The best Vegan Carrot Cake! Perfectly spiced, incredibly moist, topped with creamy vegan cream cheese frosting and simple to make in just 1 bowl!

piece of cake on a speckled plate with orange flowers around it

Once you realize how easy this carrot cake is to make, you will find yourself making it over and over again! Not only is it made in 1 bowl with simple ingredients, it is the best tasting carrot cake, vegan or not.

The cake layers are super moist, perfectly sweet and full of texture. It’s an incredible dessert for Easter or any day of the week when a craving strikes.

What the readers are saying

“I made this for our son’s college graduation party since the whole family recently went vegan. Nobody could tell the difference between this and “normal’ carrot cake and cream cheese frosting (I made your vegan cream cheese frosting). A couple people said it was so much tastier than any other carrot cake they had ever tasted. Delicious!” -Pam

“I baked this carrot cake, in cupcake form, today, and topped them with your vegan cream cheese frosting. Yummy! I think I will add raisins or pineapple next time. This is now my go-to carrot cake recipe.” -Joyce

“I love this carrot cake! I made it for Easter and my mom said it was the best carrot cake she has ever had. I will be making it again for her birthday on Saturday because carrot cake is her favorite of all cakes. Thanks for another great recipe Nora. You are our go to place for all recipes. In Nora we trust!” -Lauren

looking down on a few pieces of cake on plates with white frosting, orange cake and flowers

Ingredients you need (with substitutions)

  • All purpose flour – May substitute a gluten free flour mix, if needed. Many have tried this with success!
  • Brown sugar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Baking powder and baking soda
  • Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt
  • Oil – I used canola oil, but you can use grapeseed oil, melted coconut oil or vegan butter. You might be able to substitute more applesauce for oil, but I’m afraid it will come out a bit gummy.
  • Applesauce – Try substituting crushed canned pineapple for a change!
  • Almond milk – Any non-dairy milk works here, such as soy.
  • Vanilla
  • Grated carrots
  • Walnuts, optional – Simply omit for nut free. Or substitute pecans, raisins, etc.
  • Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

How to make Vegan Carrot Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 8-inch cake pans with a little circle of parchment paper, and then spray the pans generously with oil. This will help your cakes come out of the pans with no problems!

  1. Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk.
  2. To the bowl with the mixed dry ingredients, pour in the canola oil, applesauce, non-dairy milk, and vanilla. Mix to combine, but be careful not to over mix. If you are using a stand mixer, use the lowest setting and do not over mix, the cake will come out dense and chewy if you do.
  3. Add the shredded carrots and walnuts, if using, and fold them into the batter gently.
  4. Again, do not over mix! I can’t stress this enough. Just mix until combined, and gently.
  5. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
  6. Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 20 minutes before carefully removing them. Let them cool on a cooling rack completely before frosting.

collage showing how to make a carrot cake step by step

What kind of frosting should I use?

Traditionally, carrot cake uses cream cheese frosting, so I prefer Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting for this cake. Vanilla Frosting is also a great option. Or you could even make this tart cream cheese-like frosting from my Pumpkin Cake Bars recipe.

The only thing with vegan cream cheese frosting is it can be a bit unstable if it gets warm, so make absolutely sure your cakes are cooled completely before frosting, and keep the frosted cake in the refrigerator, just to make sure the top layer of your cake doesn’t slip off!

cake being frosted with frosting spatula

Can I make cupcakes instead?

Yes, the recipe works great for cupcakes! Bake cupcakes for about 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean in the middle. Let cool completely, then frost as desired.

Other variations

  • For a 9×13 inch cake, bake for 45-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is set.
  • Make a triple layer cake by using 3 6-inch pans, baking for a little less time (25-30 minutes.)
  • For a carrot bundt cake, place the batter in a bundt pan and bake for about 60 minutes until done.

side shot of vegan carrot cake slices on two plates

How to store leftover cake

If you frost it with cream cheese frosting, the cake will need to be kept in the refrigerator. If you use vanilla frosting instead, you could store it on the counter for a few days.

It will keep in the refrigerator for about 1 week, and can also be frozen. Cover any cut parts so it doesn’t dry out.

Want more amazing vegan cake recipes?

two pieces of cake on plates, carrot with white frosting

square image of two pieces of cake on plates

1 Bowl Vegan Carrot Cake

The best Vegan Carrot Cake! Perfectly spiced, incredibly moist, topped with creamy vegan cream cheese frosting and simple to make in just 1 bowl!
4.94 from 79 votes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups grated carrots (about 3 large carrots)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, optional
  • 1 Recipe Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and prepare 2 round 8-inch cake pans by lining the bottom with parchment paper and spraying well with oil.
  • In a large bowl, add all the dry ingredients and whisk well. 
  • Pour in the canola oil, applesauce, almond milk and vanilla and mix until combined with a large spoon. Now fold in the grated carrots and walnuts. Be very careful not to over mix the batter, or your cake will come out dense and chewy!
  • Pour the cake batter evenly between the prepared pans, then bake for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the tops of the cakes are set. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for about 20 minutes before carefully removing from the pans. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.
  • Once cooled completely, frost with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting, or Vegan Vanilla Frosting if preferred. Enjoy! Store leftover cake in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, covered.

Video

Notes

  1. May substitute a gluten free all purpose flour for gluten free.
  2. For nut free, omit the walnuts.
  3. May substitute soy, coconut or any other non-dairy milk for almond milk.
  4. May use melted coconut oil or another oil in place of the canola.
  5. I prefer Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting for this carrot cake, but you could use my Vegan Vanilla Frosting instead.
  6. To make cupcakes instead, fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full and bake for 20-25 minutes until set on top. Pipe frosting on each cupcake.
  7. Store leftover cake in the refrigerator if using cream cheese frosting. It will keep for about 1 week and can be frozen as well.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 432kcal, Carbohydrates: 66g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 348mg, Potassium: 280mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 42g, Vitamin A: 5352IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 91mg, Iron: 2mg

 

 

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Read my full disclosure here