All the kids, their spouses and the grandkids, along with my sister and her husband, are gathering this weekend to celebrate the Man of Steel’s 60th birthday. That means he gets to choose his own birthday meal (chicken tetrazzini) and birthday dessert. He chose one of his favorites: carrot cake.
The only problem with that choice was that at least 3 people attending the celebration can’t have dairy. But, as a quick internet search revealed, someone invented dairy-free carrot cake. And as a trial baking adventure proved, dairy-free carrot cake is really good. So is the dairy-free cream “cheese” frosting.
I found the recipe for the cake and the frosting at the Go Dairy Free Website. The only alterations I made in the cake batter were to leave out the raisins…not my favorite and reduce the sugar. For the trial run, I made 1 small rectangular cake for a taste test and 2 round cakes, which went to a dessert auction at church. The birthday cake will be 3 layers of round pans. Warning: this recipe makes a very big cake.
Dairy-Free Carrot Cake
6 cups grated carrots
2/3 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
3 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Combine the grated carrots and brown sugar in a medium bowl and set aside for an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF, and grease and flour two 10-inch cake pans, three 8-inch cake pans, or two 8-inch cake pans +8 cupcake tins.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and briefly set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, and gradually beat in the white sugar, oil and vanilla. Stir in the pineapple. Stir the flour mix into the wet mixture, being careful not to over mix. Gently fold in the carrot mixture and nuts.
- Pour the batter evenly into your prepared pans. Bake as follows: 10-inch pans – 40-50 minutes, 8-inch pans – 30-35 minutes, Cupcakes – 20-22 minutes, or for all, until the cakes are springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Place the pans on a wire rack to cool for 10-20 minutes before removing them from the pan.
- Once the cake is completely cool, then you can frost it or drizzle with icing.
Dairy-Free Cream “Cheese” Frosting
8 ounces vegan “cream cheese”
1/3 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
- Using an electric mixer or in a large bowl with a hand held mixer, place the “cream cheese” and margarine, and cream them together.
- Add the sugar, vanilla, and almond extract, and continue to beat the mixture until light and fluffy.
Right off the bat, you should know that the above picture does not do justice to today’s recipe for cilantro-peanut pesto. That’s why it’s jazzed up with a few cilantro leaves. This pesto is very easy to make, and the tastes of the ingredients explode in the mouth.
The original recipe, which can be found at the Teaspoon of Happiness blog, suggests tossing the pesto into a pound of cooked linguine. But, the man of steel was already grilling a whole chicken when the time came to barber the cilantro in our herb garden and try out this recipe. So, we each put a little on our plates and did a little chicken dipping.
The man of steel declared the meal the best of the summer so far, and asked when another batch could be made for him to take to work and share. Absolutely, positively, undeniable proof of the Hiram coveted seal of approval!
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup peanuts
1/4 cup lime juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons grated, fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic
Put all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Put in an airtight container and refrigerate. Let flavors meld for at least an hour before serving.
The holiday season is over, and thanks to some new dairy-free recipes and ingredient substitutions, this skip-the-dairy woman navigated the party season without feeling deprived. This recipe for dairy-free spinach dip (a modified version of Knorr Spinach Dip) is guaranteed to make the upcoming Super Bowl and March Madness gatherings fun for everyone, including non-dairy, non-sports fans. Why? Because this dip tastes just like the real sour cream version. No one will be able to tell the difference.
Dairy-Free Spinach Dip
1 box (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, cooked, cooled and squeezed dry
1 container (12 oz.) Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
1 cup mayonnaise (contrary to popular belief, mayo contains no dairy products)
1 package Knorr® Vegetable recipe mix
3 green onions, chopped (optional)
Combine all ingredients and chill about 2 hours. Serve with your favorite dippers* to your favorite people.
*Check the ingredient list of dippers to be sure they are dairy-free.