Saturday, September 18, 2010

Best Ever Carrot Cake

It has been an interesting few weeks around here.  After 3 strict weeks of the elimination diet, then lots of indulgences when some dear friends visited last weekend, it seemed apparent that Warren's symptoms and my diet may not be correlated after all (well, except for broccoli, which  I think I shall survive without).  I even added eggs and nuts back into my diet with no ill effects.  So yesterday morning, just before breakfast, I told my husband I was quitting the elimination diet.  I poured myself a bowl of homemade dairy-free granola with nuts and sat down to a delicious, guilt-free breakfast.

I was well over halfway through the bowl when it happened.

The scary dairy nightmare was coming true.  My mouthful of granola was doused in real, creamy, from-a-cow milk.  In my early morning, overloaded mommy fog, I had gone on auto-pilot and reached for the gallon of dairy milk instead of the carton of rice milk.  I paused, swallowed, and briefly considered calling CPS on myself.  And then a sense of peace came over me.  I laughed.  "I think he's going to be ok," I thought to myself.

It is well over 36 hours later and Warren is perfect.  No crying spells, no upset tummy.   He is sleeping peacefully right now and I am really not sure what to think.  I'm not reaching for that carton of Haagen-Dazs quite yet, but the worst certainly seems to be over.  I am relieved and grateful.

In celebration of the end of the elimination diet, here is one of the first recipes I made when I started the dairy-free, soy-free diet.  I had been waiting for a special occasion to share this one, and I think this is it!

I have always been fond of carrot cake, but I had no idea it could be a transcendent experience until I had a slice at Selland's Market in Sacramento, where my friend Britni was the pastry chef.  Since carrot cake is naturally dairy free, she graciously shared the recipe with me, and I made just a few tweaks so that it makes a bit more sense for a home cook.  Plus, I managed to create a dairy-free, soy-free "cream cheese" frosting that is surprisingly cream cheesy.  Even Justin, my alternative food skeptic, gobbled it up.  Of course, if your diet allows, use your favorite cream cheese frosting recipe.

Britni's Best Ever Carrot Cake

1 1/2 cups canola oil
2 1/3 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (I used 2 cups a.p. flour + 1/3 cup whole wheat flour)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 cups shredded peeled carrots (from about 1 1/4 lb. carrots)
1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, well drained (place in sieve and press out liquids with back of spoon)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325.  Grease 3 - 8 " cake pans.  Line bottoms with rounds of parchment or waxed paper.   Grease the paper, then flour the pans, shaking to coat evenly and tapping out excess.  Set aside.

In bowl of standing mixer, beat together the canola oil and sugar.  Add the eggs and beat at high speed for 3 minutes.  In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Add to egg mixture and beat at low speed until just incorporated.  Add the carrots, pineapple, walnuts and vanilla, then blend until batter is uniformly mixed.

Pour into prepared pans and bake 40-50 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Cool in pans until cool enough to handle, then invert onto wire racks and remove paper to cool completely.  Frost with "cream cheese" frosting.

Check back tomorrow for the frosting recipes!


  1. Go for the Haagen daz! Good to hear you might be on the other side of the elimination diet.

  2. Hi Emily - in case you're wondering who "aambee" is, it's the Bouchers!