Make these healthy vegan carrot cake bites with a simple whole food plant-based cashew frosting for a comforting oil-free treat!
Loaded with fragrant, cozy spices, shredded carrots and hints of brown sugar, our healthy vegan carrot cake recipe is perfect for so many occasions!
This whole food plant-based treat is fantastic all throughout fall and winter when you’re snuggled up on the couch but also serves as a great Easter recipe.
You’ll love the perfect combination of crunchy walnuts, moist and dense cake, with hints of caramel, cinnamon and carrots!
free 7-day vegan meal plan
Your next week of eating is planned out with these quick and delicious vegan bowls, meal prepping steps & full grocery list.
Together with the simple oil-free cashew frosting, it’s a great way to get more nutrients into the belly of any fussy eater who’s not super keen on veggies.
This healthy vegan carrot cake and our vegan pumpkin brownies are our favorite ways to eat more veggies!
- The most delicious way to eat your veggies
- Undetectably plant-based and healthy
- Meal prep- and kid-friendly
- Great for snacking and sharing
- Full of cozy, warming and fragrant spices
- Perfectly portable grab-and-go snack
- Moist & tender
- No oil thanks to the applesauce
You seriously won’t taste how healthy this vegan carrot cake is. We promise it’ll leave you feeling and satisfied!
- Whole grain flour: making this carrot cake extra healthy but feel free to use regular or gluten-free.
- Applesauce: perfect oil replacement in baking recipes as it adds moisture without adding heaps of calories!
- Carrots: that probably doesn’t come as a surprise; what a way to eat your veggies!
- Brown sugar: for the sweetness and touch of caramel.
- Flaxseeds: replacing eggs while adding omega-3 precursors is a win-win in our books!
- Cashews: the base for our healthy vegan frosting.
- Spices: this recipe calls for cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger and vanilla extract.
No fancy kitchen tools are needed to make this plant-based recipe, only a baking pan, grater and two mixing bowls.
How to make vegan carrot cake
Soak 1 cup of cashews for 2 hours before making this recipe.
Get a 9×13 inch non-stick baking pan or line a traditional one with some parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350° F (180° C).
Make the batter
Gather your ingredients and start by making your flax egg by mixing the flaxseeds with water, then let the mixture sit for a few minutes while you grate your carrots (either by hand or using a food processor).
Mix all of the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and all of your wet ingredients in another bowl. Now, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
At this point, you can add some raisins and walnuts to the batter if you like!
Bake the carrot cake
Pour the carrot cake batter into your prepared pan and place it into the oven for around 35 minutes.
Once the top of your batter has turned slightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, remove your baking pan from the oven and let it cool completely.
If you want to speed up the time it takes for the cake to chill, you can move the dish into the refrigerator for half an hour while you make the cashew frosting!
Make the cashew frosting
Drain your soaked cashews and add them with all the other ingredients for the frosting to a high-speed blender.
Should you work with a non-heavy-duty blender, soak the cashews overnight.
Blend until creamy and smooth, adjusting the components for the perfect texture and flavor as wanted.
We like to make this frosting while the cake is baking and place it in the refrigerator to chill and thicken a bit!
Assemble the carrot cake
Once your cake has cooled completely, take your cashew frosting out of the fridge. Make sure the cake has cooled completely so you don’t mess up the result!
Using a spoon or spatula, spread the cashew frosting onto your carrot cake. You can do so before slicing it into bite-sized pieces or decorate the pieces individually!
Top with crushed walnuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon if you like!
Storage & serving suggestions
Any leftovers can be stored on the counter for about 3 days and in the fridge for up to 5 days. We suggest that you keep the cake in the refrigerator because the cashew frosting might become runny when it’s too warm!
This carrot cake is also freezable for a few months – we recommend you separate the carrot cake squares into appropriate servings before freezing so you can defrost them more easily when the time comes.
It’s a great dessert, lunchbox addition or vegan brunch idea.
FAQs & tips
If you want to make a traditionally-shaped carrot cake, simply double the recipes for both the batter and the frosting, then bake it in two circular cake pans.
You can also make carrot cake bread or muffins by simply pouring the batter in the respective baking forms!
How to make it gluten-free
Swap the whole wheat flour for a gluten-free all-purpose mix to make a gluten-free vegan carrot cake.
While this recipe is already a lot healthier and lighter than traditional carrot cake, you can reduce the calories even further.
Top it with aquafaba whipped cream instead of cashew frosting and skip the raisins and walnuts. You can also replace half of the brown sugar with calorie-free sweeteners!
Make it nut-free
Swap the walnuts for sunflower or pumpkin seeds. You can also just omit them! Instead of a cashew-based frosting, make tofu or sweet potato frosting.
Let’s talk sweeteners
You can also use a vegan liquid sweetener, such as maple syrup or agave, instead of brown sugar, but make sure to decrease the amount of soy milk in this case.
To make the frosting really stiff and white, use powdered white sugar!
The carrot cake batter can also be sweetened with dates similar to our vegan blueberry muffins.
Other food swaps
If you need this recipe to be soy-free, use any other plant-based milk, such as oat, almond or coconut.
For a more convenient version of this vegan carrot cake, either make it with store-bought vegan cream cheese, coconut whipped cream or skip the frosting altogether! The latter makes the bites much easier to transport, too.
More healthy vegan desserts
Eager to try more whole food plant-based treats? Why not start with these fan-favorites from our blog!
Did you make our healthy carrot cake and like it? Feel free to let us know in the comments below and give it a rating. You can also Pin it here!
- 2 cups whole grain flour (240 g)
- ½ cup brown sugar (110 g)
- 3 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp cardamom
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 cup applesauce, unsweetened (240 ml)
- 2 cups carrots, shredded (220 g)
- ¾ cup soy milk (180 ml)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp flaxseed meal
- 6 tbsp water
- ½ cup raisins
- ⅓ cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 cup cashews, soaked for 2 hours (130 g)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- ¼ cup soy milk (60 ml)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp vanilla
Make the Batter
- Let’s start by making the flax egg. Whisk together the flax seeds and water, then let it sit for about 5 minutes until it gets a thick consistency.
- Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C) and prepare your 9x13 inch non-stick baking pan.
- Peel and shred your carrots in a food processor or using a grater.
- Now, place the dry ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and mix them with a spoon.
- In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until well-combined (don’t forget the flax eggl), then fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients without overmixing the batter.
- Finally, fold in the raisins and walnuts.
- Pour the batter into your pan, evening the top with the back of a spatula.
- Bake for around 35 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted into the center and come out clean, then remove from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes before transferring the cake to a cooling rack.
- Let the cake cool completely on the counter or put it in the refrigerator to finish cooling faster.
Make the Cashew Frosting
- Drain and rinse your soaked cashews, then place them into a high-speed blender together with the sugar, soy milk, lemon juice, cinnamon, and vanilla extract.
- Blend everything until smooth, adding more soy milk if needed. The end result should be thick, like cream cheese. Taste and adjust as needed.
- If you have some time left until your carrot cake is cool enough to be assembled, place the cashew frosting into the fridge.
Assemble the Carrot Cake
- Once the carrot cake has cooled, remove from the fridge and start spreading the cashew buttercream frosting on top.
- Top with chopped nuts and cinnamon for decoration if you like, then cut the cake into squares and enjoy!
- Shorten the soaking time for the cashews by placing them in hot water for 10-20 minutes, depending on the power of your blender.
- You can store your carrot cake in the fridge for 5-6 days or on the counter for 3 days. If you want to freeze it, make sure to do so in single servings and let it thaw in the fridge or on the counter before eating. It keeps well in the freezer for several months.
- Instead of walnuts, you can also use pecans or skip nuts altogether in favor of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or shredded coconut.
- For more customization ideas, read the tips in our article above!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 253Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 322mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 3gSugar: 17gProtein: 6g
Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated automatically, their accuracy is not guaranteed. Just focus on whole plant-based foods and eat until satiety!