Carrot cake flapjack

Carrot cake has to be my favourite cake ever because it’s only subtly sweet which makes it great as snack, dessert or with coffee without loading you down. Flapjack is likewise so versatile, as it can be paired with a large number of flavour combinations, is a great workout or on-the-go snack with plenty of energy and protein (excellent host for protein powder or nuts and seeds).

The best bit about baking flapjacks is that you can’t go wrong. Leave them in the oven a bit longer, they’ll be more rigid and crunchy. A little less time and you’ll get soft and chewy, but depending on your preference and the oven you’re using, you’ll figure out what works for you soon enough. Oats, fats and sugars is what makes a traditional British flapjack, the recipe for which dates as far back to the 19th century, and as such is meant to be a cheap and cheerful cake that’s easy to make with readily available ingredients. In ode to the original spirit of the recipe, and indeed sustainability use what’s close to you, and let me know what works in your area.

That all said, this specific flapjack base credit goes to So Vegan’s recipe – I’ve just changed some ingredients and ratios- but that’s what flapjacks are all about.

Calories 380

Protein 5g

Fat 23g

Carbs 43g

Total time 45 mins

Ingredients

Ingredients for 12 (coffee shop size) slices of approx 100g each.

  • Base
    • 200g oats (mix 50:50 rolled and jumbo)
    • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon powder
    • 200g mixed dried fruit, nuts and seeds
    • 200g to 250g carrots (washed or peeled)
    • 180g coconut oil
    • 9 tbsp sweetening syrup (3 maple + 6 golden or high fructose corn syrup)
    • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 tbsp water
  • Yogurt topping
    • 100g vegan white choco
    • 200g vegan yogurt (such as soy, coconut or oat)

Method

  1. Place the oats, spices, mixed fruits, nuts and seeds in a big bowl, then grate in the carrots. Stir to combine.
  2. Take a small saucepan over low heat and add coconut oil, syrups, vanilla, and 2 tbsp of water. Once melted (heat more if needed), pour over the dry mixture and stir to fully incorporate.
  3. Heat oven to 180°C (350°F) for fan-assisted and slightly higher without fan. Grease the base and sides of an 8” square tin, and transfer the mix into it, flattening with a spatula. Bake for 20 mins (more time gets a firmer bake).
  4. Leave flapjack to fully cool before applying topping or cutting (to prevent crumbling).
  5. Melt the chocolate using preferred method (see below for how), and fully mix in the yogurt.
  6. Pour the yogurt mix on top of cooled flapjack and place in fridge to set.
  7. Finally, cut into 12 bars, and store in an air-tight container for up to 5 days (or freeze). Best served at room temperature.

Additional info and alternatives

I used to buy topped flapjacks all the time from the corner shop on my way to Uni, the gym, or just to stock up for my next adventure. Having a topping makes them more of a luxurious snack, and it’s an easy place to load up extra flavour. Yogurt is my got to for hot weather as it’s not so sickly and in this recipe ratio it’s refreshing. If you want to take these on the go, be sure to increase the chocolate to yogurt ratio so they remain firm when bouncing around a lunch box. The topping recipe is inspired from Lula May at her blog three kids and counting the pennies. My next topping will to be with (vegan) cream cheese icing to further replicate the carrot cake.

Using a mixture of oat sizes improves the texture, while maintaining good adhesion (not crumbling). I used walnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds with a few almonds, and cheap mix of currants for my mix, but use whatever you have to build that crunchy texture. I associate walnuts with café cakes, which is why I wanted it in there.

It’s the carrots and festive spaces that make this flapjack different, but for other flapjacks just take them out. Experiment with different festive spice, such as cardamom, ginger or mixed spice for a warming flavour. For ref – after peeling, my carrots weighed just under 200g.

Coconut oil is a substitute for butter and helps these set firm while keeping that “melt-in-mouth” quality. You could try vegan “butter”, spreads or margarines (look for around 70%-80% fat content, lower fat content can be used, but add additional syrup to maintain good binding).

Syrup is largely dependant on location, but here in the UK we use golden syrup which is largely translatable to high fructose corn syrup in America. Remember flapjacks are cheap and cheerful, with the texture being the overpowering sensory experience, with a sweet “buttery” taste, but don’t go out of your way to find unique flavoured expensive syrups for this recipe- they are best used elsewhere. I’ve used a hint of maple syrup to complement the spices, but it could easily go without it.

For a great easy-to-read comprehensive article on different flapjack constituents and variations take a look at The Gardians’ breakdown on the subject.

Melting chocolate*

Gather a heatproof bowl, a small saucepan, a stirring implement, and a cloth to hold the bowl when stirring. Heat the water to simmering, then drop it down a notch to calm water (or off completely). Place the bowl into** the water taking care that none drips inside it.

Break the bar into small uniform pieces, and put in the bowl to melt. Stir occasionally until all the chunks are melted (a metal spoon will get very hot, so don’t leave it in the bowl after each stir.

*Quick Method: Place bowl in microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring each time. The risk is it can be easy to burn chocolate. See allrecipes list of 3 different methods.

**This way is more forgiving to the “heatproof-ness” of your bowl, i.e. I use any old bowl without risk of cracking because the heat is not so intense underneath, nor is it concentrated at the rim of the metal pan (if you were to use a bigger bowl that sits on the pan). Steaming methods where the bowl is touching the pan, not the water – strictly require a heatproof bowl.

Shopping list

These carrot cake flapjack slices work out at 55p per slice, which does surprise me considering flapjacks are the king of cheap easy bakes, but I put that down to 4 things; coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and the topping (vegan choc and yogurt). I will be trying this bake again with different ingredients, and will add an updated section accordingly. See below the table for some shopping list advice.

IngredientRecipe QtyRecipe CostUnit QtyUnit Cost
Oats rolled100g£0.111kg£1.05
Oats jumbo100g£0.221kg£2.18
Nutmeg3g£0.0642g£0.84
Cinnamon9g£0.1634g£0.59
Mixed currants70g£0.15500g£1.06
Mixed nuts**65g£0.65200g£1.99
Mixed seeds65g£0.39150g£0.90
Carrots200g£0.101kg£0.52
Coconut oil*180ml£0.90500ml£2.50
Maple syrup*42ml£0.63180ml£2.68
Golden syrup85g£0.22454g£1.15
Vanilla extract*8ml£0.9260ml£6.93
Vegan chocolate*100g£1.40100g£1.40
Soya yogurt200g£0.64500g£1.60
Total CostRecipe£6.55Shop£25.39
Costs at time of writing (from Asda Jul 2020)

The first things i’ll be trying next and I suggest you can swap out depending on preference , are margarine instead of coconut oil, no maple syrup, no vanilla extract and swap vegan white choc for dark choc which can be bought much cheaper if you don’t mind a darker coloured topping. I will also change the yogurt to choc ratio to 50:50 to make these slices more lunchbox friendly. Final note is on the mixed nuts, which predominantly contribute to texture, so I will experiment with cheaper nuts (i.e. one type, rather than mixed).

Nutritional info

This nutritional breakdown is approximate, based on the ingredients used for the bake pictured. Nutritional content will vary depending on which brand of ingredients used. This recipe makes 12 slices of about 100g each and 380 calories. I like a these as cafe sizes, but of course divide them up as you see fit.

Where the nutritional breakdown lists less than 5 percent daily value for a nutrient it is considered low, while 20 percent or more is high.

Related articles

As previously mentioned

  • The Gardians’ breakdown on flapjack ingredients is really useful for knowing what adds what to the recipe, especially if you’ve never made them before.
  • This flapjack recipe is based off So Vegan’s recipe on the same.
  • Links coming soon: See full lists of vegan, desserts, or snack recipes.

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