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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If you try this recipe, please let us know how you like it by rating it and leaving a comment. We love to hear from you!

vegan carrot cake loaf with 3 pieces sliced carrots and milk in background
4.52 from 74 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
  • 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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62 Comments

  1. Thanks Terri! I used an 8×8 stainless steel pan and lined it with parchment paper to be on the safe side. I cooked it for 30 mins and it came out fine. Love the cake, but I may have to redo the frosting. I used half of a 16 oz block of silken tofu and it’s kind of runny. I tried it on a slice and it doesn’t really enhance it. I was not able to find the 12 oz silken tofu I usually buy (stores are so low on some stock!) but I plan to try the frosting again using that. Thanks for your input!

  2. Can you please clarify? The recipe states 1/2 block silken tofu. I read that to mean HALF a block of either 12oz or 16 oz. But based on your last entry you’re saying use one entire 16 oz block of silken tofu?

    1. Dorthy- You are right, it is only half of the tofu block. I haven’t made this recipe in a while and didn’t go back to look at the recipe until just now. Sorry for the confusion. Did you drain all of the water from the tofu before using it? The only liquid in the glaze is 2 tsp lemon juice and 1 tsp of vanilla, so it shouldn’t be too runny. It’s not thick like a regular frosting but should be about the thickness in the photo. Is that how yours looked?

  3. I think it was the tofu I used. It said “silken” on the container but it was not as firm as the brand I usually purchase. I also think I might have used too much of it. It did not look like the photo. Oh well! There’s always next time! Thanks Terri!

  4. I made this for the first time a couple weeks ago, and my 70-year old husband said it was the BEST carrot cake he has ever had! He had been vegan for 6 years, so he was eating carrot cake made with oil and all the other unhealthy ingredients for many years before this! I, too, love this recipe! Thanks so much Terri!

  5. 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!

  6. 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!!!! 😀

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

    1. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. Hi Terri,
    Thank you for posting the recipe.
    I am not familiar with cup sizes. Is it a capacity measurement, such that I can use one tea cup and measure using the same cup throughout?
    I look forward to trying out this recipe.
    Emma

    1. Hi Emma, The developers of the recipe card I use are currently working on a system that will allow both US and metric measurements, so stay tuned. Until then, this might help: 1 cup (US) 8 ounces 236.6 milliliters

  11. I would like to make this for Easter and I will have a lot of guests so I’m wanting to do it in a 9 x 13 pan. Do you think doubling the recipe would be about right for that and also how long do you think I should bake it? Thanks… love your recipes!

    1. Hi Debbie- Doubling the recipe should be about right for a 9×13 pan. For the cooking time, I would check it at about the 30-minute mark. Insert a toothpick into the middle. When it comes out clean, the cake is done. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  12. I am looking forward to making this recipe. However, I cannot eat bananas. Is there an alternative/substitution I can use?

  13. Hello, I am dying to make this cake! I love that is vegan AND oil free! My question is, can I use regular “soft” tofu for this recipe? They only had soft “silken” tofu at the market not silken firm as the recipe calls for. I went to 3 different stores and could not find silken firm. The clerk said I could use the regular tofu but buy the soft texture and it should work. What do you think? Also, I don’t want to greese the pans but they are stainless not silicone. Do I need to grease them or should I use parchment to be safe? Thank you for posting this wonderful recipe!

    1. Denise- I love that you are excited to make this cake. Yes, you can use the regular soft tofu for this recipe. Lining the pan with parchment paper is a great way to make it completely oil-free. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

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