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Overhead view of a carrot cake with a slice being taken out with a cake spatula.
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4.82 from 16 votes

Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe w/ Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting

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 sneaky veggie dessert is perfect for your Easter menu or an anytime decadent treat!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Resting Time10 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Desserts & Sweet Treats
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegan
Servings: 12 slices
Calories: 480kcal

Ingredients

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
  • teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • ¼ cup non-dairy milk plus more as needed (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil melted

Instructions

For the Carrot Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°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 to 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 silky smooth.
  • Transfer the frosting to an airtight container and place in the fridge for several hours to firm up.

To Serve

  • 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. (If the frosting is too hard to spread just out of the fridge, let it sit on the counter for a bit to soften.
  • Garnish with chopped walnuts.
  • Store any leftover cake in an airtight container in the fridge as the frosting won't stay solid if it gets warm. Let it come back to room temperature on the counter before serving.

Video

Notes

~ Line the cake pans with circles of parchment paper so the cakes slide out easily after cooking.
~ Use the spoon and level method of measuring the flour.
~ Use the small grates of a grater to finely shred the carrots. I like using the grating blade of my food processor to make quick work of this process.
~ Bring all of your ingredients to room temperature, especially the non-dairy milk, maple syrup and pineapple, before starting. Otherwise the melted coconut oil may seize up and won't incorporate correctly.
~ Mix the batter until just combined. Do not over mix. There should be no visible white flour after mixing, but a few small lumps are fine.
~ Let the cakes cool completely before frosting them. If the cakes are still warm, the frosting will slide right off.
~ The Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting needs time for soaking the cashews and time for setting up in the fridge. Plan accordingly! The frosting can 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
~ 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 to 10 minutes) before slicing.
~ Store all leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container.

Nutrition

Serving: 12slices | Calories: 480kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 7g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Sodium: 220mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 32g