First published: April 2nd 2019 – Last updated: 12th March 2020
This vegan carrot cake is moist, lightly spiced and full of flavor. Topped with vegan cream cheese frosting and chunky walnut pieces, it makes a perfect Spring time treat.
Carrot cake is one of those classics that has been around foreeever. It was one of the first things I made when I started learning how to bake.
It’s also one of my favorite desserts. And my boyfriend’s… and my granny’s… Almost everyone I know loves it. Even the non-vegans in my life have a soft spot for my vegan version.
As much as I love to experiment with new flavors and ideas, you just can’t beat the classics. So I thought it was high time for me to share my delicious recipe for vegan carrot cake!
This vegan carrot cake is so moist and flavorful, lightly spiced with cinnamon and ginger, and sprinkled with chunks of chopped walnuts for added flavor and texture.
I also topped it with my delicious vegan cream cheese frosting which is an absolute must when it comes to carrot cake.
You can also top your cake with vanilla buttercream instead if cream cheese isn’t your thing.
Carrot Cake Without Eggs or Flax Eggs!
Believe it or not, this recipe was the first one I tried without using any kind of vegan egg replacer.
When I first started vegan baking, I used to like using things like flax or chia seeds to help hold the mixture together. But I soon realised that most cake recipes don’t actually need them. In fact, they turn out much fluffier without!
So, if you happened to be looking for a vegan carrot cake without flax eggs, I’m here to answer your prayers. No vegan egg replacers necessary for this one!
Looking for more vegan cake recipes? Try these:
How To Make Vegan Carrot Cake
The first step is to preheat your oven to 180C/ 350F and grease, flour and line 2 7-inch cake tins.
If you want to make a larger cake in an 8 or 9-inch tin, I’d recommend using just 1 tin instead of two to keep the cake nice and thick, although you may have to bake it for a little bit longer.
Next, peel and grate your carrots. I find that the taste and texture are best when the carrots are grated quite finely. I use the small side of the grater to do this, which ensures there are no heavy or extra-large pieces that might weigh the cake down.
It’s also best to grate the carrots just before baking rather than doing it in advance, as fresh carrots will add a little more moisture to your cake.
I know that grating carrots by hand can be a little time-consuming so if you prefer, you can pop the peeled carrots in a food processor until they are shredded.
You’ll need about 2-3 medium carrots for this cake. The weight after peeling and grating should be around 250g (or 2 cups worth).
I prefer to do the grating before I begin baking or mixing anything else together, which saves messing around once I get started.
Next, we need to make the “wet” mixture.
In a large bowl, mix together 200g (1 cup, packed) of soft brown sugar, 250ml (1 cup) of vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Once that’s combined, add in your grated carrots and mix again.
To that same bowl, add in 300g of self-raising flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, ½ a teaspoon of ground ginger and 6 tablespoons of plant-based milk.
Mix it all together to form a thick cake batter.
If you don’t have self-raising flour to hand, you can swap it for all-purpose flour instead. If using all-purpose flour, up the baking powder to 2 teaspoons instead of 1, and add ½ a teaspoon of baking soda too.
Add in 100g (3/4 cup) of chopped walnuts and fold them into the batter. If you’re not a fan of walnuts, see the “mix ins” section below for some other ideas.
Divide the batter equally between your cake tins and bake in the middle shelf of your oven for 25- 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Leave the cakes in the tins for 10 minutes to cool slightly, then transfer them to wire rack to cool completely.
While the cake is baking, prepare your vegan cream cheese frosting. I find the frosting is easier to work with after it’s been refrigerated for a while so I’d recommend doing that if you can.
Once the cakes are cool, place the first layer onto a plate or cake stand. Spread a thick layer of frosting over it, then refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes.
This will prevent the cakes from sliding around as you stack them, as cream cheese frosting isn’t quite as sturdy as buttercream.
Add your next layer of cake on top of the first and spread some more frosting on top.
If you wish to frost the sides of the cake, simply double the frosting recipe to ensure that you have enough.
Decorate the top of the cake with chopped walnuts and refrigerate the whole thing for a further 1 hour to let the frosting harden slightly.
Alternative mix in ideas:
Although I personally believe that walnuts and carrot cake are a match made in heaven, I understand that they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. So I’ve compiled a small list of alternatives for you:
- Other chopped nuts such as pecans or almonds
- Crushed pineapple
- Raisins or other dried fruits
- Orange or lemon zest
- Chocolate chips
If you have any other mix-in ideas, please let me know in the comments below and I’ll add them to the list!
Can Vegan Carrot Cake Be Frozen?
Yes! As always, I recommend freezing this cake in slices in an airtight container. You can frost it with or without frosting- it will still taste delicious either way.
To defrost, transfer the slices onto a plate and leave them at room temperature for 2-3 hours until fully thawed.
I hope you enjoy this recipe- I think that it’s a perfect bake for Spring-time! If you make it yourself, please let me know how it goes by leaving a comment below.
Happy baking! xo
A lightly spiced, moist carrot cake with chunky walnuts and dairy-free cream cheese frosting on top.
- 2 Cups Grated carrots* (250g)
- 1 Cup, packed Soft brown sugar (200g)
- 1 Cup Vegetable oil (250ml)
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla essence
- 2 ½ Cups Self-rising flour (300g)
- 1 Teaspoon Baking powder
- 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
- ½ Teaspoon Ground ginger
- 6 Tablespoons Plant-based milk (I used soy)
- ¾ Cup Chopped walnuts (100g)
- 1 Batch Vegan cream cheese frosting
- 2 Tablespoons Chopped walnuts
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F and grease, flour and line two 7-inch cake tins.
Grate your carrots finely and set them aside for now.
In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oil and vanilla.
Add in your grated carrots and mix again.
Now add in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and plant-based milk. Mix until well combined. You should have a slightly thick cake batter at this point.
Add in the chopped walnuts and fold them in.
Divide the batter equally between your two cake tins. Bake on the middle shelf of your oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick through the center comes out clean.
Leave the cakes in the tins for 10 minutes to cool slightly, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cakes are cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting.
Spread the frosting over the first layer of cake and refrigerate it for 30 minutes to allow it to firm up. This will prevent the second cake layer from sliding off before the frosting sets.
Place the second cake layer on top of the first, add another thick layer of frosting and sprinkle some chopped walnuts on top.
Refrigerate the whole cake for a further 1 hour to allow the frosting to set before cutting into slices.
Store the cake, covered, in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- *Weight is after peeling and chopping the ends off.
- If you wish to frost the sides of your cake too, simply double the frosting recipe to ensure you have enough.
- Freeze any leftover slices in an airtight container. Defrost at room temperature for a few hours before eating.