Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy birthday!

To Mr Bite!

For the second time in his lifetime, Mr Bite's birthday fell on Easter Sunday. With our return from holiday the  day before, we have scheduled his main family birthday celebrations for next weekend, allowing yesterday to be a birthday-focused but quite relaxing day.

We briefly visited both of our families, went for a leisurely walk on a shady stretch of Perth's Swan River, ate birthday carrot cake (a prelude to the 'real' birthday cake of next weekend, which will involve plenty of chocolate...), and had Grill'd burgers for dinner.

Swan River, North Fremantle

Uniced carrot cake, slightly sunk because I checked it 10 minutes before it was cooked...

...fortunately quite easy to cover up.

Grill'd 'Field of Dreams' vegetarian mushroom burger - still my favourite

I made the carrot cake yesterday, with the recipe adapted from Kris Holecheck's The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes. This has become my 'go to' baking book when I need something quickly and, as a bonus, all I needed to buy yesterday were fresh carrots and soy cream cheese. The other ingredients are things I always have on hand, something I find extremely helpful for cake recipes.

This cake also highlights how 'vegan' doesn't have to be obvious or detectable. It tasted like soft, moist carrot cake. I don't even know if Mr Bite knew it was vegan. The fact that it is easy and can be made and baked in well under an hour - even with the carrot grating - is a bonus.

Carrot cake with cream cheese icing
Adapted from The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes (Kris Holechek)
Makes 1 square cake


For the carrot cake
2 1/2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 - 1 tsp cinnamon (I used 1/2 tsp)
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
1 cup apple sauce
1/3 cup non-dairy milk, or milk of choice (I used soy)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3 large carrots, grated
1/3 cup sultanas (small raisins)

For the icing
125g soy cream cheese
1 tbsp non-dairy spread, margarine or butter
1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla


Preheat the oven to 180'C and prepare a square baking tin.

Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, mixed spice, cinnamon, ginger, salt) in a small bowl.

Combine the brown sugar, white sugar and oil in a large bowl. Add the apple sauce, milk, vanilla and carrots and mix well. Add in the dry ingredients gradually, stirring to combine. Add the sultanas and stir through.

Bake for 30 minutes until golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 - 20 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

To make the icing, beat the cream cheese, non-dairy spread, icing sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Optionally top with Lindt Easter carrot chocolates.

I can see myself making this again when wanting an easy carrot cake. You could also, of course, include nuts (the original recipe called for walnuts) but Mr Bite isn't a fan and so I left them out.

Having Mr Bite's birthday fall yesterday allowed me to almost skip over Easter this year, something that didn't bother me in the slightest. My excitement at his birthday was definitely greater than any excitement I experience for Easter, and I am looking forward to continuing to celebrate over the week. It's one of the oddities of age that whilst one's own birthday gets less exciting with time, the anticipation and happiness I feel when celebrating others' birthdays (particularly the others who are more important to me than words can really express) continues to increase.

Despite this, we did end up with quite a lot of Easter chocolate, including some Guylian and Lindt small Easter eggs, and some non-Easter chilli chocolate that I am looking forward to reviewing another time.

In the mean time - Happy Easter / Passover to those who do celebrate it, and happy long weekend to everyone else here in Australia!

Do you have a 'go to' carrot cake recipe? It's one of my favourite cakes and yet all the versions I usually make are hybrids that involve pineapple, thus making them not quite carrot cake at all!


  1. Aw, happy birthday Mr Bite!! I've never made carrot cake of any description... but this does sound lovely :)

    1. Thank you on his behalf :)

      Truly you have never made carrot cake? I suppose you aren't a cake person really, but for some reason I'm still surprised. Maybe it was just a common cake in my family!

    2. Yes, see, I grew up with poppyseed loaf cake being normal :P Also not really, my disinterest in cake is probably related to my family not being cake people, on account of the dairy and wheat allergies!

  2. happy birthday to mr bite - I love stretching them out over some time - must more fun than just a day! I have a carrot cake I love on my blog with cranberries and walnuts but I also have so many others I want to try - I love pineapple in carrot cakes and have seen a few flourless ones with almonds so I don't feel my version is definitive. I like your little carrot decorations. We mainly give chocolate eggs to the kids in my family now and I still feel a bit conflicted about giving kids chocolate but need energy to think about alternatives.

    1. Birthdays are definitely best when stretched!

      I looked up your cake - it looks like just my sort of thing. Cranberries seem to go well in most things, although I'd never thought of adding them to carrot cake. I too love pineapple though and think pineapple plus cranberries would be perfect.

      It is hard to know what to do about chocolate giving for children. Fortunately I didn't have any to give chocolate to this year so I was saved the thinking!

  3. My mom gave me one of those Lindt carrot chocolates today. I thought the umbrella type handle was a little strange.. what is the point of that? To attach it to something?

    I also love carrot cake but don't make it as often. Nobody else seems to love it as much as me!

    1. Haha - I know! Helpful as a handle when eating I suppose, but I don't know why they have to be curved. Perhaps there's some hanging system for them neither of us have discovered? :-)

  4. Happy birthday to Mr Bite. And that carrot cake looks very delicious. I haven't made one with apple sauce in it before. I love how you've decorated the cake and the finishing touch is the Lindt carrot sticks - how cute! xx

    1. Thank you! And I'd never made one with apple sauce either - I found it unusual as I associate apple sauce with baking that doesn't add fat, but this had oil and apple sauce (and was beautifully moist, perhaps as a result!).

  5. Happy Birthday to Mr Bite! I don't have a go-to carrot cake but I do like the sound of this one. And those Lindt carrots are so cute, even if the handles are a bit strange they have made a perfect cake decoration.

    1. They did :) Very helpful decorations indeed. And thank you!

  6. hehe great minds think alike (re the carrot cake!!)

    and happy bday to Mr Bite!!!

    1. I know - I smiled when I saw your cupcakes :) Even with this cake in the fridge, though, I still want to make them!

  7. Happy Birthday Mr Bite! I hope he has a lovely birthday week.
    Mr C had a birthday on the weekend too, a chocolate cake... clearly :-)

    1. Clearly indeed :-) There will be lots of chocolate happening in our house this Friday, that is for sure!

  8. Andy *demands* pineapple in his carrot cake, along with coconut. Nuts & raisins are optional. I have a recipe I scribbled off the internet years ago, which has been adopted in various ways since. Heavily spiced, so moist, and it includes the obligatory pineapple and coconut.

    Happy birthday to Mr Bite! Enjoy your celebrations!

    1. Your carrot cake sounds like my favourite type of carrot cake! The pineapple and coconut are additions I love too, and whilst I like sultanas, I don't view nuts as essential in this instance.

  9. This cake is far too adorable. Those lint carrots are truly the best, love the way you've used them! Happy birthday to the Mr!
    Heidi xo


I genuinely appreciate all comments and the time taken to post them. Occasionally, I may need to restrict commenting to registered users in order to halt large volumes of spam. If that happens, I will lift the restriction within a week.

Want other ways to interact? Bite-sized thoughts is on Facebook ( and Twitter (