The best vegan carrot cake recipe is creamy, delicious, and topped with a delicious, dairy free vegan cream cheese frosting. Bake this easy layered cake recipe complete with chopped walnuts, cinnamon spice and the ultimate tangy cream cheese carrot cake frosting today! Make this easy cake recipe with pineapple or transform into cupcakes.
It’s time for a little decadence, don’t you think? But if you’re going to go for an indulgent dessert, I think you should go all in. That’s why today I’m sharing this easy Vegan Carrot Cake recipe.
You may be asking, is carrot cake vegan? The average store-bought carrot cake is not vegan. They’re usually made with dairy and eggs. But that didn’t stop me from making the best vegan carrot cake ever!
It’s so delicious, you might even want to share it with friends. While you’re thinking about easy vegan cake desserts, why not check out my Vegan Coconut Cake recipe. Or how about my Easy Vegan Vanilla Cake recipe, otherwise known as a vegan white cake. It’s all so good!
Are Carrots Really in Carrot Cake?
The short answer is, yes, there are carrots in carrot cake. And I never really understood the idea of it. Carrots in a cake? It doesn’t make sense. I mean, carrots are vegetables.
We don’t serve spinach in a cake. Right? So what’s the deal with carrots?
There are a few crossover veggies that have found their way into desserts, including carrots and sweet potatoes, and obviously pumpkin. Do you see anything in common there? They’re all orange!
Can we call it revenge of the orange vegetable?
I bet you’re already one step ahead of me and thinking about the zucchini which has been used in a cake here or there. I might have even created a Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake myself. And the avocado has been used in desserts as well, such as Chocolate Avocado Cake.
So, that means it’s time to give up my resistance to carrots in a cake. Oh, in fact, I already have.
How to Make Vegan Carrot Cake
I created an easy-as-possible process to make this eggless dairy free carrot cake. It begins by adding dry ingredients — flour, sugar, vanilla protein powder, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda — in a bowl.
Next, toast the walnuts on a baking sheeting the preheated oven. Stir in half of the toasted walnuts to the flour mixture. Why toast walnuts if they’re going to be baked in the cake anyway? Great question!
I love this response on why to toast walnuts before baking! Basically, the walnuts are insulated by all the other cake ingredients. Toasted walnuts add a great touch to your carrot cake recipe!
In fact, I love carrots in desserts so much, I even made these Vegan Carrot Cookies!
In a small bowl combine the vegetable oil, water, vinegar and vanilla.
Add the chopped carrots to a food processor and pulse several times to shred the carrots. Add this to the vegetable oil mixture and stir to combine before adding to the flour mixture. Stir together and then pour the batter into your prepared cake pans and bake.
Carrot Cake Frosting
To make the vegan cream cheese frosting, combine the vegan cream cheese and vegan butter in a mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed until creamy. Add the powdered sugar a little bit at a time and continue beating until light and fluffy.
When it comes to vegan frosting for carrot cake, you do have options! For example, to make the vegan carrot cake frosting without cream cheese, simply leave out the vegan cream cheese. You can substitute 1/4 cup of coconut oil if you’d like, or leave it as a simple buttercream vanilla frosting.
Can you make this carrot cake gluten-free?
Healthy vegan carrot cake recipes are really just spice cakes in disguise. All you have to do is make a spice cake batter and add shredded carrots. Voila. You’ve got a carrot cake. That means it’s easy to transform this into a vegan gluten free carrot cake recipe by using gluten free flour in place of the all-purpose flour.
How many calories are in vegan carrot cake?
Assuming you have a plate of one slice of frosted vegan carrot cake (out of 14 slices), the estimated calories per serving is 461 calories. Of course, this depends on how much of the vegan cream cheese frosting you add. If you want to reduce the calories, make the slices smaller or use less frosting.
How do you know when carrot cake is done?
It’s easy to tell when your vegan carrot cake is done — it’s a similar process to determining if any cake is done. I look for three main signals: 1) the edges of the cake are pulling away from the sides of the pan, 2) if you gently touch the center of the cake it springs back, and 3) a tester inserted in the center comes back clean or with only a few crumbs.
Most people prefer to use toothpicks as a tester to insert into the center of a baked cake. But what do you do if you don’t have a toothpick? Or, what if you’re like me and you hate touching raw wood? I oftentimes will use a piece of raw spaghetti. It works great!
Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes
I recently turned this recipe into cupcakes, although I called them vegan carrot cake muffins. There’s a lot of crossover between muffins and cupcakes, especially when you’ve got frosting involved.
You can make this recipe as carrot cake bread (using a loaf pan) or cupcakes. For bread, bake it in a loaf pan and cook longer, 40 – 50 minutes. For cupcakes, distribute the cake batter into muffin pan compartments (either use papers or spray with vegetable cooking spray) and bake between 20 – 25 minutes.
Either way, be sure to top it with a dairy free carrot cake frosting.
Here are some tips and tricks to making this recipe for vegan carrot cake perfect every time:
- Add 1/2 cup of dried fruit, like raisins for a variation
- For something different, add 1/4 cup of coconut shreds to the cake batter
- I use protein powder in this batter, but if you don’t have it or don’t want to use it, sub in 1/3 cup almond flour or meal
- I used two 9″ inch round cake pans but you can bake this in a 9X13 cake pan instead. Be sure to bake about 10 minutes longer
- Some people prefer hand grating the carrots but I’ve found using a food processor to be faster, easier, and provides great results
- My favorite vegan cream cheese is Tofutti’s but Follow Your Heart has a good one too
- This vegan cake is made with no eggs because it’s using the gluten from the flour to provide structure
- Make a gluten free vegan carrot cake recipe by substituting gluten free baking flour for all-purpose flour in this recipe. I love using Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten-free flour
- For something different, add 1/4 cup crushed pineapple to the batter
- You could also try adding a little lemon zest to the batter or the icing
- Be sure to allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting them.
You’ll love that this carrot cake is moist, sweet, rich and flavorful. You’ll love even more that it’s topped with a vegan cream cheese frosting.
I sprinkled the top with chopped walnuts for a beautiful presentation.
Simple Cake Recipes
This is a simple vegan carrot cake recipe that I based off of my Wacky Cake. A wacky cake is basically a simple vegan sponge cake recipe made without eggs. It uses baking soda combined with apple cider vinegar to give the cake a nice rise.
Some other delicious vegan cake recipes:
- Vegan Vanilla Cake recipe is a simple, but gorgeous cake!
- Take this Vegan Chocolate Sheet Cake recipe to your next potluck!
- This Blue Velvet Cake is dramatic in appearance and uses a natural (even health) ingredient to make it blue!
- You’ll love this Pumpkin Spice Cake recipe too!
- And for a healthy twist of this recipe, be sure and try this Healthy Carrot Cake recipe too!
- Make this ultimate Vegan Coconut Cake and be prepared for delicious!
Have a birthday coming up? Surprise someone you love with this delicious vegan carrot cake with vegan carrot cake icing!
I hope you love this recipe as we do! Have you tried it? Be sure and leave a comment and a rating of this recipe below and then take a quick photo and share it with me using #namelymarly on Instagram. I love seeing your creations!
Vegan Carrot Cake
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup vanilla plant-based protein powder*
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ cups walnuts
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cup cold water
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups chopped carrots
Easy Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounce container vegan cream cheese
- 1/2 cup vegan butter
- 2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
- Additional walnuts for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two round cake pans with vegetable spray. You can also place a piece of parchment paper at the bottom of the pans and spray the sides with vegetable oil.*
- Combine in a large mixing bowl the flour, sugar, vanilla protein powder, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda. Stir to combine. Set aside.
- Place walnuts on a baking pan and toast for 5 minutes. Be careful not to cook too long because they will burn. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before chopping. Stir half of the walnuts into the flour mixture.
- In a smaller bowl combine the vegetable oil, water, vinegar and vanilla. Stir to combine.
- Add the chopped carrots to a food processor and pulse several times to shred the carrots. Pour the shredded carrots into the vegetable oil mixture. Stir to combine. Pour this into the flour mixture. Stir until just combine — do not overmix.
- Pour the batter into your prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool for about 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
- In the meantime make your Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting by combining the vegan cream cheese and vegan butter in a mixing bowl. Mix until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, until you reach a desired consistency, which should be spreadable but thick.
- Ice the top of one of the cakes. Top with additional chopped, toasted walnuts. Place the second cake on top. Cover the top cake and sides with frosting. Garnish with chopped walnuts.