This easy vegan carrot cake is the perfect vegan spring dessert recipe. Perfectly soft and full of flavor, everything is made in one bowl!
If you think of desserts around spring time or Easter, then this vegan carrot cake should be at the top of your mind.
For many people, carrot cake is one of the first introductions to realizing that you could mix a cake recipe with a vegetable and actually have a delicious creation come out of that.
Luckily, carrots are sweet so it aids in helping balance a sweet cake with something you may not traditionally think should be in a cake.
Today, we’re making the same carrot cake that you fell in love with years ago, but turning it into a vegan carrot cake.
That means there will be no eggs or dairy. A completely egg free and dairy free carrot cake. But no worries, no one will even notice. In fact, they may even say it tastes better.
In addition, we’ll share details below on how you can make this Top 8 Free carrot cake as well if that is needed for your dietary restrictions!
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Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I make this a vegan Top 8 Allergy Friendly carrot cake?
When we are considering Top 8 Allergies for this vegan carrot cake, we want to consider the flour, coconut oil, and nuts.
The easiest swap is the nuts. Just completely omit this if you have a nut allergy. They aren’t necessary to the overall recipe.
For the coconut oil, you can swap that for another light oil, like grapeseed or a soy free vegan butter. Make sure it’s nothing overly strong with taste like olive oil.
Lastly, the flour can be replaced with a gluten free cup for cup flour like King Arthur.
HOW DO I MAKE THIS VEGAN CARROT CAKE LOOK EXACTLY LIKE YOURS?
We get it. No one likes “Pinterest fails”. You see something and think, “that’s out of my league, no way I’m trying that.” Take a deep breathe and instead say, “I’m going to following these steps and make the best cake I’ve ever made.”
Step 1: It’s all about positive thinking.
Step 2: You need to follow some really important tips that we’re going to share with you on how to make the best dairy free carrot cake that actually looks like it came from a bakery. Your guests (and yourself) are going to be blown away.
HERE’S OUR TIPS FOR MAKING THIS CAKE LOOK EXACTLY LIKE OURS IN THE PICTURE:
- Follow the instructions pretty please. Cake baking is a science, especially when making a dairy free/vegan cake. The sifting and exact ingredient amounts are very important. Every step has a purpose to ensure the perfect dairy free carrot cake.
- We are using three 9″ cake pans.
- Make sure that you evenly distribute the cake batter into the cake pans. You can use a scale to make sure that they are all within a small range of each other.
- When the cakes are cooked, remove from oven and place on a cooling rack to allow the cakes to cool evenly.
- Let the cakes cool to touch, then remove them carefully to wax paper to cool completely. DO NOT RUSH. Let it cool completely.
- When ready to make the cake – use a cake leveling tool to make sure there’s no uneven tops.
TIPS FOR PIPING:
- We used a Wilton 1A Icing Tip.
- Place a small amount of frosting down first on a rotating cake stand, then your first layer. The frosting acts as a glue so the cake won’t slip.
- Use a piping bag and a large round tip and pipe frosting in a circular motion from the outer edge completely in to the middle.
- Use a cake spreader to gently even out layer of frosting. Place next layer and repeat step 6. Place third layer on top. Step back and see if there is any gaps in between the layers. If there are, place enough frosting in those areas to get frosting to the edge of the pan.
- Use a cake scraper to go around the cake and ensure evenness around the entire cake.
- Drizzle caramel across the top of the cake and allow it to drip down the sides.
- *Bonus Tip: If you want to frosting the cake but keep a clean cake stand, cut four 7″ pieces of wax paper and overlap them before placing the first layer on the cake stand. When you are completely done frosting the cake, carefully remove the four pieces of wax paper.
Can I make vegan carrot cake cupcakes?
Absolutely! We even have a post to show you how to make them into vegan carrot cake cupcakes. We recommend clicking on that and following along.
Do I have to use round cake pans?
No! You can easily use square or rectangular cake pan as well. Since this does make a 3 layer cake, you may want to reduce it in half.
CAN I USE A DIFFERENT VEGAN FROSTING IDEAS FOR THIS CAKE?
One great thing about cakes is that you can mix and match frostings! We absolutely love doing this. We are using a coconut cream frosting in the post, but you can totally, use one of our other ones like:
Do I have to use pecans for vegan carrot cake?
Nope! Feel free to use pecans or walnuts. You could even use another one if you wished, but those are the most common ones used.
What are other dairy free desserts recipes that I can make?
Whether you are having a dessert bar of deliciousness at your next get together, or you just want to have even more amazing dairy free desserts at the ready, we recommend you trying out some of these delicious non-dairy desserts (all are vegan):
- Dairy Free Brownies
- The Best Dairy Free Lemon Pound Cake
- Triple Chocolate Dairy Free Cookies
- Dairy Free Chocolate Cake
- Perfect Dairy Free Apple Pie
- Dairy Free Cinnamon Rolls (could be breakfast or dessert)
Pin this vegan carrot cake for later!
Vegan Carrot Cake
- 9" pans
For the Vegan Carrot Cake
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 3/4 cup dairy free milk
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup coconut oil, melted (*See notes in post for allergies)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (*See Posts for Gluten free)
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans) (*Omit for nut allergy), Plus more for topping, optional
For Coconut Cream Frosting
- Vegan Caramel Sauce, Optional
For the Vegan Carrot Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease 2- 9inch round cake pans with coconut oil (or other oil if allergies).
- In a large bowl, add apple cider vinegar and dairy free milk. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add in brown sugar, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, applesauce and vanilla. Beat until combined.
- Add in shredded carrots. Blend together again.
- Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and nutmeg. Beat together just until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX.
- Add nuts, if adding. Fold until just combined.
- Pour half the batter in each cake pan.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- While baking make frosting below or choose another option from the post. If making caramel, make it now also
For the Coconut Cream Frosting
- To make this frosting, add the coconut cream, and shortening to a bowl and beat until creamy. Add in the vanilla extract and beat again. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until mixed. Refrigerate if not using right away. *This frosting is best used the same day. So you can prep the ingredients and make the cake ahead of time, but don’t frosting until close to serving time.
- If using caramel, pour it across the top
- Top with more chopped nuts if desired.
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This post was originally published on 4/15/2019 and updated on 3/4/2021