What better way to celebrate healthy eating than with cake? Thanks to a healthy dose of orange fruits and vegetables, this cake is chock full of carotenoids, a compound that converts to vitamin A in the body and is essential for proper immune health and good eye health.
Can’t wait to eat cake? Skip the frosting and roll the cake base into balls to create nibble-sized cake bites.
In small bowl, pour boiling water over cashews and set aside for 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, finely grate peel from oranges and set aside. Into small bowl, juice one orange and set aside. Finally, with remaining orange, cut away pith and slice into thin rounds, setting aside in airtight container for garnish.
Line 8 x 8 in (20 x 20 cm) square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing for a generous amount of parchment paper to come up over sides of baking pan. Alternatively, line 7 in (18 cm) or 8 in (20 cm) round springform pan with parchment. Set aside.
To make topping for cake, drain and then rinse soaked cashews before adding to bowl of blender along with chopped carrot, coconut cream, maple syrup, 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp (2 mL) reserved orange zest, and 2 Tbsp (30 mL) orange juice. Blend on high speed until very smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides of blender bowl as needed. Transfer to airtight container, cover, and refrigerate while making cake base.
For cake base, in bowl of food processor, add dates and pulse until chopped up. Let food processor run for 10 to 20 seconds, until dates are in very small bits or form a ball. Remove dates from food processor and set aside. Don’t worry about washing out bowl of food processor.
Add walnuts, sunflower seeds, remaining 2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla extract, 1 tsp (5 mL) reserved orange zest (save any remaining orange zest for another use), cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Process until a semi-fine meal is achieved. Dollop in date paste and add shredded carrots. Pulse until a loose dough forms and carrots are just incorporated. Take care not to overmix and purée mixture. Transfer mixture to large mixing bowl and stir in coconut or almond flour and raisins until combined. Set aside.
Add cake base to prepared pan and lightly press down into an even layer. A flat-bottomed glass or measuring cup works well here. Pour reserved topping mixture overtop and smooth into an even layer over cake base. Tap cake tin on work surface a couple of times to remove any air bubbles from topping and place cake in freezer until topping is semi-firm to the touch, about 3 to 4 hours.
When ready to serve, remove cake from freezer and unmould onto serving plate. Let soften at room temperature for about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on room temperature, as cake is best served chilled but not frozen. Garnish with remaining orange slices and some more nuts or carrot curls, if desired. Run a sharp knife under hot water before slicing cake. Serve and enjoy.
Any leftovers may be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and frozen for up to 1 month.
Pears and chocolate make for a very natural friendship and play together beautifully in this plant-based, dairy-free cake. This cake is dense and rich, with a medley of spices, and enhanced by just a hint of espresso powder, which allows that chocolate flavour to shine through. In addition to slices of pears being laid on top, this cake employs some pear purée to add moisture and sweetness to the slightly nutty texture provided by the whole wheat flour. Pear primer A firm pear such as Bosc, recognizable by its distinctive dusty brown skin, is perfect for this dish. When eaten raw, Bosc pears are crisp and not too sweet. When baked, this variety softens up and its flavours are enhanced, but it maintains its characteristic long-necked, graceful shape. Unlike a Bartlett pear, which turns from green to bright yellow when ripe, Bosc pears don’t change much in colour when ripe. Give it a little nudge with your thumb near the neck of the pear and it will give slightly—that’s how you know you’ve got a ripe one. Compared to other pears, Bosc will still be quite firm.
Many flavours that complement pears—sage, ginger, maple syrup—also go well with butternut squash, so it makes sense to bring the two together. For this autumn salad, mixed greens are tossed with marinated squash ribbons that serve to dress the salad with spicy, gingery brightness. A juicy yet firm medium-sweet pear, such as red Anjou, works well here, and its vibrant red skin makes a pretty plate alongside butternut squash. The finishing touch is a sprinkling of crispy sage and maple syrup-toasted hazelnuts. Refrigerator tip Treat butternut squash ribbons as you would a dressing, keeping them in the refrigerator until ready to use. They will last a few days in the refrigerator, and you can have them on hand to dress small amounts of lettuce. If, rather than making one large salad, you want to serve individual amounts of this salad, just dress a few leaves with some ribbons; cut up pear and fry sage leaves as you serve.
Luscious figs loaded onto hearty flatbread make a satisfying breakfast or brunch. They’re sweet and delicious when paired with savoury cinnamon-flavoured crunchy pumpkin seeds and tart goat cheese. And, with a dough enriched with whole wheat flour, hempseeds, and nigella, these flatbreads are sure to be satisfying. They’re also chock full of fibre and protein, and with 6 mg of iron, you’ll be on your way to 31 percent of the recommended daily value. A freezer favourite By making dough in advance and freezing, you can make these individual flatbreads part of your routine for days when you don’t have much time. Simply portion dough individually right after mixing, allow it to rise in the fridge for 8 to 10 hours, and then freeze in individual containers. To thaw an individual ball of dough, 24 hours before you wish to use it, remove the container from the freezer and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator. At least an hour before baking, allow dough to come up to room temperature outside of the fridge.