Best Friends Banana Carrot Cake

I know that I promised to write a post about DIY-green cleaning products, but I will get to that after I share this recipe with you!

One of my oldest and dearest friends came to Copenhagen for a visit. She has just had a birthday, graduated from her Masters program and got an incredible job. To celebrate all of the above, I thought that I should make a carrot cake (her favorite), with a healthy spin (my favorite).
We’ve been friends for 17 years now despite our many, distinct differences. She is obsessed with Star Trek and I hate sci-fi anything. I love camping and she’s afraid of fruit flies. I wouldn’t say we’re quite opposites, but I often marvel at our inexplicable connection. Coincidentally, this recipe for banana carrot cake conjures up the same question: how do two seemingly opposite entities combine to make miracles happen? Crunchy, savory carrots are combined with soft, sweet bananas. I guess they just balance each other out, creating so much more than the sum of their parts.

Since this dessert is a cross between a carrot cake and a loaf of banana bread it’s like all of my widest fantasies come true. It is moist and dense, with none of the crumbly delicacy of a standard carrot cake – it’s a real tasty beast. And surprise! There is no sugar in the recipe; the sweetness comes from dates and ripe bananas. It is also packed with walnuts, with optional add-ins like raisins, coconut flakes and dried pineapple.

The icing is a vegan recipe, but you can also use the traditional cream cheese version if you’re into cows (6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature + 3 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup, whipped together).

Best Friends Banana Carrot Cake
Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I used all-purpose whole wheat)
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon (more if you like)
¾ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
¾ cup finely chopped walnuts (plus a few extra for topping)
4 ounces Earth Balance or unsalted butter, heated until just melted (or maybe try coconut butter?)
½ cup dried dates, seeded and finely chopped into a paste
3 ripe bananas (1 ¼ cups), mashed well
1 ½ cups grated carrots (about 3 medium)
handful of raisins
handful of dried pineapple
handful of coconut flakes
½ cup plain goat yoghurt (or cow if you’re into that)
2 organic eggs, lightly whisked

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9x5x3 / 8-cup loaf pan (or 8×8 cake pan) with parchment paper.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the walnuts and set aside.
3. Stir the dates into the melted butter, breaking up the dates a bit.
4. In a separate bowl combine the bananas and carrots. Stir in the date-butter mixture, breaking up any date clumps as you go.
5. Whisk in the yogurt and the eggs. Add the flour mixture and stir until everything just comes together. Spoon into the prepared pan. Bake for about 50 – 90 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean in the center of the cake – it’ll be less if you are using a standard cake pan. Remove from oven and let cool.
6. While the cake is baking whip together the icing. Recipe below.


Honey Coconut Icing
Ingredients:
¼ cup coconut milk
¼ cup agave syrup or honey
¼ cup coconut oil
2 ½ tsp. arrowroot powder or organic, non-GMO cornstarch
½ Tbsp. water
teeny pinch of sea salt

Directions:
1. In a medium saucepan, heat coconut milk, agave and salt, simmer no low for 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly so that it doesn’t burn.
2. In a small bowl, combine arrowroot and water to form a smooth paste.
3. Pour arrowroot mixture into saucepan.
4. Mix contents of saucepan with a hand blender (or quick hands) and bring to a boil, briefly.
5. Remove pot from heat and very gradually blend in coconut oil.
6. Place pot in freezer for 30-40 minutes, until frosting solidifies and turns white.
7. Remove from freezer and blend again, until fluffy.
8. Spread over cake or cupcakes.

This recipe made enough frosting just to cover the top of my cake that was baked in a loaf pan. If you wanted to make cup cakes or a traditional layer cake, I would suggest doubling or tripling the recipe. I would also suggest cutting the loaf in half, and turning this into a layer cake by sandwiching icing between the top and bottom halves. Impressive!

I had no idea that carrots and bananas could be buddies, but sometimes we can’t explain the spark between two beings, we just have to sit back, smile and appreciate that their play dates make magic.

Copyright 2012 My New Roots at mynewroots.blogspot.com

23 comments

  1. Ankur

    Hi Sarah,
    The cake turned out really well, but the frosting ended up being really goopy and sticky. It wasn’t spreadable after I put it into the freezer. Any idea on what I could have done wrong? Is there a particular step you need to be careful on? I used regular agave instead of honey. The color of the frosting was also darker, but I wonder if that was because I didn’t have light agave at home.

  2. Ruby

    Hi,
    Just wanted to leave a comment for you. I recently tried this since I have been looking for a good banana/carrot cake recipe. I substituted flax for eggs, but the whole cake is so good considering it’s basically sugar free. The icing makes the cake extra special. I loved it and wanted to thank you for it 🙂

  3. Rebecca

    Hey Sarah! Love all your recipes and how you connotative you are with them! Did you use actual coconut milk or th same milk that you used in the banoffe pie?
    Thanks!

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  6. Melissa

    Hi Sarah, just popped the carrot and pineapple cake in the oven, ran out of bananas. So looking forward to another delicious cake, with no sugar and not bland!

  7. Melissa

    Hi Sarah, I’ve just found your blog and I love how you tend to add extra bits and bobs about why your using certain ingredients and their benefits. So far I’ve made the raw brownies, morning glory biscuits which I thought there’s no way my husband would eat them as doesn’t eat oats, but loves them. My kids have almost goggled up the brownies too! Hope all is going well with your new arrival and not too many sleepless nights.

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  10. Jordan

    Hi Sarah,
    What do you recommend if I would like to make a gluten-free version of this cake? Thanks in advance!

  11. Joey

    Awesome mash up! I made this with spelt flour and replaced the yogurt with applesauce and some chia seed paste Threw in chocolate chips instead of pineapple and coconut. Baked for an hour. Didn’t have any coconut milk or cream cheese so made an almond butter+butter icing and sprinkled almond slivers and more choco chips on top. DELICIOUS, and best of all, guilt free!!!

  12. Anonymous

    I know this cake post is a couple of years old, but I’m new to your blog. I made this today for my husband’s 48th birthday. My husband loves carrot cake and I was seeking a healthy alternative to my usual cake recipes. This cake turned out well, we were both very pleased. I’m delighted to have discovered your blog and new healthier ways to fix familiar favorites as well as new recipes to attempt.

  13. Sarah B

    Hi Maja – try using chia seeds or flax instead of the eggs, and vegan yogurt instead of the regular. Soy-based if you eat soy, or try coconut yogurt – I think it would taste really nice with the frosting too!

    All the best, Sarah B

  14. maja

    hi Sarah,

    this cake looks & sounds fanstic! but as I am just now going vegan, I was wondering if you could suggest me how to make it without the yogurt and eggs. thnx! 🙂

    maja

  15. Sarah B

    Hi Marissa,

    You can always just spread the cream from the coconut milk on top of the cake (let the container sit in the fridge completely still for a day so it separates and firms up) or try this:
    1.5 bars (about 3/4 cup chopped) sugar-free dark chocolate
    3/4 cup coconut milk

    -Melt chocolate in a double-boiler -Stir in coconut milk (or just the cream)
    – Let cool in fridge

    Hope that helps! Happy Birthday to your daughter 🙂

  16. m

    Sarah, Do you have any other icing suggestions for a cake. I need to make one for my little girl who turns 1 on Saturday and I can’t find a good alternative! I want dairy free and sugar free! This coconut one is great but a bit time consuming for the big day;) Let me know if you have any good ones up your sleeve!
    Marissa

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