Vegan Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Vegan Carrot Cake

Last week was my eldest son’s birthday and I had fun planning and organizing the party. After a lot of deliberation I ended up baking a decadent vegan carrot cake. But the decision of was not very easy.

He turned 7. I see a sudden change in his likes and dislikes. He was this little kid who was watching Max and Ruby, Caillou and Diego even 2 months back and all of a sudden everything has changed. He is into Power Rangers, Avengers, rocket/space ships etc. I’m still wondering how all of this happened in such a short span of time. So I was really having a hard time to figure out what sort of party to plan for. Wish it was as easy as when he turned 3 and all I had to do was bake this gorgeous eggless chocolate cake.

I was thinking of making a rocket shaped cake but a trial run didn’t work out as expected and we ended up having a lot of cake. I didn’t want to keep testing it again and again and end up baking a lot of cake. Then we had the black or white debate. My son and I prefer chocolate cake but my husband and mother-in-law like vanilla cake. So my husband suggested to bake a two-in-one cake; with vanilla on one side and chocolate on the other.

That’s when I started looking for ideas to bake a two tone cake. That made me think about what frosting to choose. Would that be 2 flavors too or just one? I was literally pulling my hair to figure it all out.

Vegan Carrot Cake

Then I had this “light-bulb” moment. I decided to bake one 9-inch round layer cake for adults and a few cupcakes both chocolate and vanilla for the kids. I would frost the 9-inch layer cake and my son would be cutting it and keep the cupcakes as it is for the kids to frost and decorate themselves. For the 9-inch layered cake I decided to bake the vegan carrot cake from Sticky Fingers’ Sweets by Doron Petersan. I also wanted to try the vegan cream cheese frosting recipe she had in the book.

For the cupcakes I used my eggless vanilla cake recipe (veganized it) and whacky vegan chocolate recipe. My original plan was to bake regular size cupcakes but then I decided to go with mini cupcakes.

I thought by doing so the kids could enjoy both the flavors if they wanted to. I laid down a variety of sprinkles, butter cream frosting and chocolate frosting on a tray and the kids had to do the icing by themselves. I was really not sure if a cupcake party would go well with a group of 7-10 year old boys. But I was in for a surprise when I saw that they actually loved it. The kids had a fun time frosting and decorating the cupcakes. I wonder if they were able to settle down for bed that night after all that sugar rush!

Cupcake Toppings

Even though I had planned out everything well in advance, I had one issue though. I would not be able to taste the carrot cake until it was cut by my son. So I was really worried and was even thinking of getting a cake from the store and keep it ready just in case. As soon as the carrot cake came out of oven I was eager to level it off for frosting, so that I could taste the crumbs and make a decision.

Unfortunately the cake did not bake with a big dome like the usual white/chocolate cakes do. It was a very thin layer cake and was almost flat without the necessity to be trimmed. Even then I did not let got off it. I slightly leveled it off and tasted the crumbs and was relieved. It was good but I was not really jumping up and down. Then I prepared the frosting too. The frosting tasted good on its own and later with the cake too. Once the cake was frosted it got a decent height. Otherwise the 2 layers looked very small which made me seriously doubt if it would be enough for the 6-8 adults.

Vegan Carrot Cake

I had baked a big batch of the vanilla and chocolate cupcakes anticipating a situation of the carrot cake not coming through as expected. I thought that if I screwed up with the cake I would serve the cupcakes for the adults too. Fortunately the vegan carrot cake did not let me down and it was a huge hit with everybody.

The adults were like “are you seriously telling that this carrot cake is vegan?”. It was that good. I’m glad that I tried this vegan carrot cake recipe on such a special day.

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Vegan Carrot Cake w/ Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

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Prep TimeCook TimeMakes
20 Mins18 MinsTwo 9″ Round Cakes/18 Cupcakes
AuthorCategoryMethod
CakesBaking
Vegan Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
4.9 from 22 reviews
If you are not convinced about vegan baking and still have doubts about how it tastes, then do try this vegan carrot cake with vegan cream cheese frosting and be prepared to be blown away!
Ingredients For Cake:

Part 1:
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Part 2:
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil
Part 3:
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Substitutions:
  • almond milk – any non-dairy milk
  • coconut oil – any flavorless oil
Ingredients For Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (like Earth Balance)
  • 12 ounces non-hydrogenated vegan cream cheese (like Tofutti), softened
  • 4 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice (I didn’t use it)
  • 2 to 4 drops lemon oil, to taste (I didn’t use this either)
Instructions For Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C for 15 minutes.
  2. Line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl mix together the Part 1 ingredients.
  4. Add the milk and oil to the bowl and stir to combine.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients mentioned in Part 3.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. It’s okay if the batter is slightly lumpy.
  7. Distribute the batter between the two pans evenly. I measured out the batter and it was 3 cups in total. So 1.5 cups of batter in each pan. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Mine was done in 18 minutes itself. The cake started pulling out of the sides of the pan.
  8. Place the pans on a cooling rack to cool for about 20 minutes. Turn the pan upside down to remove the cakes and cool it completely before frosting.
Instructions For Frosting:
  1. In a large bowl beat the shortening until smooth using an electric mixer.
  2. Add the cream cheese and beat until its thoroughly incorporated.
  3. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and rest of the ingredients, if using and beat until smooth. I added the sugar 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl. You can dump everything in if you are using an electric stand mixer. But if you are using a hand-held mixer like me then add the sugar in small additions.
Taste:
  1. Both the cake and the cream cheese frosting turned out to be DELICIOUS! Everybody at the birthday party enjoyed this cake very much. I personally felt that the cake tasted great the following day. I don’t know if it was just me because on the day of the party I was already full with pizzas and other food that I was really not able to judge the cake. Even when everybody else praised it I was not able to really see it. But the next day I was able to fully appreciate the taste and texture and it was AMAZING! I’m 100% confident that nobody can guess that it is a vegan carrot cake with vegan cream cheese frosting.
My Notes:
  1. The original cake recipe used 3/4th cup of whole wheat pastry flour. I didn’t have it so used all-purpose flour itself.
  2. If you are a spice fan increase the quantity of ground cinnamon to 1 teaspoon.
  3. The original frosting recipe suggests that the frosting can be made in advance and refrigerated covered properly. Bring it back to room temperature to soften before using.
  4. The frosting is supposed to be for a 9-inch layered cake but I still have about a cup and a half of frosting left. I did use a lot for the filling and the sides and top of the cake. I feel that using the entire recipe for that cake is way too much. Now I have to look for a way to use that frosting.
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I also made these ricotta cheese sweet balls (doodh peda) from here and it was a huge hit too.

doodh peda

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126 COMMENTS

  1. Monique

    This recipe sounds delish. Is there a way to make this cake using coconut flour instead? If so what is the adjusted amount in place of the all purpose flour?

    • Madhuram

      Coconut flour doesn’t have gluten, Monique so it’s not as easy as substituting it measure for measure in place of the all-purpose flour. It will require xanthan gum, maybe more leavening agents like baking powder and soda because it’s egg free too. It might require more than 1 try to perfect the recipe.

      • Monique

        Thank you so much for responding. I tried it before I heard back from you. It was a HOT MESS. Didn’t realize the coconut flour was like pouring water into a desert. I gulped every liquid I poured in. I can at least laugh at myself.

        Will work with the ingredients and see how I can adjust the recipe. Will keep you posted. Thanks for all your help and the recipes.

        • Madhuram

          Sorry to hear about the mess. Gluten-free and egg free baking is quite tricky. All the best for further trials and experiments in your kitchen.

  2. Antonietta

    Would you be able to add crushed pineapple to this recipe. If so how much do you suggest? Would the cooking time have to be adjusted?

    • Madhuram

      I think you can reduce the quantity of carrots and add a cup of crushed pineapple instead. You will have to increase the baking time by another 5-8 minutes probably.

  3. Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting - WallyJay

    […] Cooking’ who made this cake for her son’s birthday. You can find the recipe here. The recipe has been tweaked and adjusted to my own […]

  4. Julie

    Good Morning! I would like to make this recipe using a 15x10x1” sheet pan. I want to cut out 2” circles and make mini tower cakes with cream cheese frosting in the middle and tops. My question, is how long should this bake?
    It sounds so delicious!!!

    • Madhuram

      Sorry Julie I was on vacation and couldn’t get to your comment any sooner. If you are still looking for an answer, I’m guessing about 25-30 minutes should be fine.

  5. Ren

    I made this today and it was so good. I was looking for a recipe that was eggless because I didn’t have any, and my expectations were low for this recipe. However it turned out great, it was very moist and tasty and I’m glad I found this recipe. I added two bananas, two tablespoon of frozen berries and I used one carrot instead of two, and if Came out great. Thanks a lot

    • Madhuram

      You’re very welcome, Ren. I’m glad you liked it.

  6. Neha

    Hi Madhuram,

    Can you please guide me, if I use self raising flour instead of all purpose flour what changes I’ll have to make to the recipe?

    • Madhuram

      You can omit the baking powder if you use self-raising flour in this recipe. Don’t have to make any other changes.

  7. Trudy

    Thank you for this great recipe. I made it today for my 17 year old vegan son’s birthday. I tried to keep my expectations low, and especially the expectations of my husband who is highly skeptical of anything that purposefully does not have animal products in it. My husband had seconds which was shocking. It really is very good. Everyone was amazed at how moist it was. The cake tastes just like “real” carrot cake. The frosting doesn’t actually taste like cream cheese frosting, but I just went very light, just spread enough to cover the cake rather than laying it on thick, and it was very good in the context of the cake (vs. tasting it with my finger as I made it). The only changes I made were I used orange juice squeezed from a clementine, and grated clementine zest in the frosting instead of the suggested lemon juice and oil, as my regular carrot cake recipe calls for orange. Also, I only had an 8 oz. container of vegan cream cheese so I reduced the sugar to 3 cups and the shortening to 2/3 cup. Next time I will try reducing the shortening even more, maybe 1/3 cup, as I think that might be too strong a flavor. Also, increasing the sugar ratio will thicken it up. It’s definitely a bit thin otherwise. I kept the cake in the fridge so the frosting would stay firm. Also, as you said, there was way too much frosting leftover, another reason to reduce the quantity. All in all I am extremely pleased with this recipe and will be making it again. Thank you! 🙂

    • Madhuram

      You are very welcome Trudy. Wow! that’s such a detailed feedback and you are a very patient person I presume! Thank you very much for taking the time to do so. Orange juice and zest is such a wonderful and flavorful addition. As you have noted the frosting recipe does need some tinkering. I’m glad that your family liked the cake.

  8. Monique

    I tried it. I used grape seed oil. It was a hit. Cake was so moist and tasty. I’m going to make some more tomorrow.

    • Madhuram

      That’s great to know Monique. Did you make the frosting as well? Did it turn out good? Some people have issues with the consistency I believe.

  9. shilpa

    Hi Madhuram, my cake turned out amazingly well (so moist and delicious!) but the frosting was a disaster! it was so runny that it soaked into the cake and looked terrible ☹️any idea where i went wrong?? it also seems like i have about 4 cups left over at least!

    • Madhuram

      Sorry about the frosting Shilpa. I think a couple of others too have had problems with the frosting recipe and I wonder why. I followed it from the book I have mentioned in the post and now don’t remember what was the consistency for the frosting. But I really don’t understand why it would be so runny because we are not using any liquid ingredient. Did you use the tofutti cream cheese right from the fridge or at room temperature. I’m starting to think if it starts getting into a liquid consistency if it is kept out. I do agree that it was a lot of frosting. I have mentioned in the notes that I too had extra but really don’t know about the consistency unless I try it again.

  10. Pushpa

    Hi, can I use ordinary milk instead of the almond one (mention non dairy milk as a substitute)

    • Madhuram

      Yes you can Pushpa.

  11. Jb

    How many cupcakes will this make?

    • Madhuram

      Probably a dozen.

  12. arjuna

    This is an excellent recipe. The cake was moist and very taste. It took twice as much time to be ready. It was worth the wait.

    • Madhuram

      Thanks for the feedback Arjuna.

  13. Trisha Shah

    Hi I am going to make the carrot cake today. Recepie sounds great. One question… Can I use honey instead of all the sugar mentioned… I am making a pet friendly cake . ?

    • Madhuram

      I haven’t tried it with honey. It might work. You might have to adjust some of the other liquid ingredients.