Best Vegan Carrot Cake

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Incredibly moist and packed with grated carrots, this secretly healthier version of Vegan Carrot Cake guarantees you will never miss the extra calories.

vegan carrot cake loaf with 3 pieces sliced carrots and milk in background

When I first created this glazed dairy-free carrot cake, my husband couldn’t stop talking about it. He said that absolutely anyone–plant-based or not–that tried it would agree that it’s fabulous. It has become one of my family’s favorite plant-based recipes.

Made with banana, raisins, walnuts, whole grain flour, and applesauce there’s just something charmingly delectable about this culinary masterpiece.

slice of carrot cake with white icing dripping off and white cup of coffee in background

Ingredients needed

This will sound like a lot of ingredients, but I’m betting that many of you will already have most of the items on hand in your plant-based kitchens.

  • Carrots- Freshly grated carrots give this cake loads of flavor and fiber.
  • Raisins- Dried sweet raisins pair perfectly with carrots in desserts.
  • Applesauce- If you don’t have applesauce on hand, it’s really easy make your own.
  • Banana- Mashed banana helps sweeten the cake.
  • Spices- Allspice and cinnamon gives a warm sweet taste and fragrance.
  • Flour- I use a combination of whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour. To make it gluten-free, try using this GF guide from  Minimalist Baker.
  • Baking Powder- Baking soda and baking powder are both used in this recipe.
  • Sweetener- My sweetener of choice for this cake is sucanat, but more options could include date sugar or another less refined sweetener.
  • Maple syrup- I personally love that maple taste in desserts.
  • Vanilla- To give it that warm delicious flavor.
  • Plant Milk- My favorite is unsweetened vanilla almond milk or plain almond milk. Any plant milk will work well.
  • Vinegar- Apple cider vinegar helps this cake rise.
  • Salt- For flavor and to help it rise.
  • Nuts- These are optional, but I really like the crunch they add. Walnut pieces are my favorite, and my husband’s is crushed pecans.

The recipe card at the bottom of the page has the full list of ingredients with measurements and instructions.

How to make vegan carrot cake

Begin making this delectable dairy-free banana carrot cake by preheating the oven to 350°F. Next, prepare the pan you plan to use. I use an 8″ silicone baking dish or glass baking dish lined with parchment paper for this recipe, but you could also use 6″-9″ pans without making any adjustments.

The batter

In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients: flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, sucanat.

oat flour in stainless steel bowl with whisk

In a medium bowl, mash a ripe banana well. Add apple sauce, concentrate, maple syrup, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Whisk together well.

carrot cake wet batter in stainless bowl with potato masher on white background

Grate the carrots or use pre-grated ones from the grocery store. Either one will work just fine in this recipe. Sometimes, just buying them already grated makes things easier and quicker.

grated carrots on cutting board with grater

Add the grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts (if using) to the wet batter and stir together.

stainless bowl with carrot cake wet batter, raisins, carrots, and walnuts

Pour the well-blended wet mixture into a large bowl with dry ingredients and whisk together thoroughly.

This will be a thick batter, and that’s the way you will want it. If, however, it seems overly stiff, add a tiny splash of plant milk.

stainless bowl with vegan carrot cake batter and white spoon

Pour cake batter into an 8″ silicone baking dish or glass baking dish. Place on a baking sheet and put in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted into the middle and come out clean.

vegan carrot cake batter in glass 8" baking dish

Remove the cake from the oven and test for doneness. To do this, insert a toothpick into the center point. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done, otherwise place back into the oven and test again in 5-10 minutes.

Once completely cooked, allow it to cool and remove from the pan.

While this is baking is a good time to make the glaze.

The glaze

The glaze was the trickiest part to figure out but, in the end, I came up with an easy and delicious version. It calls for a combination of tofu, allspice, cinnamon, and vanilla. No cooking is required, only a blender.

The tofu should be silken firm to make it smooth for the glaze. It should also not have been previously frozen.

Drain the tofu completely and place in a blender. Add all other glaze ingredients to the blender or food processor and blend until creamy smooth.

vitamix with carrot cake glaze inside after blended

While the cake is cooking, allow this frosting to chill in the refrigerator.

When the cake has completely cooled, spoon glaze over the top. To make it look even prettier, sprinkle with crushed walnuts and/or a few grated carrots. Serve immediately.

overhead shot of vegan carrot cake in square baking pan with white icing

No one will ever guess that this vegan dessert is completely free of oil, dairy, and eggs making it a heart-healthy option that won’t clog arteries.

Not that long ago, I took it to my mother’s house for Sunday dessert with family, and they all loved it! Hopefully, it will become one of your family’s favorite plant-based recipes too.

*Originally published May 05, 2017.

Adapting for different pan sizes

I use an 8″ silicone baking dish or glass baking dish for this recipe, but you could also use 6″-9″ pans without making any adjustments.

Storing & freezing

Because this cake is made with fresh ingredients, it should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It is also freezer-friendly for approximately 3 months.

Is vegan carrot cake healthy?

Though this cake has sugar as an ingredient, it is loaded with healthy ingredients like whole grain flour, fresh carrots, raisins, bananas, and applesauce. Compared to traditional carrot cake, this recipe is much lower in calories and fat and has zero cholesterol.

Serving suggestions & substitutions

  • Gluten Free- This vegan carrot cake is not gluten-free, but this link to the Minimalist Baker will help adjust it for those that want to give it a try.
  • Soy Allergies- For those avoiding soy, you might try using cashews as a substitute for tofu in the glaze.
  • Cupcakes- Want to make cupcakes instead of cake? I make cupcakes all the time with this batter. Just use a muffin pan and reduce the cooking time to 20-25 minutes.

Other great vegan dessert recipes

For those of you new to the whole food plant-based lifestyle, we’ve created a FREE 7-Day Plant-Based Menu Planner to help you get started!

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vegan carrot cake loaf with 3 pieces sliced carrots and milk in background
4.51 from 75 votes

Glazed Vegan Carrot Cake

Despite it's name, carrot cake is not usually a healthy option for dessert. That is, until now!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients 

Vegan Carrot Cake

  • 1 cup whole wheat or spelt flour link to help make gluten-free below
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup sucanat or other dry sweetener
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ripe banana mashed
  • 3/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple juice concentrate from frozen
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2-1/2 cups carrots grated
  • 1/4 cup walnuts chopped, optional
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Glaze

  • 1/2 block silken tofu (6-7 oz)
  • 1.5 tablespoons sucanat or other dry sweetener
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

Vegan Carrot Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Next, prepare the pan you plan to use. I use an 8" silicone baking dish or glass baking dish lined with parchment paper for this recipe, but you could also use 6"-9" pans without making any adjustments.
  • In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients: flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, sucanat or other sugar
  • In a medium bowl, mash a ripe banana well. Add apple sauce, concentrate, maple syrup, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Whisk together well.
  • Grate the carrots or use pre-grated ones from the grocery store. Add the grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts (if using) to the wet batter and stir together.
  • Pour the well-blended wet mixture into a large bowl with dry ingredients and whisk together thoroughly.
  • Pour cake batter into an 8" silicone baking dish or glass baking dish. Place on a baking sheet and put in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted into the middle and come out clean.
  • While this is baking is a good time to make the glaze.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and test for doneness. To do this, insert a toothpick into the center point. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done, otherwise place back into the oven and test again in 5-10 minutes.
  • Once completely cooked, allow it to cool and remove from the pan.

Glaze

  • The tofu should be silken firm to make it smooth for the glaze. Drain tofu completely and place in blender.
  • Add all other glaze ingredients to the blender or food processor and blend until creamy smooth. While the cake is cooking, allow this to chill in the refrigerator.
  • When cake has cooled, spoon glaze over the top and serve immediately. To make it look even prettier, sprinkle with crushed walnuts and/or a few grated carrots. Serve immediately.

Video

Notes

Serving Suggestions & Substitutions
  1. Storage- Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  2. Gluten Free- This vegan carrot cake is not gluten-free, but this link to the Minimalist Baker will help adjust it for those that want to give it a try.
  3. Soy Allergies- For those avoiding soy, you might try using cashews as a substitute for tofu in the glaze.
  4. Cupcakes- Want to make cupcakes instead of cake? I make cupcakes all the time with this batter. Just use a muffin pan and reduce the cooking time to 20-25 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 219kcal | Carbohydrates: 44.6g | Protein: 5.2g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 256mg | Fiber: 5.6g | Sugar: 15g

Disclaimer

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

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About Terri Edwards

Hi guys! I am the content creator behind EatPlant-Based and a licensed Food for Life instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. I am passionate about sharing healthy recipes and tips to empower others to get healthy.  I’m so glad you’re here! Read More…

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68 Comments

  1. Terri I couldn’t
    Find apple juice concentrate at the store. Can you suggest a good substitute please? TIA

    1. The apple juice concentrate is in the freezer section near breakfast foods or frozen fruit usually. You might try adding a little more maple syrup as a sub.

  2. Quick question, are we diluting the apple juice as on the can’s directions or using the concentrate undiluted? Thank you!

  3. This brings up such wonderful memories of carrot cakes in my childhood and the carrot cake my cousin made for my wedding. Her recipe had pineapple in it. Any thoughts how I might be able to switch some ingredients out to include crushed pineapple? Thank you for all you do for us!

    1. Sally- Adding a little crushed pineapple sounds delicious for this recipe. You might consider reducing the applesauce down to 1/4 cup and adding in a 1/2 cup of crushed pineapple to see how that works. It sounds yummy to me!

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