The first time I had carrot cake, I remember being astonished that something my mom made me eat all the time (and under duress) could be transformed into something I would actually want to eat (all the time). This couldn’t possibly count as dessert, I convinced myself. It has fruit! It has vegetables! It has protein!
At some point, I had to wake up and smell the cream cheese frosting. What few health benefits might be gained from eating a little bit of carrots for dessert are more than likely outweighed by a whole lotta flour and sugar. And butter. And oil.
Ella Woodward, on the other hand, wasn’t willing to let carrot cake or anything else she loved go gently into that good night. After being diagnosed with a painful and debilitating illness, Woodward switched to a gluten-free, plant-based diet to try and heal herself holistically. Eighteen months later, Woodward was pain and medication free–but still eating really well.
She blogged about the journey and gained a huge following. Her new book features the same healthful recipes and gorgeous photos (many of which feature Ella’s healthy glow) that have made her wildly popular even among those who don’t eschew gluten (hello).
While this carrot cake most definitely counts as dessert, it also most definitely lets me keep that healthy-dessert dream alive. Deliciously.
This double-layered carrot cake with a creamy caramel-like icing is pretty special. One of the really nice things about it is that the cake is very light, so you feel incredibly energized after enjoying it, which I love—although it does mean that you’ll be tempted to eat four or five slices in a row!
–Ella Woodward, Deliciously Ella
100+ Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Plant-Based, Gluten-Free Recipes
by Ella Woodward
Photographs by Clare Winfield
- 2½ cups brown rice or buckwheat flour (about 14 ounces)
- 1¼ cups ground almonds (about 4 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- ⅓ cup raisins
- 2 slices of pineapple (about 8 ounces)
- 1¼ cups almond milk
- ⅔ cup maple syrup
- 3 carrots (about 8 ounces)
- coconut oil, for greasing
- 3 large bananas, peeled (about 12 ounces)
- 10 Medjool dates, pitted
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (convection 300°F).
- Pour the brown rice or buckwheat flour into a mixing bowl with the ground almonds, chia seeds and raisins.
- Place the pineapple, almond milk and maple syrup into a blender and blend until smooth. Once it’s totally smooth, pour the mix into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients.
- Next, peel and grate the carrots using the fine side of a box grater. Stir the carrot into the mixing bowl and ensure that it’s all thoroughly mixed so that it forms a smooth batter.
- Grease two 9-inch cake pans with coconut oil and evenly pour the mixture into both.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, until the tops turn a golden brown.
- Once the cakes are cooked, remove them from the oven and leave them to cool for about 10 minutes on a cooling rack (this is really important as the cake finishes setting at this point).
- As the cake cools, make the icing. Place everything into a blender with 4 tablespoons water and blend until a smooth, creamy mix forms. Once the cakes have cooled, divide the icing between the two cakes and then ice the tops and place one cake on top of the other.