When we hauled ourselves across the country I left my years-old kombucha scoby in a jar at my mom’s house, planning to take it back with me the next time I was home. The scoby had other plans, however, and the jar ended up exploding all over my long-suffering mom’s fridge within a couple short weeks. Goodbye, scoby-buddy. And also hello to my new scoby-buddy, the first I’ve grown from a bottle of kombucha rather than from a friend’s scoby. It has taken a couple weeks of patience, but now my fridge is once again stocked with home-brewed kombucha, and I felt like experimenting with latest project by whipping up some kombucha frosting.
This frosting doesn’t try too hard to taste just like cream cheese frosting, but it hits all the right notes in this layer cake – tangy but sweet, complex, and creamy as all-get-out. If you can’t get your hands on some cocoa butter, or don’t care for the white chocolate taste, you can sub in extra coconut oil or vegan margarine, just note that if you go full-on-coconut you’ll need to keep the cake in the fridge (you can read a bit more about coconut oil buttercream here).
The cake itself is simple and incredibly satisfying. Cardamom is added to the batter to give it a bit of spiciness, and the baked cake is moist, tender, and perfectly carrot-full. If you’ve got a food processor with a shredding disk, it’s worth the set-up to save your arm the pain of grating a full pound of carrots. I brought this cake to dinner with my grandfather-in-law, and even he couldn’t tease me too much about vegan desserts, although that’s his usual MO. Victory, thy name is Carrot Cake.
- 1 lb carrots, grated
- 1/2 cup ground flax seed + 3/4 cup warm water
- 2 1/2 cups flour (all purpose, light spelt, of gf all purpose like Bob's Red Mill)
- 1 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, sucanat, or coconut sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup melted coconut oil
- 3/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup cocoa butter (see note)
- 10 tbsp (approx) plain kombucha
- 3-4 cups organic powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line three 6" cake pans (see note).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together flax and warm water and set aside to thicken.
- In a separate large bowl, mix together flour, spices, salt, soda, and baking powder.
- Add both sugars, applesauce, and vanilla to the flax mixture and stir to combine. With mixer running, stream in melted coconut oil until emulsified. Add dry ingredients and mix to barely combine, then stir in grated carrots.
- Divide the dough evenly between the prepared pans and bake for around 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cool fully before frosting.
- Prep the 'butter' by heating the coconut oil and cocoa butter over a double boiler until fully melted together, then cool to solid (I find it easiest to pour the mixture into an ice cube tray so they pop out easily in small pieces. This step can also be done the night before).
- Soften the butter either at room temperature or in 10 second increments in the microwave, just until it is soft enough to hold a fingerprint when you press it.
- In an electric mixer, cream the butter until it is fluffy and no hard bits remain. Scrape the edges of the bowl. Add in 2 tbsps of kombucha and 1 cup of powdered sugar and stir until fully combined. Continue adding in sugar and kombucha until it reaches a buttercream-like consistency (or to your liking), remembering to the scrape the sides of the bowl after each addition. Keep the frosting at room temperature before using. Decorate as usual/desired.
- I used my trusted 6" cake pans because they're my favourite, but each layer was quite tall. If you like a wider cake, you can use 8 or 9" pans, but adjust the cooking time accordingly. This recipe also makes killer cupcakes.
- If you don't have cocoa butter, or don't like the taste of white chocolate, you can sub in more coconut oil (but note that it will be more prone to melting), or replace the coconut oil and cocoa butter with 1 cup of Earth Balance or other vegan margarine.