Super Moist Vegan Carrot Cake

Vegan Carrot Cake

Kristina Vanni

Prep: 50 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Cool: 60 mins
Total: 2 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 1 8-inch cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
597 Calories
23g Fat
95g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 597
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 403mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 95g 35%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 72g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 2mg 10%
Calcium 79mg 6%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 162mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Carrot cake is a classic dessert that is full of flavor, incredibly moist, and always a crowd pleaser. This particular carrot cake is so great because not only is it easy to make, but it is sure to be a hit with both vegans and nonvegans alike. In fact, there's no need to use any sort of egg replacer or other special ingredients.

People often wonder what replaces eggs in this recipe or what they can use to substitute for eggs in a carrot cake. While oftentimes vegans replace eggs in baking with a mixture known as a flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 2 1/2 tablespoons water), there is no need for that here. Since carrot cakes are already inherently dense cakes, we don't need any sort of binder to keep all the ingredients together. Just a bit of applesauce, some almond milk, and canola oil are enough to make sure the cake is perfectly moist and delicious. Of course, the grated carrots also add color, texture, and moisture to the cake as well.

Speaking of carrots, it is important to finely grate your own carrots just before adding them to the recipe. This can be done by hand using a coarse cheese grater, or in the food processor. Do not use any sort of pre-grated or matchstick cut carrots sold in a bag in the grocery store.

Finally, this recipe is customizable to your specific tastes and needs. The walnuts can be substituted for another chopped nut or omitted all together. You can even use the equivalent amount of raisins, if desired. Also, there are options to bake this as a sheet cake or single layer cake if that fits your needs. It is the perfect dessert for an Easter celebration, spring gathering, or birthday party.

"If you are looking for a dairy-free cake, a vegan option, or a general crowd pleaser, you have found your match! This cake whips up super quickly, you don't need any fancy equipment, and it will be sure to impress anyone who loves carrot cake." —Tracy Wilk

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A Note From Our Recipe Tester


Vegan Carrot Cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 cup cinnamon applesauce

  • 3/4 cup almond milk

  • 1/2 cup canola oil

  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • 3 cups finely grated carrots, from about 3 large carrots

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, cubed and softened to room temperature

  • 8 ounces vegan cream cheese

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar

  • Walnuts, for optional garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Vegan Carrot Cake

    Kristina Vanni

  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 2 (8-inch) round cake pans or coat with baking spray and set aside. 

    Vegan Carrot Cake

    Kristina Vanni

  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. 

    Vegan Carrot Cake

    Kristina Vanni

  4. Add the applesauce, almond milk, oil, and vanilla. Stir to combine.

    Vegan Carrot Cake

    Kristina Vanni

  5. Fold in the carrots and walnuts, if using. Do not overmix.

    Vegan Carrot Cake

    Kristina Vanni

  6. Pour the cake batter evenly between the prepared pans, then bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the tops of the cakes are set.

    Vegan Carrot Cake

    Kristina Vanni

  7. Remove from the oven, and cool in the pans on a wire rack for about 20 minutes before carefully removing from the pans. Allow the cakes to cool completely on the wire rack before frosting.

    Vegan Carrot Cake

    Kristina Vanni

  8. For the frosting, whip the vegan butter, vegan cream cheese, and vanilla extract until combined.

    Vegan Carrot Cake

    Kristina Vanni

  9. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy.

    Vegan Carrot Cake

    Kristina Vanni

  10. Frost between the layers, over the top and down the sides of the cake.

    Vegan Carrot Cake

    Kristina Vanni

  11. Garnish with additional chopped walnuts, if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Vegan Carrot Cake

    Kristina Vanni


This recipe for a vegan lemon frosting which would also go nicely with this carrot cake.

Recipe Variations

What can I substitute for walnuts in carrot cake? Here the walnuts are optional, so they can be left out entirely if you prefer. They can also be substituted for another chopped nut such as pecans or macadamia nuts. Another option would be to swap the nuts for the equivalent amount of raisins or shredded coconut.

Can I add pineapple to carrot cake? Yes, if you want to incorporate pineapple, use 1 cup of crushed pineapple instead of the 1 cup of cinnamon applesauce.

Can I make this carrot cake as a sheet cake? Yes, grease and flour a 9 x 13-inch pan and proceed as the recipe describes. The top can be frosted and then cut into squares to serve.

Can this be halved for a single layer cake? Yes, simply halve all the ingredients and bake in a greased and floured round or square 8-inch baking pan.

How to Store

  • Cover and store leftover cake in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • If you want to make the cake layers ahead of time, once cooled wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze for up to three months. Defrost completely in the refrigerator before frosting and serving.

Is carrot cake better with oil or butter?

Carrot cake can be made with either oil or butter since both add moisture and richness to the cake. However, making the carrot cake with oil and without eggs keeps it vegan and dairy free.

How many carrots equal a cup?

One medium- to large-sized carrot will yield about 1 cup of grated carrot.

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