Vegan Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


(from 21 reviews)
113
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 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)
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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113 COMMENTS

  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! πŸ™‚

    • 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.

    • 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.

  2. 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!

    • 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 . ?

  5. Tried this today and it was so delicious. I used canola oil (didnt have any other oil) and i used a deep cake pan, instead of splitting it into two. Added walnuts, omitted the allspice, doubled the cinnamon and it baked at 180 for about 45-50 mins. It was great! Topped with an icing sugar/hot water icing and lemon zest. Might try lemon zest in the cake next time! Thank you for the recipe πŸ˜€

  6. I love this recipe. I made 18cup cakes instead of cake. I also used grapeseed oil instead of coconut oil ( that’s what I had on hand). I definitely will be making this recipe AGAIN!!! mmm mmm good

  7. The cake recipe is sound and tasty. Something is missing with the cream cheese frosting though. Mine came out a little too runny as well, and I used the butter sticks and let it set up in the fridge for a few hours too. Maybe whipping it instead of beating it would help? Or more tofuti cream cheese and less sugar?

  8. It was a huge hit with my family.. this was my first carrot cake. I used 1 cup WWF and 1/2 cup oil. Loved it. Thanks for easy to do recipe.

  9. Hi can I use ordinary cows milk instead of almond milk? I’m not vegan but only eat eggless so can use cows milk if it would work with this recipe?

    Thanks

  10. Frosting tastes pretty good. Never had vegan frosting before. But this makes an ungodly amount – and I like frosting! Cut it in half! Also, my frosting came out a bit runny and I’m afraid it might be too runny as it sits and gets to room temp again (after refrig overnight). Someone mentioned using margarine sticks instead of the spreadable tub. That may have been my undoing. Don’t know.

  11. Hi sis. Can i bake in 2 , 8 inch tray? So that the cake will look a bit more taller. Please advice! Thank you.

  12. This is exactly what I was looking for. I’ll be making it this weekend. Thanks for sharing it. I’m looking forward to trying your other recipes πŸ˜€

  13. Great start at a vegan carrot cake recipe. But I cut the sugar by half and replaced the coconut oil, which hardened and ruined the cake the first time I tried it, with canola oil. The frosting should be reduced by half, and you still get plenty.

  14. Hi Madhuram
    I have Instant carrot cake mix(gluten free).In that they specify that mix it with 2 large eggs,oil and water.But my family don’t want use eggs so I am looking for substitution.Can you please suggest me how to get puffy cup cakes which my 3 yrs old baby likes.Thanks in advance

    • I would use 1/2 cup yogurt instead of 2 large eggs. But being a gluten-free mix I’m not sure how well it will rise. You can try it anyways.

  15. This was truly delicious!!! My daughter (age 7) has an egg allergy and we love to bake so have used your site a number of times and love it. Thanks! Only one question about this particular recipe: I noticed that the coconut oil was clumpy (some large clumps) in the batter. Using a mixer didn’t help this. They seemed to bake up ok though so wasn’t sure whether this was even a problem.

    • Thank you very much Meighan. Yes coconut oil gets lumpy depending upon the temperature. It’s not much of a problem in cake recipes, etc because it will melt. I stopped using it in pancake, waffle recipes though. That’s why I’m using avocado oil these days in most of my baking recipes.

  16. Hi Madhuram,

    Amazing, mind blowing cake! πŸ™‚ Me and whole family loved it. Super soft moist and delicious. I am so glad to have found your blog. Eggless cakes were never so good!

    Mine baked in 40 Minutes at 180 degrees convection Microwave setting.

    Thanks again!
    Will try more cakes…..for sure!
    Shalini

  17. Hi Madhuram,

    Am planning to bake this cake tonight, i don’t have allspice, is it optional or can you suggest an alternative? I am based out of India.

    Also i am not planning to create frosting as i don’t know about the ingredients mentioned.New to baking so… Also unsure if we get these in India?

    Kindly respond.

    Thanks,
    Shalini

    • All spice is not a must Shalini. If you can get ground cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, a little of each will do, or just plain cinnamon is ok too. Even I don’t know if all these ingredients are available in India. I guess you have to look around. All the best, Shalini.

  18. Hi, am planning to bake this one soon πŸ™‚ reading comments i realise i can substiture oil with butter and almond milk with toned dairy milk. Am i correct?

    I tried ur eggless vanilla cake and loved it!

  19. Hello there !! I wanted to make this tonight but I wanted to make only for 1 9 x 5 loaf pan. Have you tried making this in a loaf pan ? If so, do you think all measurements should remain same ? How long to cook and what temperature ??

  20. Hi, I like all your recipes..I want to try this carrot cake with whole wheat pastry flour. Please tell me how much flour I should use? I am confused you mentioned 3/4th cup in your notes.
    Thanks.

    • The original recipe used 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and 3/4th cup of whole wheat pastry flour, because I didn’t have WWPF, I used 2 and 1/4 cups APF.

  21. I made this today – just one 9″ round cake with half the measurements you have given here. I am yet to taste it. But my husband and little one had it and said it is excellent! Thanks so much for blogging, Madhuram.

  22. I just want to thank you so much for this recipe! I have scoured the internet so long for the perfect eggless carrot cake recipe. I am allergic to eggs so cake is a real treat for me! I did a few tweaks but it turned out awesome. This is the first cake I’ve baked homemade that did not sink or fall apart. It was moist and delicious! My friends loved it also!

  23. […] have not been able to keep track on healthful eating since August. It all started with my eldest son’s birthday and from then on I have been slipping for some reason or the other. I didn’t make soups and […]

  24. I am trying the carrot cake. I made it with baking powder, but I was wondering if you are using double acting baking powder or just simple baking powder. I would like the cake to raise a little bit better. Any suggestions? It is for my grandson’s birthday.

    • Hi Vilma, I have never used double acting baking powder, so unable to comment if the cake would rise more using the same.

      • I found out that the double acting and the just regular have the same effect. Thanks for your reply. The cake was a hit. I use the half shortening half butter frosting with cream cheese and it turned out great. I am so thankful about this site. and the piece of mind that my children get to be able to give a cake that my grandson could enjoy without a concern about him getting an allergy.

  25. I just made this cake yesterday and followed the ingredients as per mentioned. I was genuinely surprised as to how soft it turned out!! Thank you so much for sharing! πŸ™‚ I substituted the almond milk with regular whole milk and oil with melted butter. The only tiny issue was that the cake smelled like baking powder so I shall be adding in 3/4 of a spoon of it the next time I bake this again. Thank you once again! πŸ™‚

  26. can cream cheese (not its frosting) can particularly cream cheese be substituted by any thing if not then how can we make it at home ?

    • You can just make butter frosting. I have not thought about making cream cheese at home. So I guess you have got to Google it.

  27. HI ,
    thanks for the nice recipe, but mine did not turn out quiet well. I prepared it one evening before, kept it in the refrigerator & cut the cut the next evening (as we all go for work, school etc.) the cake when eaten was as if it was not baked properly (I did the toothpick test & it came out clean) as if we were eating the batter πŸ™
    I tried the self rising flour instead of the all purpose one & all the steps as you suggested, could that be the reason?
    My carrots were v juicy, you thnk I should have removed some juice from the carrot (with cloth) & then use the carrots?
    do you think I should decrease the qty of baking powder/ soda if I use the self raising flour?

    I am absolute beginner in baking & need your guidance πŸ™‚
    I intend to bake the cake again with all purpose flour & extracting the juice from the carrots and then baking again
    Thanks

    • Hi Pooja, how juicy can carrots get? I don’t think that’s the problem. I have baked so many times using carrots; you just have to grate it and mix it with the batter. When using self rising flour you need to adjust the baking powder in the recipe and even for me it would have been a guess and I wouldn’t know unless I try it myself. I wish beginners can ask me before trying the recipe if a substitution would work.

  28. Hi,

    Another great recipe. Carrot cake turned out well. However, the frosting didn’t quite work for me. It was too runny. Almost like a watery yogurt. Any idea where I went wrong? X

    • Thanks Anonymous baker. I can’t think of any reason (if you had followed the measurements properly) other than the temperature. Was it a hot day? You could have tried putting the frosting in the fridge for a couple of hours before frosting or added some more icing sugar.

    • No, it won’t work Roshni. You need 2 pans or one 9×13 inch pan, but in that case slicing the cake horizontally to make it a layered cake could be tricky. If you have just one pan, bake one half of the batter put the rest of it in the fridge and once the first cake is out and you are able to remove the cake from the pan, bake the rest of the batter the 2nd time. Or else get the aluminum foil pans from Dollar store or any grocery store and you will be done quickly.

  29. Hi! I am loving to do this cake for a birthday party at home..I have a question. .Wat other frosting wil be suitable for this cake? . .does coconut frosting goes well with carrot cake?

  30. Hi! I used this recipe to make carrot cupcakes and it was a huge hit! The cake was so moist and flavorful! I got so many compliments and I was I so happy my youngest son could eat it too! He’s allergic to eggs. In fact, he ate 3. Is there any way to figure out the calories per serving for this?

    • Thanks for the feedback Olivia. I’m so happy for your kid. You can use Spark People’s nutrition calculator. It’s free to use.

  31. Prepared this cake yesterday…it came out very well…n the taste is awesome. Also the cake is very soft. Had called upon few friends n they too loved it. I used whole milk instead of almond milk & vegetable oil instead of coconut oil.

    Also, very interesting website. My hubby is very fond of cakes n cookies. I am a vegetarian & so i prefer preparing them at home.
    I think I have found a very good collection of recipes.

    Thank You.

  32. My almost 3 year old son has allergy to dairy, egg, nut, sea food….. . I’m very excited to find this website, and try your recipes as soon as possible

  33. Hiya there! I was looking for an eggless carrot cake which I found on this site but the only problem I have is…I dont use cups so how would I work it out by using weighting scale. It would grateful if you could let me know about this. I will be doing this cake in 2days. Can you kindly email me which would be better for me to get it from there. It looks good and I will try it and see what happens. I am making this for a friend who dont eat eggs. The other thing I want to know can I use any dairy product as frosting. I want to do the cake of 15 to 20 people what will you recommend the ingredients would be. Thank You.

  34. Hey Madhuram

    My b-lated B-Day wishes to your son! I just got bumped into your site when i was looking for eggless muffins. My goodness, u got a gr8 website running out here that is way too useful. Congrats buddy. When i was reading bulkbarn and so on, i was wondering where u r living and to my surprise as i doubted, u r from Canada…Wow! I am from Canada as well, Montreal, Qc. I guess u r from Ontario where there is bulk barn every corner…?? haha…

    Keep up the great work. Hats off to you!

    Best regards,
    SK

  35. Madhuram,
    thanks for the recipe.
    Could you please let me know how you veganized the vanilla cupcake. I see in the original recipe, you have used condensed milk. So, I am really interested in knowing how you substituted it..I am still in search of the best easy vegan vanilla cake..May be yours is the solution. πŸ™‚

  36. Thanks Madhuram
    Shall try the “covering the cake with foil” next time
    But wont that result in the heat condensing on the cake and mking it mushy ?
    Never done this before
    tnx

  37. Hey Madhu !

    I made this cake yesterday as per the instructions given by you here.
    These are my comments / observations about the outcome of my cake:

    1) I baked everything in one big round baking pan instead of two since I ddint want to frost….I was looking for a snack cake.
    It took around 60 mins for it to bake good (I kept checking from 45 mins itself)
    The cake rose good….but only problem was the the sides / circumference of the cake got very hard like a pizza crust. I had line the bottom of the pan with butter paper and sprayed the entire pan.
    The interiors were soft though…..any idea how i can improvise on that ?

    2) The taste was just OK the first day.
    As you said….this cake tastes better the second day.
    The sugar was just ok….so if you are making this as a coffee / snack cake maybe just increase the sugar by another 1/4 cup atleast.

    3) I also added golden raisins and a teaspoon of cardamom powder both of which gave a good flavor to the cake.

    Overall : My cake was just around 3 out of 5 points I shud say.

    Thanks for sharing your recipes
    Had a nice time baking it.
    Love you

    – Rupa

    • Thanks for the detailed feedback, Rupa. I also felt the same about the sweetness of the cake. It definitely needs some more sugar if you are not frosting it. To prevent hardening of the crust, you should either use a 9×13 inch pan because this is a lot of batter for just 1 round cake. Or you should use aluminum foil to cover the cake after about 40 minutes until it’s done or you could even try reducing the temperature by another 25 degrees after about 40 minutes.

  38. Hi!

    The recipe above sounds mouthwateringly delicious! However, could you suggest where could I look for non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening and non-hydrogenated cream cheese, in India (Calcutta)?

    Regards,
    Manjari Jain.

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