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

a bite taken from a big slice of vegan carrot cake with orange flowers in background

Once you realize how easy this vegan carrot cake is to make, you will find yourself making it over and over again! Not only is it 100% vegan, it is simply the best tasting carrot cake, vegan or not. No one will guess it’s free of eggs, milk and butter!

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.

Just like my Vegan Chocolate Cake and Vegan Funfetti Cake, this carrot cake is made in just 1 bowl. I love easy dessert recipes!

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, oat or coconut milk.
  • Vanilla
  • Grated carrots
  • Walnuts, optional – Simply omit for nut free. Or substitute pecans, raisins, etc.
  • Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting or Vegan Vanilla Frosting.
whole cake with swirly frosting and walnuts on the edges

How to make Vegan Carrot Cake

Find the complete printable recipe with measurements below. This is simply an overview with photos.

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!

Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl.

sugars and flour in a clear bowl

Using a stand mixer or simply a whisk, whisk the ingredients to combine.

dry ingredients being mixed in a bowl

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.

oil, applesauce and vanilla being added to dry ingredients in a bowl

Add the shredded carrots and walnuts, if using, and fold them into the batter gently.

Again, do not over mix! I can’t stress this enough. Just mix until combined, and gently.

shredded carrots and walnuts being added to a clear bowl with batter
carrot cake batter in a clear bowl with a spatula

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.

two unbaked vegan carrot cakes in round pans

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.

two layer carrot cake on cooling rack, no frosting

Vegan carrot cake frosting

Traditionally, carrot cake is frosted with cream cheese frosting, so I prefer my 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. Or lemon buttercream from my Vegan Lemon Cake 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!

If you plan on serving this cake outdoors or want to leave it out in a warm room for awhile, I’d go with one of the buttercream frostings so the cake doesn’t slip.

frosting being spread on a cake

Vegan carrot cake cupcakes

This recipe works great for cupcakes! Fill liners 3/4 of the way full and bake cupcakes for about 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean in the middle. Let cool completely, then frost as desired.

Gluten free vegan carrot cake

Substitute a quality gluten free flour mix for the all purpose flour to make this cake gluten free. I prefer King Arthur Measure for Measure Flour.

The outcome will be slightly different, but still really good!

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.
piece of vegan carrot cake on a plate with orange flower in background

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.

a fork about to take a bite of orange cake

Want more amazing vegan cake recipes?

piece of orange cake on a plate with walnuts on the frosting
4.94 stars (104 ratings)

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!
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 1 hr
Servings: 12 slices

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 or crushed pineapple
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups grated carrots (about 3 large carrots)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, optional
  • 1/2 cup raisins, 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. 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.
  6. This cake freezes well for up to 3 months. Wrap well to avoid freezer burn.

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
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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Comments

  1. This cake ? is amazing ? I made it for my mom for Valentine’s Day. Carrot ? cake ? is her fave cake. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe with us. 

    1. I’m so glad you and your mom love the carrot cake! Thanks for using my recipe, and for sharing your review and feedback!

  2. So Great !!!  your recipes are my go to for all my vegan baking. Just made this one with my four and two year old. It was a big hit. I only had one cake pan so I put  the rest of the batter in a donut pan and they also turned out great. 

    1. Carrot cake donuts sound amazing! I’m so glad you had fun making with your kids! What a fun memory to make with them! Thank you for sharing your review and your comments, and for using my recipes! Happy cooking!

  3. Hello! This looks great. I noticed that the cream cheese frosting recipe says it should be doubled for a layer cake. Does it need to be doubled for this cake? Thank you!

    1. That depends on how much frosting you would like. For a thin layer, it doesn’t need to be doubled. But for a thick layer of frosting, and especially if you plan on piping on some decorative frosting, I would double it. Thanks, hope you enjoy!

  4. Hands down one of the best Vegan cakes I have ever made. The carrot cake is moist, sweet and wonderful and the icing is perfect!! Even my non vegan cakes said it was amazing!! 

  5. I made my first carrot cake Today with your recipe And it was perfect! 5 star reviews from my guests. It was VEGANish because i didnt want to fuss with the vegan icing lol, so i made it with regular cream cheese today. Moist and flavorful. I didnt have applesauce so i subbed a mix of ripe plantain and regular banana with water to thin it out. Two thumbs up! My cake was thinner since i had 9 in pans and i didnt cook it as long because of that. 

  6. First of all,
    I love all of your recipes! They always turn out great!!!
    My question is, would this cake pair well with your other “cream cheese” frosting? (The one that is used for the pumpkin cookies recipe)

  7. Such a great recipe! they came out so good, everyone that tried them loved it. I was wondering if there was another ingredient that can be used instead of apple sauce or if it would be okay to omit it?

    1. I’m glad the cake was a hit! Instead of applesauce, you could use 1 cup crushed pineapple, or you could puree a can of pears until you have a sauce. I hope this helps!

  8. These cupcakes came out well for me normally on the first try it doesn’t work out. So I shared them with my other family members and they enjoyed them…we are all trying to eat more vegan meals. I have been using your spinach/mushroom lasagna recipe for a while now. I tried your ricotta recipe and loved the ease of making it. 

    1. Hi there! I’m not sure if the whole thing will fit into one loaf cake pan or not, as I haven’t tested it. If you fill a loaf pan about 1/2-3/4 of the way full, it will likely take around an hour to bake. Ensure to check with a toothpick to make sure it’s done. I hope this helps!

  9. I tried this cake last week. Used regular sugar and sunflower oil, and it didn’t work ? i used a loaf pan and let it bake for more than an hour and when I thought it was good because of the toothpick, it was not. It is pumpy, sweet as hell, and we couldn’t eat. Today i’m gonna try to do half of the portion to make muffins. Hope it gets better bcause i want to eat carrot cake ? 

  10. Hello! Do you have a substitute for white sugar for this recipe? Is it a 1:1 substitute? Thank you so much!! Excited to give this a try 🙂

    1. Hi Nadia. I always use organic granulated sugar which is more of a tan color, not straight up white sugar. But you could also use coconut sugar. Yes, 1:1 substitute. Hope this helps!

  11. Can I make this carrot cake in advance? Can I make the frosting in advance? I’m thinking to make the frosting today (Tuesday) for Thanksgiving on Thursday. If I make the cake in a bundt pan, is it too dry? It’s easier in bundt pan, but I don’t want to sacrifice anything for that convenience.

    1. Hi Kathy. Though I have not baked this as a bundt cake, others have with success. I would try baking for about 60 mins at 350 degrees. You can make the frosting in advance and keep it in the refrigerator, then frost before serving. Happy holiday cooking!

  12. Hey Nora 🙂 So far I’ve baked the Vegan Carrot Cake, Vegan Carrot cupcakes and also the Vegan pumpkin pie and I must say each time came out so delicious, savory and absolutely amazing. I followed each direction to a T with no sub’s and I am just astonished. I am so Happy and Grateful for you Nora, for I am a vegan and appreciate the time you put in to sharing your fabolous recipes. I can’t thank you enough.  I applaud your tenacity and your are my go too for any vegan recipe. Because of you Im actually considering cooking a vegan thanksgiving meal this year. I owe the confidence to you. Overall, leading up to the holidays, I plan on experimenting with the Vegan Pumpkin pancakes and vegan pumpkin cheese cake. Wish me luck 🙂 Thank you so much again. 

    P.S. : The Universe will always align you with the right people depending on your vibration so thank you universe for allowing me to Manifest Nora :). 

                               Cheers ?

  13. Hi, This carrot cake recipe is delicious i used two 9in pans. If i want to make the recipe using a loaf pan how many minutes should I leave it in the oven?

    1. Hi there, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I’m not sure if the whole thing will fit into one loaf cake or not, as I haven’t tested it. But if you fill a loaf pan about 1/2-3/4 of the way full, it will likely take around an hour. But you will have to check with a toothpick to make sure it’s done.

  14. All of your recipes are amazing, but this one was my favorite yet. Absolutely delicious. I cut the sugar by about half and used coconut oil (since it was all I had). 10/10 🙂

    1. Thank you Haley! I’m so glad you loved the cake! I appreciate you taking your time to share your wonderful review and comments! Thank you for using my recipes!

  15. Moist & delicious . I used Ripple dairy-free milk (shelf stable). Halfed the brown sugar, and yet still too sweet for my taste. Will try another time and half both sugars and/or 3/4C granular sugar. Added in walnuts & raisins to half the batter for husband’s bday cake, yum! kids got non- nuts & raisins cupcakes. and are pleased.

  16. Hello,
    The vegan frosting does NOT really work when it is not in the freezer. You cannot serve a rock solid piece of frozen cake. When the cake is out of the freezer, the layers do begin to slip, and the frosting will run down the sides, even in the refrigerator. I followed the Fix that was suggested, and still it did not work. I used vegan buttercream frosting instead, which was good.
    Thank you.

    1. It should actually work fine not frozen, I make it quite often. It largely depends on the brand of vegan cream cheese you use. Tofutti works best for me, but I have used Trader Joe’s and Kite Hill brands with success as well. But vegan vanilla buttercream is a great option as well!

  17. Best carrot cake ever. I served it to non vegan guests and they loved it! I used a bundt pan and cooked it about 20 min longer and it was perfect. Thank you ?

  18. Have you ever tried a vegan hummingbird cake? I really like that kind but I see that you don’t have any recipe for it. Could you try making one? I love ALL your recipes and if you had a vegan hummingbird cake I know I would have a go to hummingbird cake recipe. Thanks for all you do Nora!

    P.S: This cake is delicious by the way!

    1. I haven’t made one yet but it is on my list of recipes to try! Hummingbird cakes are so good… Thank you, I’ll work on it!

  19. I have yet to try one of your recipes that isn’t amazing! This one definitely held up to that standard. I was missing a second cake pan so I ended up making it into a sheet cake and we made it for my 4 year old’s birthday. These recipes are so easy, she helps me every time! Yay for quality time in the kitchen! This one was yet another hit! I ran out of vanilla extract during the process so used half vanilla, half coconut and it still turned out delicious. As always, thank you Nora!

    1. Hi Carrie. I’m so glad that the cake was a hit for your daughter’s birthday! I love that you and her make memories baking together! Isn’t it fun!? Thanks so much for taking your time to share your wonderful review. Wishing you lots of happy cooking!

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