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Recipe: Carrot + Pistachio Cake

There's a little more to this cake than carrot and pistachio, if truth be told.

Adapted from Sabrina Ghayour's Persian carrot cake recipe, this version has been adjusted for vegans and has less sugar than usual. It features a cocktail of ingredients and flavours including orange, rosewater, spices and coconut, making it an exciting and exotic take on the carrot cake. And it's gluten free.

It may seem like too overwhelming a flavour profile, but throw all these ingredients into a bowl together and they work. I added a bit of orange juice, which gives the cake a moistness and a light, citrusy sweetness. The pistachios, which pair well with almond and vanilla, lend texture and crunch, while the addition of carrots makes this feel like a healthier dessert.

Whip up some coconut cream with a bit of rosewater for the topping and you're ready to go. Perfect after dinner but I have to say I rather enjoy this as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea. It tastes like summer.



  • 3 tbsp ground flaxseed or psyllium husk, mixed with 9 tbsp water

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar ( if you like it sweeter add more)

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 200g almond meal (ground almonds)

  • 100g shredded coconut

  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1 tsp ground cardamom

  • 120g unsalted vegan butter, melted ( I prefer Miyoko's Creamery)

  • 2 medium carrots, grated

  • 100g crushed unsalted pistachios

  • Juice of 1 large orange

For Coconut Rosewater Cream (optional)

  • 1 large can of coconut cream

  • 3 tbsp rosewater

  • 1 tsp brown sugar

  • a small handful of chopped pistachios or dried rose petals for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 160ºC. Line a 20cm springform cake tin with parchment, covering side and base.

  2. Mix the ground flaxseed, sugar and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Add the almond meal, coconut, sugar and spices, and gently stir in melted butter. Mix thoroughly until no lumps remain.

  3. Add grated carrots, chopped pistachios and orange juice, and mix in until blended evenly.

  4. Pour batter into the lined cake tin for about 50 minutes, or until cake feels firm on top.

  5. Once baked, allow the cake to cool in tin. It's easier to remove without crumbling once it's cool.

  6. (Optional) Make the rosewater cream by adding coconut cream, rosewater and sugar into a bowl. Using an electric mixer (or an egg beater, but it's more work), whip the ingredients together until the mixture is thick.

  7. Once the cake has cooled, serve with a generous dollop of coconut cream, and a sprinkling of dried rose petals.


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