Chef George Vutetakis’s Beloved Carrot Cake (Photo courtesy Chef George Vutekakis)

Chef George Vutetakis’s Beloved Carrot Cake

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BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. — Chef and author George Vutetakis learned “the language of food” as a young boy in his Greek grandmother’s kitchen. It was there that he was first exposed to the value of cultural traditions in cooking. His discoveries later continued with his travels to India, where he learned traditional food preparation methods. Whether he’s discussing vegetarian cultures and traditions (he studied in India as a teenager), the benefits of green papaya (it’s a good source for papain, a natural digestive enzyme), or countertops (the more, the better), for Vutetakis the bottom line is quality.

Vutetakis is an award-winning vegan chef/restaurateur who has been an integral part of the plant-based food revolution since the early 1980s. His business acumen and entrepreneurial approach have brought success to many projects. In addition to his consulting company site, http://vegtraditions.com/, he shares his vast food knowledge and delicious vegan recipes on his popular blog and his cookbook, Vegetarian Traditions: Favorite Recipes From My Years at the Legendary Inn Season Cafe.

He is a leader in plant-based food manufacturing and regenerative soil-to-shelf applications. He has broad experience with scaled consumer packaged goods (CPG) ecosystems and vertically integrated agriculture-to-consumer product design, as well as multi-process food design for thermal, cold-chain and food service applications.

Using time-honored techniques as his guide, he weaves the Mediterranean and Indian flavors of his youth into many of his extraordinary plant-based dishes. His reputation as a leader in the creation of delicious, healthy, and innovative vegetarian cuisine using fresh, unadulterated ingredients flourished as chef and owner at the award-winning Inn Season Cafe in Royal Oak, Michigan. After nearly two decades, he sold the restaurant and began writing and teaching.

At the time, Vutetakis delved into the restoration and renovation of historic homes, taught Food is Medicine programs with cardiologist Dr. Michael Dangovian, and launched his website/blog featuring stories and incredible vegan recipes. In 2011, Jack Aronson of Garden Fresh Gourmet, the largest fresh salsa company in the world, hired him as director of research and development. This led to plant-based product development and design across the packaged-food industry.

As an industry consultant under CJB and Associates, and co-founder of Chef-to-Shelf, and Vegano Foods, he has worked as a cross-platform consultant specializing in clean label, organic, and plant-based products. For information, go to:  http://vegtraditions.com/chef-george

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“We must remember that one hundred years ago, all food was organic,” he says while discussing his preference for shopping at local farmers’ markets. “Quality ingredients are always the secret to great food.” Information about Vutetakis and his wife Sara’s projects and the latest release of Vegetarian Traditions: Favorite Recipes From My Years at the Legendary Inn Season Café is available at:  http://thevegguy.com/

Chef George Vutetakis (Photographs courtesy Roy Ritchie)

Beloved Carrot Cake

“Although my cookbook contains 150 of my favorite recipes during my tenure at Inn Season Cafe, this much-loved Carrot Cake is not one of them. This was the most popular dessert for many decades, and is the most requested recipe on my blog. It is a decadent, moist cake with a healthy density that works well as a sheet cake, round-layered cake, or even a wedding cake.” He adds, “Vegan frostings have evolved as better and better vegan ingredients are available. This frosting recipe uses vegan cream cheese. My preferences are Miyoko’s Cream Cheese, for a tangy cream cheese frosting, or  Violife Original Cream Cheese for a mellower version.”

Dry ingredients:

1 1/3 cups organic all-purpose flour

1 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/8 teaspoon salt

 

Wet ingredients:

6 tablespoons flax seed meal

3/4 cup warm water

1 1/2 cups coconut sugar

1 cup vegan butter

1 cup plant-based milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups organic carrots, peeled and shredded

1/2 cup raisins

1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

 

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350º F. Line two nine-inch spring form or cake pans with parchment paper. Or lightly oil the sides of a parchment-lined half-sheet baking pan.

Put all dry ingredients into a large bowl and whisk together. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together flaxseed meal and water. Beat in coconut sugar and plant butter. Add plant milk, vanilla, and carrots, and mix until combined. Add dry mix and to wet mix, stir vigorously for one minute to develop the gluten in the flour (do not overbeat). Fold in raisins and walnuts. Pour equal amounts into each baking pan.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean out of the center of the cake. Remove from oven. Separate cake from pan by running a knife around the outside edge then turn over onto cake rack. Remove parchment and cool completely.

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. vegan cream cheese

1/4 cup plant butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted

1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese and plant butter. Add vanilla and powdered sugar, and whip until smooth. Apply frosting to the top of the first cake layer. Place the second layer onto the first, and then frost. Garnish with chopped walnuts. Serve cold or room temperature.

For this recipe, go to:

https://onlyplantbasedfoods.com/recipes/vegan-sour-cream-carrot-cake

For Chef’s Vegan Recipe Index, go to:

https://thevegetarianguy.com/recipe-index/

ORDER TODAY: Vegetarian Traditions: Favorite Recipes From My Years at the Legendary Inn Season Cafe Paperback, June 2, 2022, $39.95: at: https://www.amazon.com/Vegetarian-Traditions-Favorite-Recipes-Legendary/dp/0983110727/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1656927671&sr=1-3

Kindle version: Vegetarian Traditions: Favorite Recipes From My Years at the Legendary Inn Season Cafe, 100% Vegan, March 2, 2022, $9.99 at:

https://www.amazon.com/Vegetarian-Traditions-Favorite-Legendary-2022-100-ebook/dp/B09TV21L22/ref=sr_1_3?crid=2UONSVSEI142W&keywords=vegetarian+traditions&qid=1656927671&s=books&sprefix=vegetarian+traditions%2Cstripbooks%2C140&sr=1-3

Vutetakis unveils recipes for 150 wildly popular vegan dishes from his trailblazing years at the award-winning Inn Season Cafe in Royal Oak, Michigan. In Vegetarian Traditions: Favorite Recipes From My Years At The Legendary Inn Season Cafe, the innovative vegan recipes focus on quality ingredients, freshness, and seasonality. Each recipe has a story, with  tidbits of food lore from around the world. Entrees, soups, desserts, and salads all have exciting flavors, textures, and presentations in an easy-to-follow format with beautifully photographed color pictures:

References:

http://thevegguy.com/

https://thevegetarianguy.com/

http://vegtraditions.com/

http://vegtraditions.com/chef-george

https://twitter.com/thevegguy

https://www.facebook.com/thevegguy/

https://detroitdesignmag.com/featured-homes/chefs-choice/

https://onlyplantbasedfoods.com/recipes

Watch Elizabeth’s Kind Cafe Interview with Vegetarian Traditions author George Vutekakis at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUJizeyCbVI

For his outstanding Sour Cream Kofte recipe, go to: https://thevegetarianguy.com/in-the-kitchen/
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