Cranberry-Carrot Cake Recipe

This cake is festive and luscious, but with a minimum of fat and a plethora of fresh fruit (and a vegetable!) in the batter— not the least bit guilt-inducing. Using a springform pan makes it easier to release this cake in an intact round, but the same can be achieved with a flexible silicone pan.

Cranberry-Carrot Cake Recipe
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  • 8 to 10 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry or spelt flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons safflower or other light oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons rice mik or other plain or vanilla vegan milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  2. Place the cranberries in a food processor and pulse on and off until evenly and finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Add the sugar, stir well, and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, optional flaxseeds, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon. Stir to combine thoroughly.
  4. Make a well in the center and add the applesauce, syrup, safflower oil, and vanilla. Stir until the wet and dry ingredients are completely combined, but don’t overmix.
  5. Stir the cranberries and carrots into the batter. Pour into a lightly oiled 9-inch round cake pan or springform pan (see recipe introduction). Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center tests clean.
  6. If using the walnuts, toast them in a small dry skillet over medium heat until they brown lightly. Once the cake has cooled to room temperature, release from the pan if you’ve used a springform or other easy-to-release pan and spread the frosting over the top evenly, allowing it to drip fetchingly over the sides. Otherwise, leave the cake in the pan and simply frost the top.
  7. Sprinkle evenly with the optional walnuts, then cut into wedges to serve.
  8. Combine the ingredients in a food processor. Process until creamy and smooth. Use a flexible cake spatula to remove from the work bowl. Spread on cakes or cupcakes one they've cooled to room temperature.
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