This recipe was born during the summer of 2007 when I was working as a WWOOFer on a small and beautiful organic farm in Humboldt county. I was living in a tent in the peach orchard those days, falling asleep to the sound of plump fruits tumbling to the ground and the faint sound of the Trinity River rolling in the background. whenever I whisk this cake together, I remember that magical summer and how deeply nourishing it was to be working intimately with the land from sun-up to sun-down in a remote and beautiful part of California … and I remember that being in that relationship with the earth is when I feel most alive and most integrated.
2 ⅓ C whole wheat pasty flour (or a good gluten free flour blend)
1 C unsweetened coconut flakes
1 C walnuts, chopped
¾ C crystallized ginger, chopped
3 ½ t cinnamon
2 ½ t baking powder
1 t salt
½ t baking soda
1.5 C raw cane sugar
1 C canola oil (or melted coconut oil, mmm!)
2 t vanilla
2 C grated carrots
1 - 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained (or 1/8 cup orange juice)
1 - 8 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained (or 1/8 cup orange juice)
½ C raisins (or inca berries!)
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
2 - 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
½ C butter, melted
2 C powdered sugar
½ C maple syrup
½ t vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter two 9” cake pans.
In a food processor, process ⅓ cup flour with the coconut, walnuts and ginger. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside. In a large bowl, blend together the sugar and the oil. Add the eggs to the sugar mixture one by one, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix well (if using your hand and not an electric mixer, make sure to just whisk it all up really well for a minute or so, thus incorporating air and lending to a fluffier cake!). Next, add in the flour and spice mixture and blend it all up until all the flour is moistened. Next, add in the coconut mixture and mix it all together well. Stir in the pineapple, raisins and mandarin oranges. I’d say mix again, but you get the point. Just make sure it’s well mixed!
Pour the batter equally into the prepared pans and bake about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in their centers comes out clean. To make the frosting, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter and cream cheese. Sift in the powdered sugar and add the maple syrup and vanilla. Mix well. The longer your mix, the fluffier the frosting will be. If you desire, add more powdered sugar.
Since I baked my cake in two 9” cake pans, I layered the cake with a thin coating of frosting in-between the two layers. I frosted only the top of the top layer of the cake and decorated it with walnuts and piped carrots (which I made from extra frosting mixed with a bit of strawberry jam and turmeric to get the orange color). I then took tiny mint leaves and used those as the carrot tops, but be creative! There is a lot of other greenery in the garden or on the farm that will do.