Carrot cake! Vegan carrot cake! Also known as my favorite dessert on the planet (tied with Van Leeuwen vegan ice cream).
My favorite non-homemade carrot cake is from Peacefood cafe (which I ate last weekend!). If you like carrot cake and you’re ever in New York City, go to Peacefood and order their glorious carrot cake, even if you’re not vegan. I promise you, it is life-changing.
This year, I had Peacefood carrot cake the day after my birthday, but I also wanted to make myself a cake for the actual day.
While thinking about my cake, I actually got curious about the origins of carrot cake, and did a little bit of googling. According to Wikipedia, the origins of carrot cake are widely disputed, but most food historians believe carrot cake was somewhat inspired from Medieval carrot puddings eaten in Europe. During the Middle Ages, when sugar became scarce, people began using carrots as a substitute for sugar.
Apparently at some point, carrot cakes became a thing (and a popular thing, at that), and according to the Culinary Heritage of Switzerland, it is one of the most popular cakes in Switzerland, especially for child birthday parties.
Whatever the origins, I’m just thankful carrot cake exists. Perhaps I am a Swiss child, but to me there is no better birthday cake than a carrot cake. And hence, today I am sharing with you a lovely, wholesome vegan carrot cake recipe I made to ring in my new year.
A highly-textured cake, this vegan carrot cake can best be described as wholesome and stuffed with goodness. Shredded carrots, golden raisins, pineapple hunks, pecans, walnuts, and coconut flakes all make an appearance. If any of those things sound off-putting, feel free to omit them to your preferences.
The cake is topped off with a sweet and tangy vegan almond cream cheese frosting. If you’re not into almond extract (I super am), swap almond extract for vanilla.
If you want to watch me whip up this cake, watch the video down below:
Wholesome Vegan Carrot Cake with Vegan Cream Cheese Almond Frosting
Active Time: 60 minutes
Bake Time: 40-50 minutes
Yield: one double-layer cake
Ingredients – Cake:
- 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour (can sub gluten-free baking flour blend)
- 1 cup oat flour (can sub additional whole wheat or gluten-free flour)
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
- 3 tablespoons ground flax (or sub chia seeds)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other nondairy milk)
- 1 teaspoon vinegar (white or apple cider if you have it, but any will do)
- 1/3 cup avocado or other neutral oil (canola, vegetable, etc)
- 3/4 cup apple sauce or pumpkin puree
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup pineapple chunks (frozen thawed or fresh)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
Ingredients – Frosting:
- 1/2 cup non-dairy butter, softened (I used Earth Balance)
- 1 8-ounce container non-dairy cream cheese, softened (I used Trader Joe’s)
- 1 teaspoon almond extract (or sub vanilla, if desired)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare 2 9-inch round baking pans.
2. In a small bowl, add vinegar to almond milk and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine whole wheat flour, oat flour, almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt cinnamon, ginger, and flax. Whisk together.
3. Place oil in another large bowl. Whisk in apple sauce, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Fold in shredded carrots.
4. Fold wet carrot and apple sauce mix into flour mix until just combined.
5. Add walnuts, pecans, golden raisins, coconut shreds and pineapple chunks. Mix until combined.
6. Pour batter into prepared pans distributing evenly between the two pans. Place into the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown.
7. Place softened vegan butter and vegan cream cheese in a bowl. Using an electric or stand mixer, beat together vegan butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add almond and vanilla extracts and continue to mix.
8. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating after each addition. If frosting is thinner than desired, add additional powdered sugar and mix until well combined. If frosting is thicker than desired, add a tablespoon or two of non-dairy milk and mix until well combined.