Dining & Wine

Eat Your Veggies: Plant Magic By Desiree Neilsen (Win!)

April 18, 2024

Vancouveer-based Desiree Neilsen’s new cookbook, Plant Magic, is the registered dietician’s third cookbook; she’s also the best-selling author of Good for Your Gut and Eat More Plants. Plant Magic focuses on plant-based cooking with 100 deeply flavourful and approachable recipes for everyone who wants to eat more plants and feel good. Whether you’re craving morning things, stuff on bread, one pot (or pan) dishes, salads, tasty noodles, really good sweets or everyday tonics and potions, Plant Magic makes cooking and eating joyful. —Vita Daily

Carrot Cake with Cashew Frosting

Before there was tiramisu, carrot cake occupied the top spot in my dessert hall of fame. And of course, I have opinions about it. The cake should be moist, with a very tender crumb, and packed with carrots. I don’t love nuts and raisins, but I can respect them, so you’ve got the option to add them here. And always cream cheese icing. Since the flavour of store-bought vegan cream cheese varies widely, I have created a cream cheese–inspired cashew frosting. Makes one 2-layer round cake. Gluten-Free Vegan.

Cashew Frosting
1 cup (250 mL) cashews, soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes and drained
½ cup (125 mL) canned full-fat coconut milk
3 tablespoons (45 mL) pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons (30 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons (30 mL) coconut oil
1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon (0.5 mL) salt

Carrot Cake
1½ cups (375 mL) almond flour 1½ cups (375 mL) gluten-free
flour blend
2 teaspoons (10 mL) baking powder
2 teaspoons (10 mL) cinnamon
1 teaspoon (5 mL) baking soda
½ teaspoon (2 mL) salt

  1. Make the cashew frosting: In a high-speed blender, com- bine the drained cashews, coconut milk, maple syrup, lemon juice, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt. Blend on low speed, then slowly increase to medium-high until smooth, 1 minute. Scrape the frosting into an airtight container and transfer to the fridge to firm up for at least 1 hour before using. The frosting can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  2. Meanwhile, make the carrot cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease two 8-inch (1.2 L) round cake pans with butter or coconut oil and line with rounds of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pans for easier removal.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the almond flour, gluten- free flour blend, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

Excerpted from Plant Magic by Desiree Nielsen. Copyright © 2024 Desiree Nielsen. Photography and illustrations by Gabriel Cabrera.Published by Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Win! A Signed Copy Of Plant Magic By Desiree Neilsen

Congrats Esther H. of Vancouver, BC, who will receive a signed copy of Plant Magic By Desiree Neilsen! Please note: if you are the winner, you will receive a DM (direct message) in Instagram directly from @vitadailymedia. Please be wary of fake accounts, which often use similar handles with an extra or missing letter, number or symbol. We will never ask for a payment or for your credit card number, and we will never ask you to click through a link. If you are unsure whether you have been contacted, via Instagram, by us or a fake account, email us before responding.


  1. Lani McLeod

    April 19th, 2024 at 3:09 pm

    I am definitely trying this carrot cake recipe! I love a good plant based dessert!

  2. Monique L.S.

    April 20th, 2024 at 12:42 pm

    Eggplant parmesan is a fave. IG @minty_mo2020

  3. Marilyn

    April 21st, 2024 at 10:17 pm

    A Lenabese lentil and rice with caramelized onions is delicious @marilyn.kaluza

  4. Xu Li

    April 24th, 2024 at 9:49 pm

    Tofu soup! @xuliang889

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