Baker Behind Award-Profitable Vegan Carrot Cake Shares Her Recipe After 15 Years With VegNews Readers

In 2007, VegNews introduced to the world that we had discovered the perfect vegan carrot cake. It wasn’t in Los Angeles or New York Metropolis—this humble slab of cake and frosting was developed and bought in a brand new vegan restaurant known as Cafe Indigo in Harmony, NH. This cake has outlived the restaurant, increasing into the dessert circumstances of Complete Meals and different impartial retailers nationwide.

The café and profitable wholesale enterprise have each shuttered to ensure that founder Patti Dann to deal with cookbook writing, however the recipe lives on. We’ve typically questioned how she manages to strike that blissful stability between an indulgently moist crumb and a light-but-sweet cream cheese frosting, and at the moment, she’s sharing the recipe with VegNews. After 15 years, the key is out, and we will’t wait to make this crowd-pleasing cake for birthdays, intimate get-togethers, and vacation celebrations. However first, a little bit of historical past concerning the founding of Cafe Indigo’s iconic vegan carrot cake. 

Cafe Indigo

It began with a vegan marriage ceremony cake

Dann’s discovery of the last word carrot cake started along with her three daughters. The Dann household was used to vegetarian cooking, as every daughter omitted meat on their very own phrases. When one daughter determined to go vegan, the household adopted swimsuit, not less than on the kitchen desk—Dann wasn’t about to develop into a short-order cook dinner. “Mealtimes are essential in our household and it was vital to me to serve meals that everybody can eat. Because of this, I began to work to transform favourite household recipes into vegan dishes in order that once we gathered we might all benefit from the meal collectively,” Dann recollects. 


The Cafe Indigo carrot cake was simply a kind of long-standing household recipes. In 2005, her vegan daughter struggled to search out the proper plant-based cake for her marriage ceremony, so Dann took on the problem. Leaning into her son-in-law’s favourite taste, she went about making a vegan model of the household carrot cake, and it was successful. Quickly, household and associates inspired her to promote it. Bolstered by the constructive suggestions, Dann pitched it to the city’s native co-op, and she or he secured her first wholesale buyer. 

From a house kitchen to Complete Meals

At first, Dann labored from her residence kitchen beneath a cottage meals license, however the enterprise shortly outpaced her oven capability. She moved to a business kitchen area the place she crafted not solely the carrot cake, but additionally new menu objects that may later make up Cafe Indigo’s restaurant and bakery choices. When she opened her storefront in 2007, she delighted prospects with each candy and savory choices from a housemade Rachel Sandwich filled with scratch-made seitan to vegan crab muffins and veggie burgers. Together with the carrot cake, cream-filled chocolate cupcakes, whoopie pies, muffins, and chocolate chip cookie bars lined the bakery counter. A couple of of these things—the lemon poppy cake and chocolate cake—have been additionally out there at Complete Meals and different retailers. 


The café delighted prospects for seven years, after which Dann determined to focus her efforts on each wholesale cake distribution and cookbook writing. Whereas the brick-and-mortar was closed, she nonetheless discovered pleasure in creating new recipes for her books. 

“The kitchen is my comfortable place,” says Dann. “I really like cooking for household and associates. I really like experimenting and creating new recipes that everybody can get pleasure from. Nothing brings me larger pleasure than serving a meal that makes individuals smile.”

A style of Cafe Indigo

According to her sturdy connection to her kids and household, Dann’s first cookbook spoke to a toddler viewers. Vegan Youngsters within the Kitchen helped dad and mom and children discover the enjoyable in whipping up nourishing plant-based delicacies the entire household might get pleasure from. The content material was impressed by her vegan grandchildren and the treasured recipes she created for them. 


In 2019, Dann launched Easy Vegan Consolation Meals after receiving continued requests for the recipes of the shuttered Cafe Indigo. The guide contains the aforementioned Rachel Sandwich (together with a gluten-free seitan recipe), in addition to the recipes for these beloved cream-filled chocolate cupcakes, whoopie pies, ginger crinkle cookies, candy potato brownies, and extra tantalizing treats. 

Up subsequent, Dann plans to share extra of Cafe Indigo’s much-loved recipes in a 3rd guide impressed by her backyard and seasonal delicacies. For Dann, cooking isn’t about hacks or minimalism—it’s about utilizing nourishing substances and taking the time to benefit from the course of to create one thing “made with love.”

Dann is passing the torch to homebakers around the globe. She has shared her beloved carrot cake recipe with us all, and we’re honored to obtain such a candy present. Completely satisfied baking!


Café Indigo’s Well-known Vegan Carrot Cake

What you want:

For the cake:
3 cups flour
2¼ cups sugar
¾ cup shredded coconut
1 tablespoon baking soda
1½ teaspoon cinnamon 
1½ teaspoons salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
¾ cup applesauce
¾ cup crushed pineapple, juice included
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups grated carrots (about 5 giant carrots)

For the buttercream frosting:
1 (8-ounce) container vegan cream cheese 
8 tablespoons vegan butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

What you do:
1. For the cake, preheat oven to 350 levels. Line 2 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and put aside.
2. Into a big mixing bowl, add flour, sugar, coconut, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, and mix. Add canola oil, applesauce, pineapple, and vanilla and blend effectively. Add carrots and blend effectively till included.
3. Into ready cake pans, evenly divide batter and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, till a butter knife inserted comes out clear. Take away from oven and let cool.
4. For the buttercream frosting, into a big bowl, add cream cheese and butter and beat with a hand mixer till mixed. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time and slowly combine till totally included. Add vanilla and beat till clean.
5. Place one cake on a serving plate and unfold 1/3 of batter over prime evenly. Place second cake on prime and frost prime and sides with remaining frosting. 

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