Ready for spring, this Vegan Carrot Cake is easy to make and packed with grated carrots! This super moist, simple spiced cake recipe has a homemade vegan cream cheese frosting and finished with chopped nuts.
Looking for the BEST Vegan Carrot Cake recipe? This is it! Loaded with comforting spices, this moist vegan carrot cake recipe is so simple you’ll want to make every weekend. With just 12 ingredients, you can enjoy a delicious, comforting dessert without eggs or dairy. Plus it all comes together in just one bowl!
There are many recipes for carrot cake on the internet, and every single one has their own secret for making a moist cake. Some use applesauce, and others use canned pineapple. We don’t use either of those. Instead we achieve a perfectly moist vegan carrot cake by a combination of oil, non-dairy milk, and carbonated water!
Top tips for making the BEST Vegan Carrot Cake recipe:
- Weigh your ingredients. Baking can be difficult. Even the slightest difference in ingredient volume can drastically change flavour and texture. To help avoid baking mishaps we highly recommend that you purchase a kitchen scale and use the weighted volumes in this recipe.
- Grate the carrots finely. We suggest using a regular cheese grater or smaller for the carrots. Thick pieces can throw off the texture of the finished recipe. We like to use a regular cheese grater for this as we find the carrot shreds melt into the bake batter really well!
- Don’t overmix the cake batter. This is a general rule for a lot of baking, but don’t over-mix the batter. Mix until JUST combined and no more to avoid a dense cake.
- Allow the cake to fully cool before icing. This vegan cream cheese frosting will melt with even the slightest rise in temperature. Be sure to cool the cake completely before icing the cake. If you need to speed up the process you can stick the cake near a drafty window or in the fridge for a few minutes, but if you have the time it’s best to cool at room temperature.
- Sprinkle with your favourite toppings! We like to top our finished and iced cake with some chopped pecans and walnuts for extra crunch. Though if you’re allergic you can top with a sprinkle of cinnamon or even some toasted coconut or shredded carrots.
Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe FAQ:
Why is there no butter in carrot cake?
Carrot cake is oil-based to avoid a dry cake! It keeps the cake moist and ready to eat for days after baking.
What is the best oil for baking cakes?
We like to use neutral oils where possible, to ensure that it doesn’t affect the flavour of the cake. Our favourite is canola oil or vegetable oil because it’s neutral and light in flavour so it doesn’t affect the final baked good.
What makes this cake light and fluffy?
Because this cake is completely plant-based, we can’t use eggs to add volume to the cake. Instead we use carbonated water! A trick we learned from The Kitchn, carbonated water makes for a fluffly cake that is exactly like it’s non-vegan counterpart.
Can I use melted butter instead of oil?
While you can use melted vegan butter instead, we recommend using canola oil. Canola oil creates a more traditional carrot cake and a perfect crumb.
How to make Vegan Carrot Cake:
Vegan Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Carrot Cake Batter:
- 150 g (1¼ cup) all-purpose flour
- 10 g (2 tsp) baking powder
- 5 g (1 tsp) baking soda
- 9 g (1 tbsp) cinnamon
- 3 g (1 tsp) nutmeg
- 1 g (½ tsp) ginger powder
- ½ g (¼ tsp) cloves
- 60 mL (¼ cup) canola oil
- 50 g (¼ cup) brown sugar
- 120 mL (½ cup) non-dairy milk
- 60 mL (¼ cup) carbonated water
- 5 mL (1 tsp) vanilla extract
- 140 g (1 cup) shredded carrots
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 227 g vegan cream cheese
- 600 g (3 cups) icing sugar
- 5 mL (1 tsp) clear vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350°F
- In a medium bowl combine all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves – mix until combined.
- To the dry ingredients add canola oil, brown sugar, non-dairy milk, carbonated water, and vanilla extract – mix with a rubber spatula until just combined. Add in the shredded carrot and mix until combined. Do not overmix.
- Line an 8x8" baking dish with parchment paper and spray with some non-stick cooking spray. Pour batter into lined baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool completely.
- To make the vegan cream cheese frosting beat vegan cream cheese in a stand mixer until light and creamy. Add icing sugar and vanilla extract and beat until smooth and creamy. Set aside until the cake has cooled completely.
- Top the cooled cake with vegan cream cheese frosting and if desired sprinkle with chopped nuts.
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