It comes to me regularly: the feeling I need to bake something. It usually happens when I pop open all doors in my kitchen—fridge, freezer, and pantry—looking for something sweet to eat, only to find that my homemade baked treat stocks are depleted. I close all doors, hoping a chocolate square will appease my craving. I eat the chocolate, then usually take out flour, sugar, butter, and eggs to start baking because a square of chocolate never appeases me when what I really want is a baked treat.
Last week, I was going through Allison Day’s gorgeous cookbook, Whole Bowls: Complete Gluten-Free and Vegetarian Meals to Power Through Your Day, sticking Post-its on all of the recipes I wanted to try, like I always do when I read a cookbook for the first time. Her recipes are colorful and mouthwatering, and I was getting hungrier by the minute. As I was reading further into the book, I started to wonder how she would treat desserts—would there only be puddings and other dishes you usually eat with a spoon? I found myself flipping quickly to get to the sweets, and boy, was I enchanted by Day’s take on desserts. There’s a crisp—the quintessential in-a-bowl dessert—but also an easy avocado and chocolate pudding punctuated with cayenne pepper, a deconstructed pie topped with elegant discs of butter pastry, a rice pudding with a Danish twist, and roasted pears served with an addictive-looking maple and pine nut brittle. There’s a bowl of cookie dough—a treat that sounds incredibly indulgent but is in fact made with wholesome ingredients like chickpeas (so creative!). And then, there’s carrot cake.
I can’t resist carrot cake, even in the heart of summer. And the fact that Day served it so casually, in a bowl with a dollop of cream cheese and sprinkled garnishes, tempted me even more. Because the recipes in Whole Bowls are gluten-free, I adapted the dessert to make it with whole wheat bread flour, which gives cakes a fantastic crumb and a complex taste. I used maple syrup, instead of sugar, because I love the slight smokiness it provides. For simplicity’s sake, I decided that I would serve it with my new favorite vanilla Greek yogurt, which is so rich and delicious that it can act as icing. Then I worked in Middle Eastern flavors to match: cardamom, orange (or, in this case, clementine), and pistachios. The result is a delightfully moist cake infused with bright spices and citrus flavors: it’s the perfect combination of comforting and refreshing.
My version of the cake is quite different from Day’s, but what I got from her recipe—and her book as a whole—is that food is more fun in bowls! And that, from now on, includes carrot cake.
Makes 12 servings.
15 minPrep Time
30 minCook Time
45 minTotal Time
To make the carrot cake: Preheat the oven to 325°F [160°C]. Grease an 8 x 8-inch [20 x 20-cm] square baking pan with cooking spray, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flours, ginger, cardamom, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to combine. In a second mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, apple sauce, milk, maple syrup, and olive oil. Add to the flour mixture and use a spatula to combine. Add the grated carrots, raisins, and orange zest, and mix until combined. Transfer to the prepared baking pan and use the spatula to smooth the surface of the cake. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few damp crumbs attached to it. Cool completely in the pan.
To make the candied pistachios: While the cake is baking, place a small skillet over medium heat and add the pistachios. Toast for about a minute, moving the nuts regularly so they heat up evenly. Add the maple syrup and use a spatula to coat the nuts. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, moving the nuts from time to time, until the maple syrup is evaporated and the nuts are caramelized. Spread the nuts over a sheet of parchment paper. Sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt (be mindful of the quantity of salt you add since you will be using the nuts on a dessert), and cool completely. The maple syrup coating will harden as the nuts cool.
Cut the cake into small squares and place in shallow serving bowls. Add a big dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt, orange segments, and some coarsely chopped candied pistachios. Dig in immediately.
The cake will keep fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. You can also freeze the cake for up to a month (make sure to freeze the cake in portions so you can indulge whenever a craving comes!).
Win a Copy of Whole Bowls: Complete Gluten-Free and Vegetarian Meals to Power Through Your Day
Allison Day’s Whole Bowls is filled with nutritious, good-for-you recipes you’ll crave. The recipes are vegetarian and gluten-free, but most of the ingredients that Day uses in her colorful dishes naturally don’t contain gluten, making it easy for anyone to cook from the book. I’m cooking (and baking!) my way through Whole Bowls, and I’m loving every recipe more than the last. I’m sure you will, too, which is why I’m giving away a copy of the book!
How to WinThe giveaway is over, thanks for participating!
Mandatory: What’s your favorite dessert to eat with a spoon? Optional: Take advantage of all the social media options in the Rafflecopter widget below to get more chances to win. When entering through social media, make sure I can recognize your name/address so I can reach you if you win. The Fine Print You must provide a US or Canadian address to to win. Each winner needs to answer a simple skill question to get the prizes. The giveaway ends Monday, July 11, 2016, at midnight EST. Good luck to everyone!