Our vegan carrot cake is an easy-to-make, one-layer cake with simple ingredients you already have in your pantry.
It’s packed with flavor, it’s moist, and unlike most carrot cake recipes, ours does not contain a ton of sugar or oil. Try it, and you’ll never bake any other carrot cake again!
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Carrot cake can be easily made vegan (that is, without eggs, butter, or milk) and with very simple ingredients.
The flavor of vegan carrot cake is just as rich, and the texture is as soft and moist as that of a regular carrot cake.
The secret is getting the correct ratio of liquids, carrots, and flour. Follow our recipe to make the simplest and most delicious vegan carrot cake you’ll ever eat.
Also, our carrot cake contains less sugar and oil than most recipes you’ll find online, but it’s still flavorful and delicious.
Despite having less sugar, less oil, and no eggs, this cake’s taste is incredible and rich, and the texture is light and moist, just like the carrot cake of your best dreams.
Serve it as is, or top it with our creamy and zesty vegan cream cheese and lemon frosting.
You can bake this cake round, square, or rectangular; it will be delicious, whatever shape you choose.
Use whole carrots that you grate at home. Pre-grated carrots are too dry to make an excellent and moist carrot cake.
We recommend grating the carrots with the small holes of a box grater or a food processor with a grating disc attachment.
Finely grated carrots melt in the batter and are more pleasant to eat than coarsely grated ones.
Use all-purpose flour for the best results.
You can also use half-all-purpose and half-whole wheat flour. The whole wheat flour adds a nutty flavor to the cake, but it makes it less moist.
We haven’t tried gluten-free flour and are unsure if it can handle all the moisture in the batter. However, if you try, do let us know.
We add cinnamon, grated nutmeg, and freshly grated ginger.
We also love adding allspice and a pinch of clove, but those are optional.
It helps the cake rise and makes it lighter.
This vegan carrot cake recipe does not need baking soda or apple cider vinegar.
Use salt to bring out the flavor of the other ingredients. You won’t taste it, don’t worry. If you are on a low-sodium diet, omit the salt.
We like to use brown cane sugar to add the right amount of moisture and sweetness. White sugar works too.
You can use coconut sugar or date paste if you don’t want regular sugar.
If you do so, remember that the cake will be less sweet, moister, and with a more natural taste.
Almond milk is our favorite in carrot cake, but other plant milk would work, including soy milk and oat milk.
We use sunflower seed oil or canola oil. You can replace sunflower oil with any other neutral vegetable oil.
Unrefined vegetable oils are marginally healthier but will make your cake taste funny, so we don’t recommend them.
You could replace oil with melted coconut oil or vegan butter, but they make the cake heavier.
Make it oil-free by substituting applesauce for the oil.
Optional, although always welcome. It adds a warm flavor to the carrot cake.
Optional, but we recommend adding some chopped walnuts. You can replace walnuts with pecan nuts.
They are optional but add some natural sweetness to the cake and make it delicious.
Note: there is absolutely no need for flax eggs in this vegan carrot cake.
Vegan Cream Cheese and Lemon Frosting
We make a delicious vegan cream cheese frosting by whisking together vegan butter, dairy-free cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon zest or lime zest.
Note: different countries have different brands of dairy-free cream cheese. In the US, some good ones are Kite Hill, Daya, or store brands like Aldi and Trader Joe’s. In Europe, we like VioLife and Simply V.
This cake is best in an 8-Inch square baking pan (20 x 20 cm). This way, you’ll get the moistest and tastiest cake with a soft crumb.
It also comes out really well in a 9-Inch square baking pan (23 x 23), in a 9-Inch round cake pan (23 cm), or an 11×7-Inch rectangular baking dish (28 x 18 cm).
Yes, we tested all of these because we love this carrot cake!
Grate the carrots
Preheat the oven to 340°F or 170°C. Butter the sides of your pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Wash and peel the carrots, then grate them with the small holes of a box grater. Set aside.
You can also use a food processor with a grating attachment or an electric grater.
Tip: finely grated carrots melt in the batter as the cake cooks, releasing moisture and carrot flavor evenly, making the cake perfectly moist and delicious.
Make the cake batter
To a large mixing bowl, add all-purpose flour, sugar, cinnamon, grated nutmeg, allspice, salt, and baking powder.
Whisk dry ingredients until well combined.
Now add non-dairy milk (we use almond milk), oil (we use canola oil), vanilla extract, and grated ginger, and stir with a spoon/spatula until barely combined (15 seconds). Don’t over-mix it.
Note: overmixing will activate the flour gluten and make your cake denser and less fluffy, so mix as little as possible. We do not recommend using an electric mixer for this recipe.
Add the grated carrots
Add grated carrots, chopped walnuts, and raisins, and fold them in.
The batter should be pretty thick as the carrots release moisture while baking.
Bake the vegan carrot cake
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
Bake in the oven at 340°F or 170C for about 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.
Let the vegan carrot cake cool down for 15 minutes in the pan, then transfer it onto a wire rack and cool down completely, or for about 3 hours.
Make the frosting
Add softened vegan butter, the zest of one lemon, and the vanilla extract to a bowl.
Whisk with a hand mixer until the butter turns creamy.
Add the cream cheese and beat with a hand mixer until combined.
Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.
Store it in the fridge to set if you don’t apply it to the cake immediately.
Tip: you can add between 1 and 4 cups of powdered sugar based on your taste. We like it with 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar.
When the cake has cooled down, spread the frosting on top, slice it and enjoy.
You can garnish with chopped walnut or coconut flakes on top.
Italian carrot and orange cake
Follow our Italian carrot cake recipe and try a surprisingly easy, zesty carrot and orange cake. This one is extra moist and packed with flavor. Plus, you can make it with no effort in a blender. We love it!
Carrot cake cupcakes or muffins
Transfer the cake batter to a 12-piece muffin pan and bake in a preheated oven at 340°F or 170°C for 20 to 25 minutes.
You can serve them for breakfast as they are or apply frosting for an indulgent snack or dessert.
Carrot cake donuts
Aren’t they cute? You need donut molds, fill them, and bake them at 340°F or 170°C for about 20 minutes.
You can use this vegan carrot cake recipe or our Italian carrot cake recipe for these little ones. They are cute and delicious.
You can substitute milk, dairy-free milk, yogurt, dairy-free yogurt, or applesauce for eggs in carrot cake.
What’s most important is to get the ratio of dry and wet ingredients right. Follow our recipe to make a delicious vegan carrot cake with simple ingredients.
Vegan cakes rise thanks to baking powder, or in some cases, cream of tartar, a natural alternative to baking powder.
Ensure your baking powder is fresh and hasn’t been sitting in your pantry open for too long.
Make Ahead & Storage
Make Ahead: carrot cake is excellent to make ahead as it needs to cool down for at least 3 hours before you can eat it. You can safely make it up to 24 hours ahead, and it’ll taste delicious.
Refrigerator: If you apply the frosting, store the carrot cake in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Room temperature: If you didn’t apply the frosting, store the carrot cake at room temperature under a cake dome or in a food-grade plastic bag for up to 5 days.
Freezer: let the vegan carrot cake cool down completely, transfer it into a freezer-friendly bag, and freeze it for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving it. Freezing without frosting is easiest.
More Vegan Cake Recipes
If you’re curious about easy cake recipes that you can make with simple ingredients, check out these sweet ideas:
Vegan Carrot Cake
- Box grater with small holes
- 8-Inch square baking pan (20 cm) or 9-Inch square baking pan (23 cm), 9-Inch round cake pan (23 cm), or 11×7 rectangular baking dish (28 x 18 cm).
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar we use brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon all spice optional
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup dairy-free milk we use almond milk
- ⅓ cup canola oil or sunflower oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 inch ginger grated
- 2½ cups carrots finely grated
- ¾ cup walnuts coarsely chopped
- ½ cup raisins
- 2 ounces vegan butter
- ½ lemon the grated zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 ounces vegan cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 340°F or 170°C. Butter the sides of your pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Peel, then grate 2½ cups carrots with the small holes of a box grater. Set aside.
- To a large bowl, add 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup sugar, 3 teaspoons cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon all spice, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, 1 tablespoon baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Whisk well and set aside.
- To the same bowl, add ¾ cup dairy-free milk, ⅓ cup canola oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 inch ginger (peeled and grated), and stir with a spoon/spatula until barely combined. Don't overmix it.
- Add the grated carrots, ¾ cup walnuts (chopped), and ½ cup raisins, and fold them in.
- Transfer to the cake pan and bake in the oven at 340°F or 170°C for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.
- Let it cool down completely – about 3 hours – before frosting it or eating it.
- Add 2 ounces vegan butter (softened at room temperature), ½ lemon (the grated zest), and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to a bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until creamy.
- Add 4 ounces vegan cream cheese and beat until combined, then add 1 cup powdered sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.
- Apply frosting on top of the carrot cake, cut into squares and enjoy. You can garnish with crushed walnuts.
If you liked this vegan carrot cake, you might also like the following: