Vegan Carrot Cake – This delicious spice cake is dense, sweet, and super moist, just like a good carrot cake should be. Topped with a dreamy cashew cream cheese frosting, this sneak veggie dessert is perfect for your Easter menu or an anytime decadent treat!
I love my sweets, but in all honesty, I’m not a huge cake lover. I find traditional cake to taste too sweet and not much like anything else.
I solved this problem with my Chai Spiced Pumpkin Layer Cake…so much flavor! It even earned a Reader’s Choice award in a bake-off!
And again with this Vegan Carrot Cake! This carrot cake recipe has loads of flavor from the warm spices and a balanced sweetness that comes from fruits and veggies, not just sugar.
It turned out perfect! Just sweet enough, dense texture, and super moist!
There are some staunch carrot cake lovers out there who will tell you exactly what you should not put in your carrot cake recipe…mainly, pineapple, nuts, and/or raisins.
I’m not a fan of raisins, so we’re good there. But, the other two, I’ve got them, and I’ll tell you why – moisture and texture.
A good carrot cake is soft and moist and dense, so the nuts bring a nice contrasting texture.
The pineapple adds the perfect amount of additional moisture and natural sweetness.
Following the original recipe ingredients and instructions will give you the best results, but here are some adaptations that will work if need be.
If you don’t like walnuts, you substitute pecans. For a nut-free version, leave them out!
If you don’t like or can’t have pineapple, you can use applesauce. I find applesauce tends to make most cakes too heavy and doesn’t add as much moisture as the pineapple, but it will work in a pinch.
Don’t have almond milk? Use cashew milk, soy milk, or light coconut milk.
What does carrot cake taste like?
Carrot cake doesn’t actually taste like carrots. However, the carrots lend a subtle sweetness and certainly up the nutrition factor.
As noted above, I make my version with pineapple. But, again, it’s an ingredient you won’t be able to taste. Some carrot cakes with pineapple absolutely do taste of pineapple, and that’s fine if that’s what you’re going for. But, here, we are using the pineapple as moisture, and another layer of sweetness.
So, what does it taste like? It tastes like a spice cake. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger mingle with vanilla and caramel-y coconut sugar to provide the most amazing flavor. Bonus: your house will smell fabulous as it bakes!
But, this is no light and airy cake. It’s dense, yet soft, and incredibly moist. Just like a perfect carrot cake should be!
More vegan carrot recipes:
- Carrot Cake Pancakes
- Carrot Pineapple Salad
- Easy Vegan Carrot Soup
- Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal
- Roasted Carrot White Bean Dip
Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting
Most people can probably agree that any good carrot cake has cream cheese frosting. I’m not going against the grain on this note. It’s creamy, tangy, and sweet and is, quite literally, the icing on the cake!
Since we are dairy-free here at Veggie Inspired, we aren’t using cream cheese, but instead blending cashews with a little lemon juice to create that same creamy tangy texture. Vanilla and powdered sugar sweeten it up.
If for some reason, you are against a delicious dreamy cream cheese frosting, or if you are allergic to nuts, you can use my Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting that I use on my Chai Spiced Pumpkin Layer Cake. It would be divine with the flavors of this cake, as well. Your favorite store-bought frosting will also work.
More vegan easter recipes
- Curried Tofu Salad
- Herb Roasted Potato and Arugula Salad
- Vegan Potato Salad with White Bean Mustard Mayo
- Coconut Clementine Mini Loaf Cakes
- Pretty Pastel Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you tried it, please use the rating system in the recipe card and leave a comment below with your feedback.
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For the Carrot Cake
- 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour (white whole wheat or spelt flour will also work)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspooon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 1 cup crushed pineapple (drained)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ½ cup coconut oil (melted)
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
- 2 cup finely shredded carrots
- ½ cup walnuts (chopped) (plus more for garnish)
For the Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 cups raw cashews (soaked 2-3 hours, or overnight)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup organic powdered sugar (or to taste)
- ⅛ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- ¼ cup non-dairy milk (plus more as needed) (I used unsweetened almond milk)
- ¼ cup coconut oil (melted)
For the Carrot Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line two 9-inch cake pans with a circle of parchment paper or lightly spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the crushed pineapple, vanilla, vinegar, coconut sugar, maple syrup, coconut oil, and almond milk.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the wet just until incorporated.
- Stir in the shredded carrots and chopped walnuts. The batter will be thick, but still pourable.
- Divide the batter among the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire cooling rack for at least 10 minutes. Then, turn the cakes out and let them continue to cool on the wire cooling rack.
For the Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting
- Add the soaked cashews, lemon juice, vanilla, powdered sugar, and salt to a food processor. With the food processor running, slowly pour in the milk through the top spout. Then slowly pour in the melted coconut oil through the top spout. Continue to process until the mixture is perfectly smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time if needed to get the mixture smooth.
- Transfer the frosting to an airtight container and place in the fridge for several hours or overnight to let it thicken and set up.
- Once the cakes have completely cooled and the frosting has thickened, turn the cakes upside down so that the perfectly flat sides are face up. Spread a thin layer of the frosting over the top of one of the cakes. Stack the other cake on top and then gently frost the whole cake.
- Garnish with chopped walnuts.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge as the frosting won't stay solid if it gets warm.
~Please note that the Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting needs time for soaking the cashews and time for setting up in the fridge. Plan accordingly! The frosting can also be made in advance
~You should have just enough frosting for a thin layer between the two cakes and to cover the whole thing. If you like a LOT of frosting, you may want to double the recipe.
~Make sure the cakes are completely cooled before you start to frost. You may need to let the cold frosting sit for just a few minutes at room temperature in order to spread the frosting easier. After frosting, stick the entire cake back in the fridge for 20 minutes to set (or stick it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes).
~Store all leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container.
Serving Size:12 slices
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 480Saturated Fat: 14gSodium: 220mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 3gSugar: 32gProtein: 7g