I love carrot cakes! Ok, so I love a great many things, but it is nonetheless the truth. I don’t know if you are a Carrot Cake lover or if you are one of those who still need to be convinced. If so, I believe this is the cake to do so. I love the combinations of flavors in this cake. Whoever thought about putting carrots in a cake the first time around deserves a medal, in my opinion. It is such a great idea. Today I am sharing my favorite Carrot Cake with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting recipe!
I guess they started putting carrots in cakes back in the Middle Ages as a substitute for sugar because sugar was so expensive. It looks like we can thank the Brits (England) for this idea. Brilliant thinking! And it seems the settlers brought the recipe with them to the Colonies, which is really good for us.
Carrot cakes are pretty easy to make vegan. We add some apple sauce as a substitute for the eggs, adjust a few other ingredients, and you have yourself a wonderful carrot cake.
Today we use both sugar and carrots in our carrot cakes, so it must be extra special. Carrots seem to vary somewhat in their sweetness depending on the climate in which they grow. I love the young, sweet carrots right out of the garden here in New England; the flavor is so pure and sweet. But I have to wait until fall for that.
Let’s Talk Carrot Cake Ingredients:
The essential ingredient in a carrot cake is carrots, of course, and the sweeter, the better. I shred the carrots finely. It looks more appetizing and works better in the batter. I also use carrots for decorations in this cake, so when you select the carrots, look for smaller, thinner carrots, as you do not want the carrot tops to overwhelm the cake. Use the carrot greens as decor around the carrot tops. Make sure to cut the carrots, leaving just a little piece to go into the cake, even though the idea is to make it look like the carrots are growing right out of the cake.
Apple sauce is a great egg replacer in many recipes. Carrot Cake is one of those recipes where apple sauce works beautifully as a binder. We add a whole cup of apple sauce, which helps it hold the cake together and make it moist and delicious. If I don’t have apple sauce on hand, I cook down 2-3 apples for this purpose. No sugar is needed; cook them gently on the stovetop until it becomes apple sauce.
We also add a little orange juice to the batter. This citrus touch provides a fresh flavor to the cake.
Plant-based milk and lemon juice:
We use lemon juice to curdle the milk. This process makes a lighter cake. It is a technique that I use in most of my cakes, and this is no exception.
For flavors, we use cinnamon, allspice, and ginger. We prefer the Ceylon Cinnamon, as it is a little lighter and contains brighter citrus tones. It seems to be a little easier on digestion too. You can get creative with these flavors. If you love cinnamon, add a little more, etc.
Vegan Cream Cheese:
Violife Cream Cheese is our favorite cream cheese, which is why we use it in the frosting of this cake. It is white, which is a bonus when you are making frosting, and it has a nice consistency and flavor.
Assembling the Cake
- When completely cool, remove the cakes from the cake pans.
- Add frosting to the top of each layer of cake.
- Gently place the layers on top of each other. Smooth out the top layer.
- For a fun look, stick three small (cut off) carrot tops into one side of the cake. Decorate with carrot greenery around the carrot tops to give the idea that they are growing right there in the cake.
- The frosting can be a little soft, which makes it prone to ooze down the sides. That may add to the charm, but if you would like to prevent that, add some extra powdered sugar to the frosting and cool the frosting and cakes in the fridge for 20 minutes between layers.
I hope you enjoy this Carrot Cake with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting recipe! It is one of my favorites!
Click Here to Watch Me Make this Recipe on YouTube!Print
Moist Carrot Cake with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- Yield: 1 cake (7 in.) 1x
- 2 cups flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 cup natural cane sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 cup apple sauce
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans)
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Grease three 7 inch cake pans. Place a small piece of parchment paper in the bottom of each cake pan. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, add sifted flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and natural cane sugar. Stir to combine.
- In a separate bowl, add milk, lemon juice, orange juice, apple sauce, canola oil, brown sugar, and vanilla. Stir to combine.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir to combine. Do not overmix; stir until the flour mixture is incorporated.
- Next, gently fold in the grated carrots and chopped nuts.
- Divide the batter evenly between the three cake pans—smooth the top with a spatula.
- Bake for 30 min., or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool on a cooling rack until completely cooled before adding the frosting.
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- 3/4 cup earth balance
- 6 oz. of Violife vegan cream cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
- pinch of salt
- 4-5 cups of powdered sugar
In a large mixing bowl, cream the earth balance and Violife cream cheese with a hand mixer. Next, mix in the vanilla, lemon extract, and salt. Start adding the powdered sugar a little at a time until it reaches the right spreadable consistency.
Assembling the Carrot Cake
- Remove the cakes from the cake pans.
- Add frosting to the top of each cake layer.
- Gently place the layers on top of each other.
- Smooth out the top layer.
- For a fun look, stick 3 small (cut off) carrot tops in the cake.
- Decorate with some carrot greenery around the carrot tops to give the elusion that they are growing right there in the cake.
When do I put the sugar in? I am assuming with the wet ingredients but not listed in the directions. Thank you! I made it and totally left out the sugar..lol!
I am sooo sorry! Yes, I add the natural cane sugar to the dry ingredients and the brown sugar to the wet. Thank you so much for letting me know. I have updated the recipe on my website. Sorry again.
Made this for Mother’s Day and the whole family loved it!
So happy to hear that! Thank you so much for trying my recipe, Lauren!
Made this for Mother’s Day and the whole family loved it!
I am so touched! Thank you so much for your sweet comment and for making this for Mother’s Day. Such a special occasion! Thank you, thank you, thank you for the 5 star review.