This two-layered vegan carrot cake is easy to make, perfectly moist, and has just the right amount of sweetness. Use the included cashew cream cheese frosting or your favorite storebought brand. Either way, this is the best vegan carrot cake made from scratch.
Carrot cake is a classic Easter dessert. But, definitely NOT one of my favorite cakes growing up!
I blame that on all the Easter candy I would much rather indulge in.
Now that I'm older and have come to my senses, I make this recipe every Easter and can't wait to devour it.
It's loaded with shredded carrots, made with simple ingredients, and bakes up soft and moist. The included (butter-free) cream cheese frosting completes this carrot-filled dessert.
This vegan carrot cake recipe uses simple ingredients. No egg replacers or weird ingredients.
Ingredients Tips and Substitutes
- All-purpose flour creates the best texture. To replace it, use a 1:1 ratio gluten-free flour, cake flour, or bread flour. Whole wheat flour should only be substituted up to 3/4 cup.
- Whole carrots should be peeled first, then grated with a box grater or food processor. The moisture in whole carrots is necessary for the cake. Don't use prepackaged carrot shreds. They're too dry. Fresh, whole carrots are definitely the way to go! Depending on the size, it's usually about 3-4 whole carrots.
- Baking powder and Baking soda help the cake rise.
- Any non-dairy milk will do. I use almond milk.
- Coconut oil adds fat to the cake to make it moist and tender. Substitute the coconut oil with another neutral oil (vegetable oil, sunflower oil, etc). Or applesauce for an oil-free cake.
- I use cane sugar, but any granulated sugar can be used. If using turbinado sugar I suggest blending it to a powder for the best cake texture.
- Coconut sugar can be replaced with brown sugar.
This recipe can be whipped up in about 15 minutes for an easy last-minute Easter dessert.
Step 1. In a large bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.
Step 2. Add the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix.
Step 3. Add in the grated carrots.
Step 4. Gently fold the carrots into the cake batter.
Step 5: Evenly divide the batter into two prepared 8-inch round cake pans.
Step 6: Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean.
Frosting a 2 layer cake
Place the bottom cake layer on a cake stand or large plate.
To protect the cake stand from drips, arrange strips of parchment paper around the stand before setting the first cake layer down. Parchment paper is optional for this method, but if you're frosting the sides I highly suggest adding it.
Step 1. Evenly spread 1/2 of the cream cheese frosting onto the bottom layer of the cake.
Step 2. Carefully place the top cake layer onto the frosted bottom layer.
Tip: If the middle layer of frosting begins to soften after step 1, pop the cake in the fridge for about 15 minutes before proceeding.
Step 3. Add the remaining cream cheese frosting to the top layer.
Step 4. Evenly spread it out. For a gently 'whipped up' look like above, use a small spatula to swirl and whip up the frosting in a circular motion. Sprinkle the top with chopped walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts, if using.
Yes. A 9x13-inch baking dish will fit the batter for a single-layered cake.
Unfrosted carrot cake can be left at room temperature for up to 3 days. A frosted carrot cake should be stored in the refrigerator because of the delicate frosting.
Vegan carrot cake will keep moist and fresh for 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
Yes. The unfrosted cake can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost on the counter until thawed, frost, and keep the finished cake in the fridge.
- Bake this vegan carrot cake "low and slow" for the best taste and texture. The low and slow method means, lowering the oven temperature to 325ºF and slowly baking the cake for 40-50 minutes.
- Mix-in crushed pineapple (about 3 Tablespoons), coconut shreds, chopped nuts, or raisins for a variation of this carrot cake.
- Use freshly grated carrots for best results. Prepackaged carrots add little moisture to the cake.
- Oil the inside of the baking pans, then coat with flour. This will make it easier to remove the cooled cakes.
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- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- 1/2 teaspoon all-spice
- 2 cups grated carrots, well packed (about 3-4 carrots)
- 1 cup non-dairy milk, warm
- 3/4 cup cane sugar (see note)
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar, or brown sugar
- 1/3 cup refined coconut oil, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz. non-dairy cream cheese, room temp
- 1/3 cup thick coconut cream (see note)
- 1 cup organic powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To make the cake
- Brush two 8-inch round cake pans with oil. Dust with flour, then turn the pans upside down and knock out any extra flour.
- In a medium bowl sift the dry ingredients.
- In a larger bowl mix the oil and sugars together. Then mix in the warm non-dairy milk and vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet and gently mix just until the batter comes together. Careful not to over mix!
- Gently fold in the carrots and any optional mix-ins.
- Evenly divide the batter into the two prepared cake pans.
- Bake at 325ºF for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick/tester comes out of the cake center clean. The cakes will also pull away from the sides of the pan when done.
- When the cakes are cool to the touch, remove them from the pans. Place on a cooling rack until fully cooled.
To make the frosting
- Beat together the softened cream cheese, coconut cream, and vanilla extract using an electric mixer.
- Pour in 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Mix on low until completely smooth.
- Mix in the remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Turn the speed up to medium and whip the frosting for 30-60 seconds until smooth.
- Store in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before frosting the cake. Give the frosting a stir after you remove it from the fridge.
Tip: For a sweeter frosting, add more powdered sugar until you reach your desired level of sweetness.
To frost the cake
- Add half of the frosting to the bottom layer of the cake. Evenly spread the frosting to the edges of the cake. If the frosting seems “soft” place the cake in the fridge for 15-20 minutes before adding the top layer.
- Carefully place the top cake layer onto the frosted bottom layer.
- Evenly spread the remaining frosting on the top layer of cake. Using an icing spatula, either smooth out the top frosting or gently whip it up in a circular motion like in the photos above.
- Store the finished cake covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Powdering the sugar is not necessary, but it will create a softer cake. If you are using turbinado or another granulated sugar I definitely suggest powdering it. To powder the sugar, measure it first, then blend it in a blender until powdered.
- The frosting is mildly sweet with only 1 cup of powdered sugar. For a sweeter frosting, add 1-2 cups more powdered sugar. Keep in mind, adding more powdered sugar may also create a thicker frosting. Add a few splashes of liquid from the coconut cream or non-dairy milk if needed.
- Coconut cream can be harvested from the top of a chilled can of coconut milk or cream. To chill, place the can in the back of the fridge overnight. The thick stuff on top is the cream.
- To make an oil-free carrot cake replace the coconut oil with a 1:1 ratio of applesauce.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 slices Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 351Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 257mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 1gSugar: 52gProtein: 2g
**Nutritional info is provided as an estimate based on the ingredients I used and for convenience and as a courtesy only.**