Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Lightly grease three 6 x 2-inch round cake pans and line with a round of parchment paper. Lightly flour pans.
In a small bowl, whisk together water with the ground flax seeds. Set aside. The mixture should become gelatinous; 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, ground cardamom, and salt until well-combined.
In a medium bowl, combine unsweetened applesauce, canned coconut milk, and melted coconut oil. Add the Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, orange zest, and vanilla extract. Mix until thoroughly incorporated.
Mix in the grated carrots, drained pineapple, and the flaxseed mixture.
Transfer the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the ingredients together until just combined. Fold in the toasted coconut.
Evenly divide and transfer the batter into the prepared pans (approximately 435 grams per pan) and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.
Allow cakes to cool in the pan; about 10 minutes. Carefully remove cakes from the pans and place onto a wire cooling rack until completely cooled; 2 to 3 hours.
Reduce oven temperature to 225°F (107°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly grease parchment with melted coconut oil or cooking spray.
Using a vegetable peeler, peel long, wide strips from the carrots.
In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the Redpath® Granulated Sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in the vanilla extract and add the strips of carrots. Simmer for 15 minutes, gently stirring every so often to prevent carrots from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
Remove strips with a slotted spoon or place a sieve over a bowl and strain carrots; reserve simple syrup for a different use. Lay the carrots in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Place into the preheated oven and bake; 20 to 25 minutes. They should begin to look translucent and slightly dry; do not allow to burn.
Remove from oven and let cool for about a minute. While carrot strips are still warm, quickly and carefully twist each strip around a wooden spoon handle holding it in shape for a few seconds (see Chef’s Tips) before sliding it off back onto the baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining strips.
Allow strips to cool completely at room temperature; about 20 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream the vegan butter and softened coconut oil on medium speed until fluffy; about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice, pure vanilla extract, vinegar, and salt. Cream on medium-low speed until somewhat combined.
Sift in 1 cup (120 grams) of the Redpath® Icing Sugar at a time, creaming on low speed until just-mixed. Once all the icing sugar is mixed in, increase speed to medium-high and beat until creamy and fluffy; 3 to 5 minutes.
If necessary, remove the rounded tops of the completely cooled cakes using a sharp serrated knife.
Place one of the completely cooled cakes onto a cake stand or plate. Pipe or spoon a layer of frosting onto the cake. Repeat process with the second layer. Place the last layer, bottom side up onto the frosting.
Spoon or pipe the frosting onto the completely cooled cake. Ice the entire cake or leave semi-naked.
Decorate with shredded or flaked coconut, and top with candied carrot curls, if desired.
*Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature before proceeding with this recipe.
*The canned coconut milk can be replaced with coconut milk beverage or any non-dairy milk (eg. oat, almond, cashew, rice), though there will be less of a coconut flavour.
*Canned or finely chopped fresh pineapple can be used, ensuring the pineapple is well-drained.
*When grating carrots, use the side of a box grater with the larger holes.
*If the reserved pineapple juice from the can does not equal 1 cup (250 ml), add enough water to measure 1 cup.
*If possible, use several wooden spoons for the candied carrot curls. Twist a carrot around one handle, lay seam down (the ends of the carrot strip against the work surface) as you move on to the next carrot strip, allowing the previous carrot strip to cool and hold its shape.
*If carrot curls begin to stick to the handle of the wooden spoon, lightly grease with cooking spray or melted coconut oil.
*If carrot strips harden before you can curl them, put them back into the oven for a few seconds to make them pliable again.
*Store candied carrot curls layered between parchment paper in an airtight container in a cool, dry location for up to 5 days. Do not store in the fridge as they will become sticky.
*The reserved simple syrup can be used to flavour teas, or used in roasting or glazing vegetables. If desired, the syrup can also be brushed onto the cake layers for additional moisture before frosting.
*Purchase the stick or block version of the vegan/plant-based butter for the buttercream. Vegan/plant-based spreads found in tubs are too soft for use in frosting.
*To ensure a smooth frosting consistency, melt the coconut oil to liquify the solid portions that have formed and place into the fridge to solidify. Bring back to room temperature before using.
*If a thicker frosting is desired, add 1 tablespoon (8 grams) of icing sugar at a time until the desired thickness is reached.
*If the buttercream is too soft to pipe, place frosting into the fridge to chill; about 15 to 20 minutes.
*This cake can also be made in two 6x3-inch round cake pans for a 2-layer cake (or 4 layers, if layers are sliced into two). Baking time will increase to approximately 40 minutes.