The best Vegan Carrot Cake! Perfectly spiced, incredibly moist, topped with creamy vegan cream cheese frosting and simple to make in just 1 bowl!
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.
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.
- Grated carrots
- Walnuts, optional – Simply omit for nut free. Or substitute pecans, raisins, etc.
- Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting or Vegan Vanilla Frosting.
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.
Using a stand mixer or simply a whisk, whisk the ingredients to combine.
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.
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.
Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out mostly clean.
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.
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.
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!
- 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.
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?
- One Bowl Vegan Coconut Cake
- Vegan German Chocolate Cake
- Vegan Lemon Blueberry Lavender Cake
- Vegan Vanilla Cake
- Vegan Red Velvet Cake
1 Bowl Vegan Carrot Cake
- 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
- 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.
- May substitute a gluten free all purpose flour for gluten free.
- For nut free, omit the walnuts.
- May substitute soy, coconut or any other non-dairy milk for almond milk.
- May use melted coconut oil or another oil in place of the canola.
- 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.
- This cake freezes well for up to 3 months. Wrap well to avoid freezer burn.