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Vegan Carrot Cake

This vegan carrot cake is moist, lightly spiced and full of flavour. Topped with vegan cream cheese frosting and chunky walnut pieces, it makes for a perfect Spring time treat. 

vegan carrot cake on a cake stand

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 favourite 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 flavours 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 flavourful, lightly spiced with cinnamon and ginger, and sprinkled with chunks of chopped walnuts for added flavour 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.

overhead shot of carrot cake with a slice taken out of it

Carrot Cake Without 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:

a slice of vegan carrot cake on a plate

How To Make Vegan Carrot Cake

Step 1:

The first step is to preheat your oven to 180C/ 350F and grease, flour and line two 7-inch cake tins.

I typically use the standard cake tins that are 2-inches deep and my cakes turn out pretty nice every time. You can purchase similar ones from Amazon.

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.

Step 2:

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, to save messing around once I get started.

Step 3:

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.

wet ingredients mixed together in a bowl

Step 4:

To that same bowl, add in 300g of self-raising flour (2+1/2 cups), 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. You’ll also need to up the baking powder to 2 teaspoons instead of 1, and add ½ a teaspoon of baking soda too.

carrot cake batter in a bowl

Step 5:

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.

mixing walnuts into cake batter

Step 6:

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.

peeling baking paper off of cakes on a cooling rack

Step 7:

While the cakes are 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.

Step 8:

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.

spreading a layer of cream cheese frosting onto the first cake layer

Step 9:

Add your next layer of cake on top of the first and spread some more frosting on top.

If you want to frost the sides of the cake, just 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!

FAQ:

How long will this cake last?

Store it, covered, in the fridge and it’ll last for around 4 days.

Can I freeze it?

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.

Can I use all-purpose flour instead?

Yes! You’ll just need to add an extra teaspoon of baking powder and 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) to help the cake to rise.

close up of the sliced carrot cake

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

thumbnail of carrot cake
5 from 6 votes
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Vegan Carrot Cake

A lightly spiced, moist carrot cake with chunky walnuts and dairy-free cream cheese frosting on top.

Course Dessert
Cuisine vegan
Keyword vegan carrot cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Chilling time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Calories 380 kcal

Ingredients

  • 250 g Grated carrots* (2 cups)
  • 200 g Soft brown sugar (1 cup)
  • 250 ml Vegetable oil (1 cup)
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 300 g Self-raising flour (2+½ cups)
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground ginger
  • 6 Tablespoons Soy milk
  • 100 g Chopped walnuts (¾ cup)

To frost:

To top (optional):

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F (160°C/325°F if using a fan or convection oven) and grease, flour and line two 7-inch cake tins.

  2. Grate your carrots finely and set them aside for now.

  3. In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oil and vanilla. 

  4. Add in your grated carrots and mix again.

  5. Now add in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and soy milk. Mix until well combined. You should have a slightly thick cake batter at this point.

  6. Add in the chopped walnuts and fold them in.

  7. 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 centre comes out clean.

  8. Leave the cakes in the tins for 10 minutes to cool slightly, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

  9. While the cakes are cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting.

  10. 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 around before the frosting sets.

  11. Place the second cake layer on top of the first, add another thick layer of frosting and sprinkle some chopped walnuts on top.

  12. Refrigerate the whole cake for a further 1 hour to allow the frosting to set before cutting into slices.

  13. Store the cake, covered, in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Recipe Notes

  • *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.
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Carrot Cake
Amount Per Serving (1 slice)
Calories 380 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Fat 25g38%
Sodium 55mg2%
Carbohydrates 37g12%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 18g20%
Protein 4g8%
* All values are an estimate only and will vary depending on the food brands used.
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Recipe Rating




Elaine

Friday 23rd of October 2020

Yes finally found a gorgeous vegan carrot cake recipe!!! My non vegan husband and son found it delicious too !! Didn’t put walnuts on or in the cake but used a thin layer of vanilla butter cream and grated orange rind on the top (as baked the cake in a 10 inch round tin)

Chloe

Friday 23rd of October 2020

Aw that is so nice to hear, thanks Elaine! Glad you all enjoyed it :)

Creta Panzeri

Sunday 12th of July 2020

Hey Chloe, Thank you for this amazing recipe! My friends devoured the entire cake in few minutes. They usually think vegan cakes are not tasty, but they definitely changed their mind afterwards! :) Best Creta

Chloe

Monday 13th of July 2020

Thank you Creta! I'm so glad you all enjoyed it :)

Sarah

Wednesday 10th of June 2020

Just a quick query.... As I haven't used frosting and just done it as the cake itself, what would the calories be?

Chloe

Wednesday 10th of June 2020

Hi Sarah! The nutrition info is for 1/12th of the carrot cake without frosting. Please note these are just estimates according to the specific brands I used.

Amanda

Monday 11th of May 2020

Can I use fresh ginger?

Chloe

Wednesday 13th of May 2020

Sorry for the late reply Amanda. I don't think fresh ginger would work the same but you can skip it out completely or add more cinnamon in its place if you like :)

Grace

Tuesday 14th of April 2020

Have you ever tried making this gluten free? I’m wanting to make it gluten free for a friend but not sure it would work without the self rising flour. Any thoughts ?

Chloe

Tuesday 14th of April 2020

Hi Grace! I haven't tried making this recipe gluten-free so I can't say for sure... But I think your best bet would be using a gluten-free flour blend (I like Dove's Farm) plus 2 or 3 flax "eggs" to help it bind together. If you can't find self-rising GF flour then you can use an all-purpose blend and just add an extra teaspoon of baking powder and 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda.