You’ll love this vegan carrot cake recipe for the moist cake and creamy, delicious vegan cream cheese frosting on top. Bake this easy layered cake recipe complete with chopped walnuts, cinnamon spice and the ultimate tangy cream cheese carrot cake frosting today!
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.
Is Carrot Cake Vegan?
The average store-bought carrot cake is not vegan. That’s because they’re usually made with dairy and eggs. Of course, you can make your own homemade vegan carrot cake with vegan cream cheese frosting.
In fact, I think homemade is the best vegan carrot cake ever!
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.
There are a few crossover veggies that have found their way into desserts, including carrots and sweet potatoes, and obviously pumpkin.
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
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time!
I created an easy-as-possible process to make this eggless dairy free carrot cake. It begins by adding dry ingredients — flour, sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and toasted walnuts — in a bowl.
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 a carrot cake.
In a small bowl you’ll combine the vegetable oil, water, vinegar and vanilla, and chopped carrots. It’s a colorful mixture!
Then stir the wet ingredients together with the flour mixture. Pour the batter into prepared pans and bake.
New to Vegan Baking?
The idea of making cookies, cakes or muffins without eggs or dairy can seem like a hill too tall to climb! But with the simple tips in my Guide to Vegan Baking, you’ll be baking like a vegan pro in no time!
Carrot Cake Frosting
A vegan cake frosting is easy to make using vegan butter, vegan cream cheese, and powdered sugar. Some vegan cream cheese products don’t set up like dairy cream cheese. My anecdote is to use less vegan cream cheese. We’ll use just enough to add some flavor.
If you don’t like cream cheese, you can substitute a simple vegan buttercream vanilla frosting.
Note: The vegan cream cheese frosting in the recipe below is easy to make, and based off my vegan cream cheese frosting recipe.
Can you make carrot cake gluten-free?
A carrot cake is really just a spice cake in disguise. That means it’s easy to make gluten free by using a 1:1 gluten free baking flour in place of the all-purpose flour.
How do you know when a cake is done?
I look for three main signals to indicate a cake is done:
- the edges of the cake pull away from the sides of the pan
- if you gently touch the center of the cake it springs back
- a tester inserted in the center comes back clean or with only a few crumbs.
Carrot Cake Variations
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 it 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.
Here are some tips and tricks to making this recipe perfect every time:
- 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 is faster and provides great results
- My favorite vegan cream cheese is Tofutti’s but Follow Your Heart and Daiya are good options too
- For something different, add any of the following to the batter:
- 1/4 cup crushed pineapple
- 1/2 cup dried fruit, such as raisins
- 1/4 cup coconut shreds
- 1 – 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- Be sure to allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting them.
Simple Cake Recipes
Here are some other delicious vegan cake recipes:
- Vegan Vanilla Cake recipe
- Vegan Chocolate Sheet Cake
- Blue Velvet Cake
- Pumpkin Spice Cake
- Healthy Carrot Cake
- Vegan Coconut Cake
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 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
- 1/2 cup vegan butter
- 4 tablespoons vegan cream cheese (see note)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 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, 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. Then add the lemon juice and beat until you get a spreadable consistency. If it's too thick, you can add a tablespoon of plant-based milk.
- 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.
The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.