The best carrot cake and it just happens to be vegan!
This light and tender cake is perfectly sweet, loaded with freshly grated carrots, studded with walnuts, and infused with warm spices of cinnamon and nutmeg in every bite.
Top it with homemade vegan cream cheese frosting for a truly authentic carrot cake experience!
This carrot cake scored rave reviews from my non-vegan family when I served it for Easter dessert and has become my go-to recipe.
It’s great for birthday celebrations, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, and even Christmas.
Recipe Ingredients and Notes:
- all-purpose flour – Gluten-free flour can be substituted at a 1:1 ratio.
- baking powder – A leavening agent that adds volume to the cake.
- baking soda – Helps to make the cake light and fluffy.
- ground cinnamon – Warm and aromatic; adds a holiday feel.
- ground nutmeg – Adds an earthy sweetness to the cake.
- salt – Provides balance and enhances flavor depth.
- white sugar – This recipe calls for white sugar only. If you are inclined to use half white and half brown sugar, well, I can’t stop you. However, I don’t recommend it, and here’s why: too much brown sugar can have the unwanted effect of making a cake too moist. Yes, that is a thing and no, you don’t want it. The carrots, applesauce, and vegetable oil provide all the moisture needed for this cake.
- applesauce – An excellent substitute for the eggs that are frequently called for in traditional carrot cakes.
- vegetable oil – For the best flavor, stick with vegetable oil. Other oils will not yield the same results.
- grated carrots – You will need 4 full cups, finely grated. To save time and work, I like to use a food processor to get this job done quickly. If you use the pre-shredded carrots that come in a bag, just note that they will still need to be chopped further into a very fine consistency.
- chopped walnuts – These can be omitted and swapped for raisins but I think they add nice flavor to the cake.
How to make Carrot Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Combine the dry ingredients. Into a medium-size mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
Combine the wet ingredients. Into a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar and applesauce. Add the oil and stir to incorporate into the mixture.
Mix them together. Gradually mix in the sifted dry ingredients.
Fold in the carrots and nuts, stirring just enough to distribute throughout the batter. Pour the batter into a prepared 9×13-inch metal baking dish.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Set the cake on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely before spreading with vegan cream cheese frosting.
More classic cake recipes!
Vegan Carrot Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup applesauce
- 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
- 4 cups grated carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 recipe vegan cream cheese frosting optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Into a medium-size mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
- Into a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar and applesauce. Add the oil and stir to incorporate into the mixture.
- Gradually mix in the sifted dry ingredients.
- Fold in the carrots and nuts, stirring just enough to distribute throughout the batter. Pour the batter into a prepared 9×13-inch metal baking dish.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Set the cake on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before spreading with vegan cream cheese frosting.
Join My Newsletter
Signup to get all my latest recipes delivered right to your inbox every week!
This cake is so good. If I sub spelt flour in place of regular flour, do I need to make other adjustments to the recipe.
Hi Nadine – I have not tried this recipe using spelt flour but I think it should be fine without any other adjustments.
I love this vegan carrot cake recipe! It’s so much fun to make.
I loved this carrot cake recipe, and the frosting was superb! Thanks for the recipe, I am definitely making it again soon.
This cake looks so good. I am wanting to have a piece of this delicious cake.
Have been looking for a great vegan carrot cake recipe, and this one is perfect! Loved how it came together.
This has become my go to carrot cake. Everyone who’s tried it loves it whether they’re vegan or not. Thanks for the recipe.