Carrot cake is one of my all time favorite desserts. I was craving it this weekend and decided to “veganize” a traditional carrot cake recipe. This vegan version of classic carrot cake is not too sweet and not dry. This cake made my entire apartment smell so good! The cinnamon and nutmeg really complement the carrot flavor. Grating carrots is definitely not my favorite pastime, but it’s worth it for this scrumptious cake! Because vegan cakes don’t use eggs, they don’t rise as much as traditional cakes. This is why the layers of this cake aren’t as thick as it’s traditional counterpart. I used vegan cream cheese to make the decadent icing. I prefer the Kite Hill brand as its texture is easy to work with and contains no soy (it’s made with almonds). I don’t recommend using the Daiya brand as it has a really tough texture. If you’re not avoiding soy, Toffuti brand vegan cream cheese should also work well but it contains many processed ingredients.
Flax eggs are a great substitute for regular eggs in vegan baking. Once the flax powder is mixed with water, it turns into a thick, egg-like sludge which acts as a binder for the cake. I lowered the amount of oil for this recipe and added extra applesauce instead – this made it taste rich without extra fat. Walnuts are a traditional topping for carrot cake but I decided to change it up a little and add coconut instead. I had my friends over for this cake and they pretty much devoured it! It’s rich, moist, and super tasty without being too sweet! The cream cheese frosting is super creamy and can be used as a decadent dip for things like pretzels as well. I love making carrot cake in the spring and found this recipe to be simple and really delicious. If you make it, make sure to take a picture and tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Facebook and Instagram or Pin this recipe on Pinterest!
Vegan Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 “flax eggs” (whisk 2 tbs flaxseed powder in 6 tbs water and let sit for 10 minutes)
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 cups grated carrots (medium packed)
- 1 1/2 cups organic light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup organic granulated sugar (such as turbinado)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract For the cream cheese frosting:
- 1 (8oz) package of vegan cream cheese, softened (such as Kite Hill brand)
- 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened (such as Earth Balance brand)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups organic powdered sugar Optional topping:
- 1/4 cup grated coconut
DirectionsPreheat oven to 350F. Grease to 9 inch round baking pans with vegan butter and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the wet ingredients – flax eggs, canola oil, applesauce, grated carrots, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract on low speed for about 1 minute. Combine dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt in a separate, medium sized bowl. Add dry ingredients into stand mixer bowl in two to three batches while mixing on low speed. Mix for about 2 minutes (do not over mix). Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure ingredients are evenly combined. Pour batter evenly into both 9 inch baking pans. Bake for about 35-38 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back to touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool for about 30 minutes before frosting. Prepare frosting while cake is cooling. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add softened cream cheese, softened butter, and vanilla extract and whisk at medium speed until well combined. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and whisk on medium speed until frosting is smooth. Place one layer of the cooled cake on a cake stand and frost with about 1/2 the frosting. Next, add second layer of cake and top with remainder of frosting. Store leftover cake in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.