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Best Vegan Carrot Cake

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 apple sauce 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

You’ll love this cake because it’s…

  • Moist
  • Perfectly sweet
  • Healthy
  • Carrot-packed
  • Dairy-free
  • Egg-free
  • Delicious

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How to make vegan carrot cake

Begin making this delectable dairy-free banana carrot cake by preheating the oven to 350°F.

A full list of ingredients, measurements, instructions, and a print button can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Making 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

Full list of ingredients, measurements, instructions, and print button can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this page.

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

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.

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 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 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.

Your Questions Answered:

Q: Is vegan carrot cake healthy?

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

Q: Can this cake be made gluten-free?

A: 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.

Q: I can’t have soy. What else can I use for the frosting?

A: For those avoiding soy, you might try using cashews as a substitute for tofu in the glaze.

Q: How can I adapt this cake for different cake pan sizes?

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

Q: Can I make cupcakes?

A: Absolutely! I make cupcakes all the time with this batter.

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Other great vegan dessert recipes

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

Glazed Vegan Carrot Cake

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Despite it's name, carrot cake is not usually a healthy option for dessert. That is, until now!

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 tsp allspice
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 3/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple juice concentrate, from frozen
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2-1/2 cups carrots, grated
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped, optional
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Glaze

Instructions

Vegan Carrot Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients: flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, sucanat.
  3. In a medium bowl, mash a ripe banana well. Add apple sauce, concentrate, maple syrup, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Whisk together well.
  4. 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.
  5. Pour the well-blended wet mixture into a large bowl with dry ingredients and whisk together thoroughly.
  6. 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.
  7. While this is baking is a good time to make the glaze.
  8. 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.
  9. Once completely cooked, allow it to cool and remove from the pan.

Glaze

  1. The tofu should be silken firm to make it smooth for the glaze. Drain tofu completely and place in blender.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Notes

Detailed instructions, in-process photos, and my personal helpful tips can be found in the article above.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 219Total Fat: 3gSodium: 256mgCarbohydrates: 44.6gFiber: 5.6gSugar: 15gProtein: 5.2g

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.

Did you make this recipe?

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jo

Wednesday 4th of November 2020

My husband and I loved this cake - I made it for MY birthday. I left out the sucanat to cut out added sugars and it was delicious. p.s. the cake took 60 minutes to bake.

Terri Edwards

Wednesday 4th of November 2020

Hi Jo- Happy birthday! I'm so glad that you and your husband liked the cake. :D

Cyd Notter

Friday 24th of July 2020

Just made this for the first time and it is delicious! It's on the moist side for sure, which I love, but because my husband is a "texture" guy who likes his cake more dry, I wonder what would happen if I "re-bake" it for a while. Any thoughts? Thanks!

Terri Edwards

Saturday 25th of July 2020

Hi Cyd- I think baking it a little longer would work just fine. Also, next time you make it, you could add a little less applesauce. I'm glad you liked it!

Catherine Kushnefr

Thursday 25th of June 2020

Hi! Please let me know how to make this recipe gluten free. Thanks so much! I'm excited to try it as carrot cake has always been the favorite for me and my husband!

Terri Edwards

Thursday 25th of June 2020

Hi Catherine- I haven't made this cake gluten-free before, but Minimalist Baker has a great guide for converting recipes to gluten-free. https://minimalistbaker.com/diy-gluten-free-flour-blend/

Drenda

Monday 15th of June 2020

Wonderful the first time around with coffee with friends & family in the afternoon ....and then I refrigerated the left-overs and served at breakfast the next morning ... ALL OCCASION DELICIOUSNESS!!!! :D

Terri Edwards

Tuesday 16th of June 2020

YAY! Did you notice the new pictures? The old ones from 2015 were not great, so I did a new photoshoot to do the recipe justice. So glad you like it! :D

Meg Curtis

Monday 20th of April 2020

I already commented however I was remiss in sharing that I did not have pastry flour, so I used 2 T less flour and added 2 T cornstarch. I also increased the maple syrup and applesauce as Terri recommends, if you don't have frozen apple juice concentrate. The cake was delicious!

Terri Edwards

Monday 20th of April 2020

Such great feedback and ideas for subs! Thanks SO MUCH!