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A 4 tiered slice of frosted carrot cake on a white plate with the whole cake in the background.

Vegan Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This classic carrot cake recipe is dairy-free, egg-free, and can be made gluten-free. It's perfect for Easter, Mother's day, or whenever you need a delicious cake.
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Vegan
Keyword: carrot cake, cream cheese frosting
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 667kcal
Author: Linda Meyer
Cost: $12

Equipment

  • mixer
  • food processor
  • Oven

Ingredients

  • 3 cups shredded carrots – approximately 5 large carrots
  • 1 cup pecans - finely chopped use any nut you like
  • 1 cup raisins

Dry Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour See Note
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground sea salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce read the substitutions list in the content for other options
  • 3/4 cup of coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups unsweetened plant-based milk oat or pea protein is preferred

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 tablespoon vegan butter room temperature
  • 8 ounce vegan cream cheese room temperature
  • 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar sift if lumpy

For the Nut Based Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked in water for at least 4 hours or boiled in water for 10 minutes
  • 1 cup plus 1 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions

For the Buttermilk

  • Whisk the 2 cups plant milk and 1 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and let sit while you prepare the cake batter.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Whip the 8 tbsp of butter until creamy, then add the 8 ounces of cream cheese and whip until light and creamy.
  • Add one cup of powdered sugar at a time and beat until you get the consistency that you’re looking for.

For the Nut Based Cream Cheese Frosting

  • When the cashews are soft and puffy, drain and rinse and put in a high powered blender. Add the 1 cup plus 1 tbsp of coconut milk, ½ cup melted coconut butter, ¼ cup agave nectar or maple syrup, 1 tbsp vanilla extract, and 1 tbsp lemon juice and blend until thick and creamy. You shouldn’t be able to detect any solids. If you do, scrape the sides and continue blending. Scrape out of the blender into a bowl and cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

For the Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (176˚C) and grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans, or line them with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
  • Shred the carrots in a food processor or with a box grater. Set aside
  • Chop the pecans with a food processor or a knife. Set aside. (You can purchase chopped nuts but they’re generally more expensive than whole nuts.)
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the 3 cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground nutmeg, ½ tsp ground allspice, ½ tsp ground ginger, and ½ tsp salt until combined.
  • In a large mixing bowl mix the 1 cup applesauce, ¾ cup coconut sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla extract on medium high until light and fluffy. Approximately one minute.
  • On a low speed add one quarter of the dry ingredients to the applesauce mixture and blend until just combined. Add one quarter of the buttermilk while blending the flour into the sugar. Continue adding one quarter of flour and one quarter of the buttermilk until all of the flour mixture and milk is combined. Don’t over beat the mixture or the batter will become tough.
  • When the dry and wet ingredients are just blended, remove the mixing bowl from the mixer and scrape the batter off of the mixing paddle into the bowl, then fold the carrots, pecans, and raisins into the mixture until evenly combined.
  • Pour half of the batter into one cake pan and the other half into the second cake pan.
  • Tap the pans on a hard surface a few times to remove air bubbles and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the tops are firm and slightly cracked and a toothpick comes out clean. Check them at 25 minutes as some ovens bake faster than others.
  • Cool in the pans for 5 minutes and then invert them onto a wire rack and let them cool completely before frosting.

Assembly

  • Put one cake on a platter and frost the top, then place the second cake on top and frost the top and the sides. We made 2 batches of cake batter for a 4-tiered cake.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

NUTRTION DISCLAIMER
FLOUR – all-purpose flour or cake flour will make the best cake, for a denser cake, use whole wheat or all-purpose gluten-free flours.
STORAGE/FREEZING – This cake must be stored in the refrigerator or the frosting will spoil. Freeze the unfrosted cakes in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Freezing will dry them out a bit. Do NOT freeze the cream cheese frosting.

Nutrition

Serving: 100g | Calories: 667kcal | Carbohydrates: 91g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 408mg | Potassium: 501mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 46g | Vitamin A: 5870IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 4mg