Easy Vegan Carrot Cake
This easy vegan carrot cake is everything you’d want. It’s moist, super tasty, simple to make, and will undoubtedly be a crowd-pleaser!
This recipe is unique not only because it’s a plant-based carrot cake but also because it’s free of vegan butter, refined sugar, and vegan cream cheese.
Since becoming vegan over six years ago, I don’t believe that I’ve had the opportunity to eat a carrot cake in a cafe. It’s not often that you see it on the menu! Since I’m doing cake month this month, I knew that a vegan carrot cake had to be a part of the line-up.
If you need the treat to impress for afternoon tea, make this cake the day before and take it along. It’ll be devoured, I promise you!
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The cream cheese frosting
The cream cheese frosting in this recipe is free from many of the ingredients that you’d find in a dairy-free creamy frosting. You’ll love it just as much, but like the cake itself, it doesn’t have vegan butter, powdered sugar, and vegan cream cheese.
Instead, what I chose to make for this carrot cake was a buttercream that was just as delicious but healthier. The ingredients in this frosting are:
- Raw cashews
- Coconut cream
- Good-quality maple syrup
- Vanilla extract
- Lemon juice
- Apple cider vinegar
- Coconut oil
The acidity, sweetness, and salty flavours create a beautifully rich cream cheese-like frosting that goes perfectly with this carrot cake. All you have to do is pop all the ingredients into a high-speed blender and whizz away!
Kitchen tools needed to make this vegan carrot cake
- 8inch cake tin
- Baking tray (for toasting walnuts)
- Unbleached parchment paper
- Measuring spoons
- Fine mesh strainer (for sifting dry ingredients)
- Grater or grating function on a food processor
- Large bowl
- Small bowl
- Mixing spoon
- Wire rack (for cooling the cake)
- Silicone spatula or palette knife/offset spatula (for spreading cream cheese frosting)
- Blender (for making the cream cheese)
Tips for making this cake
This carrot cake recipe is easy to put together, but certain things need to be timed right to get it perfect.
- I use both white spelt flour and plain unbleached flour in this recipe. I wanted to add some texture and nutrients to the carrot cake. You can substitute the spelt flour for more plain unbleached flour, specifically 135g of it.
- To save time, grate the carrots in your food processor instead of by hand.
- Have the carrots grated before you start making the cake. This way, you’ll have them ready to toss in when the wet and dry ingredients have been combined.
- It’s best to make this cake at least half a day ahead of time. It will have enough time to cool and for the cream cheese frosting to firm up in the fridge.
- The walnuts don’t need to be toasted before used, it does, however, add a richer, deeper flavour.
- If you don’t have an 8-inch cake tin, you can use a standard 9-inch tin instead. The cake won’t be as tall and baking time will vary.
Topped with crushed walnuts, this carrot cake is perfect for any celebration, or simply just because you feel like cake! If there’s any cake that won’t give you a guilt trip, it’s this one.
This vegan carrot cake recipe is:
- Refined-sugar free
- Perfectly spiced
Other cake recipes you’ll love:
- Baked Vegan Blueberry Cheesecake
- Vegan Lumberjack Cake (Gluten-Free)
- Vegan Banana Cake with a Chocolate Ganache
- Vegan Vanilla Cake with Coconut Cream and Berries
- Vegan Chocolate and Pear Loaf Cake
- Easy Vegan Apple Almond Cake
If you try this recipe, let me know! We’d love for you to leave a comment and rating below. If you want to go that extra mile, tag us on Instagram or share your photo of the recipe on Pinterest.Print
Easy Vegan Carrot Cake
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 8-inch cake – 10 slices
Enjoy this super simple refined sugar-free vegan carrot cake recipe. The cake is dense yet fluffy, and the cream cheese frosting is a beautifully rich and creamy way to finish off the cake.
- 1 flax egg
- 1 cup (heaped) / 100g walnuts, crushed into smaller pieces
- 1 cup / 135g plain flour
- 1 cup / 120g white spelt flour
- 1 cup / 150g coconut sugar
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon bicarb soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon mixed spice
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup / 250ml plant-based milk (I used organic soy milk)
- ½ cup / 110ml neutral-tasting oil (I used rice bran oil)
- 70g unsweetened apple sauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups / 200g carrots, finely grated (approx 2 medium carrots)
- Cream cheese frosting
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius (355 degrees Fahrenheit) and place the oven rack in the middle. Line an 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper and grease the sides for easy removal from the pan. Set aside.
- Make the flax egg.
- In a large bowl, sift all the dry ingredients and whisk together to combine well and remove any clumps.
- Place the walnuts on a flat baking tray and put in the oven for 10 minutes to slightly toast. Once toasted, set aside the equivalent of 3-4 extra walnuts for decorating the cake. You can always use more if you want; however, this is all I needed to create the look for my cake.
- In a separate smaller bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and whisk them until they are well combined and slightly frothy. It will be pretty thick.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix using the whisk until there are no lumps. Please don’t over mix!
- Fold in the carrots gently.
- Add 1 tablespoon of flour to the walnuts and toss to coat. This will prevent the walnuts from falling to the bottom of the batter when baking in the oven. Now add them to the batter and gently stir.
- Pour batter into the prepared tin and place on the middle rack in the oven, baking for 1 to 1½ hours. Bake until the skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Please don’t be tempted to open the oven any sooner as this will make the cake collapse in the middle as it cools. You will see that the cake is starting to separate from the sides of the pan; this is when you can test to see if it’s finished. You want the cake to spring back if you touch the top.
- While the cake bakes, you can prepare your cream cheese frosting.
- Once the cake is made, let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes before carefully removing it and letting it completely cool on a wire rack.
- Once the cake is completely cooled, refrigerate for at least a few hours.
- When you’re ready to add the cream cheese frosting, remove the cake and frosting from the fridge and spread the frosting generously on top.
- Take the remaining walnuts and decorate the edge of the cake with walnut pieces.
- The cake will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days without the frosting or the fridge for 4 days with the cream.
- Diet: Vegan
What is the baking time for a 9 x 12 pan?
Hi Sabrina, I haven’t made it in a dish that size but since it’s wider than mine, baking time will be less than what is in this recipe. I would start with around 45mins to 1 hour but keep an eye on it after 40 minutes. Just check with a skewer in the middle to make sure it’s baked through. Hope that helps!
Would sure appreciate it if your wonderful recipes were also shown with standard measurements.
Hi Margaret, I do it only for my baked goods (eg cakes) as different cup measurements can vary and when you bake with metric measurements, they’re the most precise way to get the best results. I hope that helps 🙂
What are the conversions for 135 grams and 120 grams?
Sorry I missed your question, Lydia! I’ve updated the recipe to reflect the answers to your question. I did this with hesitation because I’m not 100% confident that you’ll get the same results, but I do completely understand where you’re coming from 🙂