This was the first time I have ever made a vegan layered carrot cake 😊. And it turned out to be a very fluffy, moist and flavorful cake, exactly like the non-vegan version.
Deliciously spiced with an irresistible aroma and covered in rich cream cheese frosting, this cake is a very good choice for a birthday celebration or for any other special occasion.
About vegan layered carrot cake ingredients
In this section you’ll find general information about the ingredients I used, their role and possible substitues. Details about quantities and preparation method are written in the recipe box at the end of the article.
When it comes to vegan baking, finding substitutes for eggs and dairy products might seem a bit of a challenge. But, luckily, there are plenty of options you can choose from, depending on the type of cake you want to prepare.
Replacing dairy products is quite easy. There’s a large variety of plant based milks, yogurts, and even condensed milk that make very good cakes. In general, I prefer using almond, oats or soy milk because they are thicker (comparing to rice milk, for instance). For this cake, I used soy milk.
And there are quite many egg replacements too: flaxseed eggs, ripped bananas, apple sauce, pumpkin purée, and even aquafaba (which I haven’t tried yet).
Since carrots already have a lot of water, I chose some more “concentrated” egg replacements to bind the ingredients in this cake. So, I used a ripped banana and two flaxseed eggs. Normally, I combine 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed with 3 tbsp of water to get a vegan “egg”; but, this time, I used only 2 tbsp of water for each tbsp of flaxseed flour.
And, of course, we need some fat to keep this cake soft and moist. I chose olive oil for this cake. I’ve tested with coconut oil, but the cake was too thick and I didn’t like it.
The rest of the ingredients are quite common: all purpose flour, raw cane sugar, leavener agents (baking soda and baking powder), lemon/orange zest and vanilla extract (for enhanced flavor), walnuts and raisins. I added a bit of corn starch to get a fluffier cake (I’ve tested the cake without starch and the result was quite different). For specific flavors, I added ground ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and a few walnuts and raisins. And obviously, carrots, which are the star ingredients in this recipe 😉.
For the frosting, I chose a mix of vegan cream cheese and vegan butter. I’m trying to reduce sugar consumption so, I used less sugar than normally required for a cake frosting. If you prefer a more sweet frosting, feel free to add more sugar. The more sugar added, the firmer the frosting. And I like giving the frosting some flavor by adding vanilla and / or lemon or orange juice and zest.
How to make a simple vegan layered carrot cake
Step 1: Prepare and bake the cake layers
Preparing the cake layers is the same as making any other simple cake, The only difference is that you need to equally divide the batter into to cake pans.
It is important to use room temperature ingredients. This way, the ingredients easily combine into an emulsion which will incorporate air that makes the cake fluffier.
Start by putting flour, sugar, spices, and salt in a large bowl and combine them well. In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients and then pour them on top of the dry ingredients.
After dry and wet ingredients are well combined, stir in grated carrots, raisins and chopped walnuts.
This batter is enough for a 18 cm round cake pan. Use a digital scale to measure and distribute the batter evenly into the two pans. This helps getting exact same size cake layers.
Bake the cakes for about 40 minutes (or until the toothpick comes out clean). It is very important to allow the cakes to cool completely before icing. Otherwise, the frosting will melt on your cake and it will make it impossible to spread.
Step 2: Prepare the frosting
While the cakes are baking, you can prepare the frosting. Be sure all ingredients are at the same temperature, otherwise the frosting will break (it happened to me 😉). So, take out of the fridge the vegan butter and vegan cream cheese at least 30 minutes in advance. Drain the excess water from cream cheese container before using (if necessary) and sieve the powder sugar.
Put the vegan butter in a bowl and whip with an electric mixer until creamy. Then add cream cheese, vanilla and lemon juice and blend on high speed for maximum 1 minute, until they combine well. Don’t over blend, otherwise the frosting will be too thin.
Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed for 30-4- seconds. Switch to high speed and blend until firm (1-2 minutes). The frosting will firm up even more after you leave it in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.
After refrigerating, in case the frosting is not thick enough, add more sugar and combine again with the electric mixer.
Step 3: Assemble and decorate the cake
Place the first cake layer on a cardboard round or directly onto the cake stand or plate. Then spread on top of it, in an even layer, about 1/3 of the frosting using a spatula. Place the other cake on top of the frosting; the remained frosting is enough to cover the top layer and also the cake’s sides.
Decorate the cake as you wish with chopped walnut and dried fruits. Place the cake into the fridge for minimum 2 hours before slicing it.
Make it easier
If you want to save yourself some time, don’t make it a layered cake. Just bake the batter in a 25×25 cm (approximately) pan, spread the frosting on top and you’re done😉 .
Or you can prepare the cake layers one or two days in advance. You can prepare the cakes even earlier and freeze them. They keep well in the freezer for about 2 months.
One of my readers has also told me she used only one cake pan for baking and than cut it in two. The baking time should be a little longer in this case.
How to store the vegan carrot cake
Keep the cake covered and refrigerated until ready to serve. It will keep in the fridge up to 4-5 days.
If you try this vegan carrot cake, please let me know your impression. It would be of great help for me to hear your feedback ?. Please leave a comment below and don’t forget to take a photo and tag #choose_tasty on Instagram 😊.
Vegan Carrot Cake
- 2 x 18 cm round cake pans
- electric mixer
- 200 g grated carrot
- 70 g chopped walnuts 50g for the cake, 20g to decorate
- 50 g raisins
- dried fruits – mango, papaya, pineapple optional, to decorate the cake
Cake dry ingredients
- 350 g all purpose flour sieved
- 30 g cornstarch sieved
- 170 g raw cane sugar
- 1⅓ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tbsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- zest from 1 lemon
Cake wet ingredients
- 1 ripe banana (150 g after peeling) well mashed
- 70 ml olive oil
- 230 ml soy milk
- 2 flaxseed eggs 2 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 4 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 100 g vegan butter at room temperature
- 300 g vegan cream cheese at room temperature
- 120 g powdered sugar sieved
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Prepare and bake the cake
- Preheat the oven at 180°C and line up with parchment paper 2×18 c round cake pans;
- Put all dry ingredients in a large bowl and combine well;
- In another bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients;
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and combine well with a spatula; mix gently until there are no big white spots left;
- Add grated carrot and stir gently;
- Mix in chopped walnuts and raisins;
- Pour the dough in the cake pans and bake for about 40 minutes; when the cakes are bakes, remove from the oven and let them cool on a kitchen rack;
Prepare the frosting
- Put the vegan butter in a bowl and mix until fluffy and creamy;
- Add vegan cream cheese, vanilla extract and lemon juice, switch to high speed and blend for maximum 1 minute;
- Add gradually the powder sugar gradually while beating with the mixer over low speed; switch to high speed again and mix until the frosting firms up; leave it in the fridge for 20 minutes;
Assemble and decorate the cake
- When the cakes are completely cooled, place a cake layer on a cake stand and spread in an even layer about ⅓ of the frosting;
- Add the other cake on top and then spread the remained frosting on the top and cake's sides;
- Decorate with chopped walnuts and dried fruits however you like; leave it in the fridge for at least 2 hours before slicing it.
- Sieve flour and cornstarch before using it.
- Use a scale to make sure you’re dividing the cake batter evenly into the two cake pans.
- Baking time can vary, depending on the oven; insert a toothpick in the middle of the cakes and, if it comes out clean, your cakes are baked; if not, leave them in the oven for another 5 minutes and repeat the toothpick test.
- Vegan butter and vegan cream cheese need to be at the same temperature, otherwise the frosting will break.
- Drain the excess liquid from the vegan cream cheese box if necessary.
- If you overmix the frosting, it will be too thin.
- Allow the cakes to cool completely before adding the frosting.