Vegan Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

(from 21 reviews)
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.


Vegan Carrot Cake w/ Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Prep TimeCook TimeMakes
20 Mins18 MinsTwo 9" Round Cakes/18 Cupcakes
Vegan Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
4.9 from 21 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)
  • 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.
  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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  1. 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! 🙂

    • 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.


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