This vegan carrot cake recipe is moist, rich, and loaded with fresh carrots. The cake is incredible on its own but even better when topped with the creamy dairy-free cream cheese frosting.
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Why You'll Love This Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe
Flavorful- This recipe for vegan carrot cake is bursting with flavor thanks to the grated carrot, pineapple, and warm spices.
Eye-Catching- Carrot cake's vibrant orange color, contrasting vegan cream cheese frosting, and chopped nut topping make it an unforgettable dessert!
Creamy- The perfect addition to this delicious carrot cake is the rich vegan cream cheese frosting. The sweetness of the frosting perfectly complements the moist cake, making this combination a heavenly match.
What Is Carrot Cake?
Regular carrot cake is a delicious dessert made with grated carrots and other ingredients such as flour, sugar, eggs, and spices. It is typically topped with cream cheese frosting and is popular for birthdays, weddings, and other special occasions. Using carrots in the cake adds a unique sweetness and moisture that sets it apart from other cakes. Overall, carrot cake is a tasty and indulgent treat that many love.
- Three 9-Inch Cake Pans
- 2 Medium Bowls
- 2 Large Bowls
- Vegetable Grater
- Wire Rack
- Cake Plate or Cake Stand
- Icing Spatula
- Hand Mixer (Optional)
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
For The Cake
- All-Purpose Flour- Serves as the base of the carrot cake batter. Whole wheat flour, almond flour, oat flour, and coconut flour can all be used. Use an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend if you have a gluten allergy.
- Baking Powder- Helps to make the cake rise.
- Baking Soda- The baking soda keeps the vegan carrot cake light and fluffy.
- Salt- Enhances all the other ingredients.
- Spices- Ground Cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and ground ginger bring the level of flavor up five notches!
- Flax Seed Meal- Used as a binder mixed with water to make flax eggs instead of traditional ones.
- Granulated Sugar- Provides extra sweetness. Organic sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, or maple syrup can all be used here.
- Oil- I like to use a neutral flavored oil like extra virgin olive oil. Especially the California variety and this version is light in taste, so it doesn't fight with the flavor of the cake. You can use canola oil or vegetable oil in place of extra virgin olive oil.
- Vanilla Extract- For flavor.
- Finely Grated Carrots- Buy fresh carrots and shred them by hand for best results.
- Canned Crushed Pineapple- Make sure to drain well to remove excess moisture. You could even blot it a bit.
- Nuts - Either chopped walnuts or chopped pecans would be excellent in this cake.
For The Frosting
- Vegan Cream Cheese- Softened cream cheese helps to create a creamy frosting.
- Vegan Butter- Also softened to room temperature. Vegan butter mixed with the vegan cream cheese gives this frosting recipe its rich flavor.
- Organic Powdered Sugar- Sifted to remove any lumps, powdered sugar gives the icing a sweet taste while still providing a creamy texture.
- Clear Vanilla Extract- For flavor. You can also use regular vanilla extract. Using clear vanilla keeps the frosting a bright white.
How To Make Vegan Carrot Cake
To bake a delicious carrot cake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour each round cake pan. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat the prepared flax eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
Add the flour mixture and beat on low until well combined, but be careful not to overbeat. Fold in the carrots, pineapple, and nuts until well combined.
Divide the mixture into the prepared cake pans and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Once done, remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.
For a creamier frosting, you can sift the powdered sugar into a medium-sized bowl to remove any large pieces. This step is optional but recommended. Start by beating the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl until it becomes fluffy and smooth. Then, add the vegan butter and beat until it is fluffy and smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar, making sure to beat after each addition. Finally, beat in the vanilla until the vegan cream cheese frosting is smooth and ready to use.
Place one layer onto a plate or cake stand to assemble the cake. Take ⅓ of the creamy frosting and spread it evenly over the layer. Repeat this step with another carrot cake layer, adding another ⅓ of the frosting. Finally, add the top layer and frost the cake with the remaining cream cheese frosting. To add a little extra pizzazz, chop up some nuts and decorate the top of the cake in a circle pattern, as seen in the photos.
Tips And Tricks
Fresh Carrots are Best! I recommend freshly shredding the carrots yourself vs. buying pre-shredded carrots. Fresh carrots have more moisture, resulting in a more moist carrot cake.
When grating the carrots, finely shred them into a uniform texture with no large chunks.
Measure Carefully. Like most baking recipes, it's essential to correctly measure the ingredients and follow the recipe amounts.
Avoid Over Mixing. Try to avoid over-mixing the cake batter. After you add the flour and shredded carrots, you want to mix until combined. Over-mixed cake batter can produce a spongy cake that doesn't rise as high.
Make sure to grease the pans! For each cake pan, I recommend greasing, lining with parchment paper, then greasing again (the parchment paper) and dusting with flour. This will ensure the cake will not stick and can be removed from the pan easily.
Use Cake Strips. You can also use cake strips wrapped around the pan. This helps the layers have a higher rise. Remember to soak them in water before using them.
Avoid Over Baking. Be careful not to over or under-bake. Bake the carrot cake until it is cooked - a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. It will be dry if overcooked, but an undercooked cake will collapse in the middle.
Popular Substitutions And Additions
- Add shredded coconut, coconut flakes, lemon zest, dried cranberries, or raisins to the vegan carrot cake batter.
- Replace half of the finely grated carrots with shredded zucchini.
- Try adding spices, like a bit of allspice, cloves, or anise.
- Swap out the flax seed meal for chia seeds to create chia eggs.
- Substitute apple sauce for the crushed pineapple.
Can I Freeze Vegan Carrot Cake?
Yes, you can freeze vegan carrot cake! Wrap each individual slice of vegan carrot cake tightly in plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container or freezer bag. When you're ready to eat it, let it thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
The Best Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe FAQ's
Can I make this vegan carrot cake smaller?
Yes! You can make this vegan carrot cake a 2-layer cake by cutting the ingredients in half since this cake is quite large. The layers are thick, and the cake is tall, so you don't need to worry about precise measurements. Instead, pour the batter into two 9" pans. Bake for 30 minutes, then check if it's done using the toothpick test. Baking time will differ from oven to oven, so if it's not quite ready yet, check again at 40 minutes. A bundt pan can also be used instead of making a 2 layer cake.
Another option is to use two layers for the cake and save the third layer to make Carrot Cake Truffles.
What makes the vegan carrot cake moist?
This cake is known for its moistness, and a few factors contribute to it. Firstly, the shredded carrots play a significant role in this. Using fresh carrots and grating them by hand will release more moisture into the cake. Additionally, carrot cake is traditionally made with oil, which helps produce a moist cake. Another ingredient that adds moisture and sweetness is crushed pineapple. Lastly, avoiding over-baking the cake is essential, as this can dry it out.
Can this be baked into vegan carrot cake cupcakes?
Absolutely! Line a muffin pan with paper liners or grease well and add the carrot cake batter so the cups are about ¾ full.
Bake at the same oven temperature for 15-20 minutes or until done.
Use a toothpick to check for doneness - it should come out clean when inserted in the center of the cupcakes.
What's the best way to store leftover cake?
To keep your frosted cake fresh, I suggest covering it and refrigerating it. With its moist texture, this cake can last up to a week, unlike other cakes that dry out quickly.
More Vegan Carrot Recipes
- Maple Glazed Carrots are a special treat; if you roll-cut them, they are extra pretty, too.
- Quick and Easy Pickled Carrots are an excellent extra finger food for the table and barbecues.
- These Carrot Apple Sauce Muffins feature grated carrot inside, and they are delicious at breakfast or as a snack.
Vegan carrot cake
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 flax eggs
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 1 ¼ cup flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ cup chopped mixed nuts (almonds and walnuts)
For the frosting
- ½ cup Vegan cream cheese
- 1 ¼ cup powdered cane sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch cake tin with some cooking spray and line the bottom with some parchment paper.
- Whisk vegetable oil, lemon juice, vanilla extract, flax eggs, and flex eggs in a bowl.
- Add carrots and stir to combine.
- Fold in flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Finally, add chopped nuts and stir to combine.
- Transfer the batter to the cake tin and smooth the top.
- Bake the cake for 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool the cake completely before removing from the tin.
Make the frosting:
- Beat Vegan cheese, powdered cane sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice until fluffy. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Spread the frosting over the cake.
- Chill the cake for an extra 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
- To make the flax eggs; combine 2 tbsp of ground flax seeds with 6 tbsp water. Set the flax eggs aside until you have a gelatin-like mixture.
- If the batter seems a bit too thick, you can add some water to thin it down but do not do it immediately. Let the batter stand for a few minutes, as the carrots will release some of its moisture.
- The cake needs to cool completely. It benefits from plenty of airflow, and the flavors develop as the cooling process goes on.
- For the nuts, you can choose just walnuts, almonds, or a mix of these two. Also, you can choose your desired type of nuts.
- This recipe is also ideal to be used for muffins. Instead of cake, you divide the batter between the paper liners and bake the muffins for 20 minutes.
- For the presentation, you can serve cake with some chopped nuts on top or dust it simply with some cinnamon.