lemony flavor, 4 Tbsp for more pineapple flavor)

-juice & zest of 1/2 a lemon

-1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Directions:


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two or three 6" mini loaf pans with coconut oil or avocado oil spray. Make sure you've soaked the dates, made the flax eggs, and puréed the pineapple (if using freshly crushed pineapple). Make sure the carrots are shredded (in a food processor w/ the shredder attachment is easiest, but grating by hand works too. Be sure to squeeze the excess moisture from the shredded carrot). Chop the nuts (if using).


2. Blend the soaked & drained dates in a food processor until a uniform paste forms. Scrape down the sides and re-blend as necessary.


3. Add the rest of the wet ingredients besides the shredded carrot and plant milk to the food processor (so add the applesauce, pineapple, flax eggs, and vanilla now). Blend until well incorporated.


4. Add all dry ingredients besides the nuts and raisins to the food processor (so add the almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot starch, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, and sea salt now). Process until just combined and a thick batter forms.


5. While the food processor is still turned on, slowly pour the plant milk through the feeder tube hole to incorporate into the batter.


6. Transfer the batter to a bowl and fold in the shredded carrots and raisins.


7. Divide the batter evenly between 2 mini loaf pans (for tall loaves) OR 3 mini loaf pans (for shorter loaves). Smooth the tops.


8. Sprinkle the optional chopped nuts on top of the loaves if desired. Lightly press the nuts into the bread, so they stick.


9. Bake in the preheated oven (at 350 F) for 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the breads comes out clean.


10. Allow to cool fully in the pans, before inverting and removing the loaves from the pans, then placing upright on a serving platter/plate.


11. Make the lemon pineapple "cream cheese" "frosting": melt the coconut butter in the microwave OR on the stove over very low heat. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the coconut milk yogurt, date sugar, pineapple juice, lemon juice & zest, and vanilla until smooth.


12. Frost the loaves: using an offset spatula or butter knife, frost the carrot cake loaves with the frosting. Alternately, you can try piping the frosting on top of the loaves, but I haven't tried this and can't guarantee success.


13. Optionally garnish with more chopped walnuts/pecans, lemon zest, spiralized carrot, refined sugar free candied carrot peel, crushed pineapple, mini-sized versions of my Carrot Cake Energy Balls (just use less dough when rolling to make mini), or whatever your heart desires! Or leave as is!


14. Serve with a carrot cake latte, a pineapple cocktail (dairy-free piña coladas, anyone?), or freshly pressed carrot & lemon juice. Happy Easter/Happy Spring! Enjoy!


Store unfrosted carrot cake loaves at room temp for up to 2 days, then store in an airtight container in the fridge. Store frosted carrot cake in an airtight container in the fridge right away. Store any leftover frosting in an airtight container in the fridge.


Nutrition Facts

Per serving (1 slice or 1/12th of a batch with frosting):

Calories: 327 Total Fat: 18 grams Saturated Fat: 12 grams

Sodium: 2% (DV) Total Carbohydrates: 40 grams Fiber: 9 grams

Sugar: 26 grams* Protein: 5 grams Calcium: 2% (DV) Iron: 13% (DV)

Potassium: 4% (DV)


*This sugar is all-natural and comes from fruit and therefore doesn't count towards the AHA's recommended daily sugar intake limit of 35 grams per day.


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