Double Layer Carrot Cake with Faux Cream Cheese Frosting
1 1/2 cups pure maple syrup
3/4 cup canola oil
2/3 cup apple juice
3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups grated peeled carrots (from approximately 12 ounces)
1 cup currants
1 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
1 1/2 (12.3-ounce) containers vacuum-packed extra-firm silken tofu (such as Mori Nu)
1/2 (14-ounce) container extra-firm water-packed tofu, drained
1 1/4 cups brown rice syrup
4 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup agar agar flakes
1 1/4 cups walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
To make the cakes: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly oil two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper. Lightly oil the paper. Using an electric mixer, beat the maple syrup, oil, and apple juice in a large bowl until blended. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and salt into the maple syrup mixture, and stir to blend. Stir in the carrots, currants, and walnuts.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean and the cakes begin to pull away from sides of pans. Cool in the pans on racks for 20 minutes. Turn out the cakes onto the racks and cool completely.
To make the frosting: Blend the silken tofu, water-packed tofu, rice syrup, lemon peel, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt in a food processor until very smooth and creamy. Combine the juice and agar in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the agar dissolves. With the machine running, immediately blend in the hot agar mixture. Transfer the frosting to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours, or until the frosting is set.
Return the frosting to the food processor and blend until it is smooth and creamy. Place 1 cake layer on a platter. Spread with 1 1/2 cups of frosting. Top with the second cake layer. Using an icing spatula, spread half of the remaining frosting over the sides and top of the cake. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or until the frosting is set. Spread the remaining frosting over the sides and top of the cake. Press the walnuts around the sides of the cake.
The cake will keep for 2 days. Cover it with a cake dome and refrigerate. Serve the cake cold.