EASY VEGAN CARROT CAKE RECIPE WITH FROSTING
EASY VEGAN CARROT CAKE RECIPE WITH VEGAN FROSTING
This moist, nutty, vegan carrot cake packed with warm and fragrant spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and fresh ginger is a true family favorite. The secret to this cake is adding baby carrot food to the batter, a tip I got from Vegetarian Times years ago! I also like to add pineapple for sweetness, fresh ginger for spice, and walnuts for crunch. From the very first bite you can taste the silky-smooth, sweet coconut cream cheese (vegan) frosting, and we all know that a good frosting is the best part of any cake! This does take some time to put together, but it’s a great weekend project and I promise it will be worth it -- you and your loved ones will love it!
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Allergens: Soy, Tree Nuts, Wheat
- Servings: 12
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 4 flax eggs (4 tablespoons flax meal + 8 tablespoons water)
- 3 cups carrots (grated)
- 2 6-ounce cans crushed pineapple (well drained)
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger (finely grated)
- 1 1/2 cups walnuts (crushed)
- 4 ounce baby carrot food or carrot pure
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Coconut Cream Frosting
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 1 cup vegan cream cheese
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon guar gum
- 1 vanilla bean
- Walnuts (chopped)
- Cayenne Pepper
- 2 8-inch round cake pans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush 2 8-inch round cake pans with oil and line bottoms with parchment.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. Set aside.
In large bowl, whisk together oil, both kinds of sugars, carrot puree, ginger, and vanilla extract until smooth (about 2 minutes).
Add flax eggs and mix well.
Incorporate flour mixture into liquid ingredients in 2 additions.
Gently fold in carrots, pineapple, and nuts. Take care not to over-mix!
Divide batter between 2 cake pans and bake until toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean (about 50 minutes).
Remove cakes from oven, place pans on wire rack, and let cool for 10 minutes.
Run knife around edges of pans and invert cakes on cooling rack, then let cool completely. Most of the cream cheese frosting is made with coconut cream and is not very stable at room temperature. You don't want the top layer to slip off the other bottom layer so make sure they aren’t even the slightest bit warm.
Split and scrape vanilla bean.
In bowl, mix vegan cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla with handheld mixer until creamy. Set aside.
In another bowl, whip coconut cream and gum until stiff, then carefully fold in vegan cream cheese.
Chill for at least 30 minutes before spreading. (It will firm up a bit).
Assemby and Garnish
Place one cake layer on cake platter.
Spread 1 cup frosting over top of cake, then place second cake on top of that.
Spread remaining frosting over top of second cake and sides of both.
Sprinkle top and sides with crushed walnuts and lightly dust with Cayenne pepper.
HOW TO MAKE SUPER MOIST VEGAN CARROT CAKE?
The secret to this cake is adding baby carrot food to the batter, a tip I got from the Vegetarian Times years ago! That’s right, 100% pureed carrots in a jar ready to be used; no pureeing necessary. To keep things traditional and provide texture to the cake, I added plenty of shredded carrots but I think the addition of baby carrot food contributes even more naturally sweet carrot flavor to the cake. In fact, many food historians believe carrot cake originated from carrot puddings eaten by Europeans in the Middle Ages, when sugar and sweeteners were expensive and many people used carrots as a substitute for sugar, according to wikikpedia.
While baby food in a cake may not sound like the most appetizing ingredient, I promise you won’t even notice it. If you’ve ever baked a dessert using applesauce instead of oil such as in my Banana Bread with Nuts & Figs recipe, you can now add another low-fat ingredient into your repertoire-baby carrot food. It provides softness and moistness to the cake without weighing it down with extra calories. The inclusion of pineapple may also come as a surprise to you, but it adds a sweet-tart flavor and lots of moisture to the cake.
WHAT CAN I SUBSTITUTE FOR EGGS IN VEGAN CARROT CAKE?
Classic carrot cake recipes are pretty much vegan except for the fact that they contain eggs. Eggs can act as a binder, giving strength and structure to baked goods. To emulate this binding action, my recipe uses a flax egg which is just 1 part flax meal, and 2 parts water combined for 10 minutes until thick, gelatinous paste forms. Be sure to use ground flax (aka flax meal) as the seeds won’t yield the same result.
HOW DO YOU MAKE VEGAN CREAM CHEESE FROSTING FROM SCRATCH?
This cream cheese frosting is literal heaven. Use it to spread on top of this carrot cake and save the rest to eat with a spoon straight out of the bowl! It’s that addicting. It’s not overly sweet and has the perfect tang that complements the sweet and moist carrot cake. It pairs perfectly with carrots so I repurpose it and add dollops of this frosting to my Carrot Halwa recipe.
Here’s everything we need to make vegan cream cheese frosting…
- Coconut cream: Try to find canned full-fat heavy coconut cream (not milk) for this (I like Let’s do…Organic brand)
- Vegan cream cheese: This is the main ingredient in our cream cheese frosting so try not to skip it. I only had Toffuti brand cream cheese on hand but I think Kite Hill brand cream cheese will make this taste even better as it’s more natural-tasting and has better ingredients.
- Powdered sugar: Aka confectioners’ sugar. Confectioners’ sugar behaves differently than granulated sugar such as cane sugar. I use confectioners’ sugar in frostings and icings because it provides a smooth consistency and dissolves easily into the frosting when blending.
- Vanilla bean: To open your vanilla bean you may need to put it into hot water for a few minutes if it’s too firm and not easily sliceable. Either way, split it in half vertically with a small paring knife and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Vanilla bean tends to be really expensive so a proper conversion for vanilla flavor would be 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract=1 (2-inch) vanilla bean.
Follow these easy steps…
- Take 2 large bowls. In one bowl, mix vegan cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla with a handheld or stand mixer until it starts to form peaks and is nice and smooth.
- In another bowl, whip coconut cream and gum until stiff, then carefully fold in the vegan cream cheese mixture from the first bowl.
- Chill the bowl with the frosting in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Remove, stir, and start spreading it onto the cake layers. This vegan cream cheese is made with coconut cream, which turns solid at temperatures less than 75 degrees F. If you use the frosting right away without chilling, it may melt and start to drip down the sides of the cake.
CAN I USE THIS RECIPE TO MAKE CUPCAKES INSTEAD OF CAKE?
I’ve tested this recipe and made regular-sized cupcakes in the past, and it worked pretty well! Instead of separating the batter and making two layers of the cake, just spoon the batter into your muffin tin. First, line a muffin tray with paper liners (this will make cleaning so much easier for you) and carefully spoon some of the batter a little more than halfway up each muffin cup, being careful not to load it to the top as it will expand and rise in the oven. The cake takes 50 minutes to bake but cupcakes are going to take way less time. I recommend doing a test cupcake and checking on it after 15 minutes with a toothpick inserted into the center to see if it comes out dry. Most cupcake recipes take around 20 minutes to finish baking. Then, once they’re done baking, place the frosting in a piping bag (or a ziplock bag with the tip cut off) and spread it on each muffin. Plan to get about 20-24 cupcakes from this batter recipe.
I can’t wait for you to try it. Please leave your comments below and tell me how you served this dish! Also, share or tag us on social media @veggiecurean.