For the few of you who read my blog on a regular basis you are aware that I am not a vegetarian. I did however grow up with a vegetarian dad. (I have to say pseudo-vegetarian because he does eat fish on occasion). While other families served up roast beef and ham for Sunday dinners we had baked salmon and nut cakes. Vegetarian cuisine has been around for centuries in Meditteranean cooking, but, in my dad's day it consisted of some pretty boring foods...at least in our household. I suppose his diet was limited by his taste buds mostly and his need to have everything REALLY well done. He was not a new food trier then and is not now.
There are some really exciting and flavourful vegetarian dishes I have discovered out there through other blogs and cookbooks. My daughter, "The Thai Queen" turned me on to this cookbook from Rebar Restaurant on Vancouver Island. Rebar has been "serving up the freshest, funkiest, and healthiest food on the West Coast" since 1989. They have been located in Victoria, British Columbia on Bastion Square since their conception.
With the holiday season coming up FAST I'd love to give this cookbook with it's innovative recipes to all my friends... vegetarian and non-vegetarian alike.
This recipe for "Carrot Coconut Cake" comes from their cookbook and is perfect for the holiday season....healthy too with all those carrots..wink...wink...
I have never made anything from this cookbook that doesn't turn out fabulous!!!!
**Carrot Coconut Cake**
1-12 cups (360 ml) grated carrots
3/4 cup (180 mL) crushed pineapple
3/4 cup (180 mL) unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup (180 mL) chopped dates
3/4 cup (180 mL) vegetable oil
3/4 cup (180 mL) brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cups (360 mL) unbleached flour
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans and set aside.
Combine grated carrot, pineapple, coconut, dates and walnuts in a large bowl. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the sugars with the eggs. Stir in the vanilla and whip on high until the volume has tripled. On low, pour the oil in slowly to blend in.
Combine the remaining dry ingredients and gently stir into the egg mixture. Fold in the carrot mixture. Divide the batter among cake pans and smooth the tops. bake 30 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
**Cream Cheese-White Chocolate Icing**
9 oz (270 g) cream cheese (firm block, not spreadable)
1/4 cup (60 mL) unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3 oz (90 g) white chocolate
3 cups icing sugar, sifted
While the cakes cool, prepare the frosting. Beat cream cheese on high until smooth and fluffy. Lightly blend in vanilla and butter. Melt white chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat. Add hot melted chocolate to the cream cheese mixture. Scrape down the sides now and then. Beat on high until all the sugar is well incorporated and the frosting is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Spread bottom layer with one third of the frosting, smoothing it evenly to the edges. Chill 10 minutes. Place the top cake layer on and frost the top and sides as you like. Garnish with toasted coconut, walnuts and/or a decorative piped border. Store refrigerated where it will keep well for up to 4 days/
Hints: Toast walnuts
Add the zest of 1 lemon to the icing for extra zing