Healthy Vegan Carrot Cake with Cashew Frosting

top view of 4 pieces of vegan carrot cake with cashew frosting on a grey plate next to a wooden spoon and black linen
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We could all need a few more veggies in our diet, probably. Especially kids oftentimes dread eating these healthy and non-sweet foods. And since we’re all just more or less grown-up kids, having an easy way to integrate more healthy foods that taste amazing is just what we need! This simple and delicious vegan carrot cake is a perfect example of plantifying your plate – sneaking veggies into your family’s tummies has never been so easy.

Most cake recipes we come across are just loaded with sugar and oil, made with refined flour, oftentimes not vegan, or require fancy ingredients.

If you’re familiar with our nourishing plant-based dishes, you’ll know that we’re always on the lookout for ways to keep everything as unrefined and healthful as possible while not cutting back on convenience or taste.

Desserts and treats are meant to be more satisfying and richer than our everyday meals. That’s totally fine! A lot easier to get newbies excited about healthy plant-based dishes with a piece of sweet vegan carrot cake instead of a bowl filled with brown rice and steamed broccoli (cause that’s how we usually roll at home).

vegan carrot cake ingredients

Especially during fall and winter, we love cozy afternoons that involve good people, good conversation, good coffee or tea – along with a piece of guilt-free, nourishing, and tender cake. The spices used will remind you of Christmas time with the family and you can customize it as always. Our favorite add-ons include nuts (especially walnuts) as well as raisins. But anything along those lines will do!

vegan carrot cake mixing ingredients

Swap the soy milk for oat milk, use gluten-free flour, use white sweet potatoes for your frosting and you’ll have a soy-free, gluten-free, and/or nut-free version of the recipe. We always like to look out for our readers who have dietary restrictions because they, too, deserve to taste this.

And if you want things to be more convenient, you can use store-bought vegan cream cheese or coconut whipped cream for your frosting! It’ll take away some points on the “wholesomeness” scale, but sometimes that’s all you can handle.

finished vegan carrot cake cut into pieces

Anyway, you will love this moist and wholesome vegan carrot cake because it doesn’t really taste “healthy” and leaves you feeling vibrantly satisfied. It even takes care of some of your Omega-3 requirement because we use a flax egg – instead of adding dietary cholesterol and saturated fat in the form of an actual chicken’s eggs. Win-win, right?

putting frosting on vegan carrot cake

The preparation is seemingly easy: mixing together the dry ingredients, then the wet ingredients, before folding one into the other. Add your favorite chopped nuts or dried fruit to the batter (you can skip this part if you want the carrot cake to be less fancy), then pour it into your baking pan and put everything into the oven.

vegan carrot cake with frosting

Once you’ve taken out that hot goodness, let it cool a little while preparing your frosting of choice. You can find our favorite one in this recipe. Try not to “sample” it all away before smothering the carrot cake in it, though! You could skip the frosting for a lazier and lighter version. For the decoration, we like to use chopped walnuts and some cinnamon!

vegan carrot cake with frosting and nuts

Even when you’re not used to baking, you cannot really go wrong here. We highly encourage you to try it out on a lazy weekend – or if you’re in the mood for another baked sweet treat, why not go check out our blueberry muffins or pumpkin muffins?

But for now, here’s what you need to get and do so you can enjoy our healthy vegan carrot cake recipe asap. 

Did you make our delicious carrot cake? Feel free to let us know in the comments below and give it a rating. You can also Pin it for later and tag us on Instagram so we can share! 

top view of 4 pieces of vegan carrot cake with cashew frosting on a grey plate next to a wooden spoon and black linen
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Wholesome Vegan Carrot Cake & Cashew Frosting (Oil-Free)

Eat more veggies by indulging in our sweet & moist vegan carrot cake! This wholesome goodness is a guilt-free treat, perfect for cold and grey days.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: carrots, cashews, whole grain
Servings: 12
Calories: 196kcal

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole grain flour (240 g)
  • ½ cup brown sugar or coconut sugar (110 g)
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • ½ tsp ground ginger

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 cup applesauce, unsweetened (240 ml)
  • 2 cups carrots, shredded (220 g)
  • ¾ cup soy milk (180 ml)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp flax seed meal
  • 6 tbsp water

Optional add-ons

  • ½ cup raisins
  • cup walnuts, chopped

Frosting

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked (130 g)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup soy milk (60 ml)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp vanilla

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F/180C and prepare your 8 or 9-inch non-stick pan (lining it with parchment if you don’t have non-stick bakeware).
  • Start off by making your flax egg. Whisk together the flax seeds and water, then let it sit for about 5 minutes to get a thick consistency. Meanwhile, peel and shred your carrots in a food processor or using a grater. 
  • Place all your dry ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and mix them. In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until well combined (adding the flax egg in as well), 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, then remove from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and put it on a cooling rack.
  • For the frosting, soak the cashews in boiling water for around 2-4 hours, depending on how much time you have. Overnight would be best. Drain and wash your cashews, then place them in a blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth, adding more soy milk if needed. The end result should be thick like cream cheese. Once the carrot cake is cool, put on your frosting.
  • Top with chopped nuts and cinnamon for decoration!
woman in grey vegan shirt with her hands on her hips looking to the left and smiling
Alena has been eating a plant-based diet for 6 years and is passionate about sharing her learnings in the fields of nutrition, wellbeing, and vegan ethics. She is the co-creator of nutriciously and loves music, reading, nature, traveling, yoga & good food. Alena received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy, and social work.
dark grey spotted bowl with a variety of vegetables next to small bottle of green smoothie isolated on light background

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16 thoughts on “Healthy Vegan Carrot Cake with Cashew Frosting”

    • Hi Kathy,
      thanks for asking. I have only ever used soy milk (because that’s the one we always have at home) but assume that nut milks work here, too. Maybe you’ll need a little less of it, though, should they be lower in fat and not as creamy.
      Hope this helps! Thanks for the lovely comment :)
      Best wishes,
      Alena

  1. Thank you for your sharing. Thanks to this article I can learn more things. Expand your knowledge and abilities. Actually the article is very practical. Thank you!

  2. Thank you so much for this recipe! It’s been a long time I have been looking for one, with no oil, that would taste so good!
    It is now my favorite! Will share it!
    Nata

    • Oh Nata, so happy to hear that!
      Yes, oil-free plant-based recipes are still hard to find online so we’ve made it our mission to create them ;) I’m beyond thrilled to know you liked the carrot cake very much. Just need to find something that replaces the moisture and chewiness that the oil would add.
      Let us know if you’re looking for another oil-free recipe for something specific.
      Best wishes,
      Alena

  3. Alena, its Nata again :)
    This weekend I want to try using your carrot cake recipe, transforming it into the banana/chocolate cake. Have you tried making oil free chocolate cake? Let me know if you have any important tips! Thank you so much again for this recipe, I have made it several times already! I also mill spelt into flour just before making the cake. Last time I tried buckwheat instead, it was good, but more dry, turned out to be a sweet bread, which was also quite delicious!
    Greetings from here,
    Nata

    • Thanks so much for checking back in and letting me know about your experiences! We don’t make cake very often and I don’t remember making chocolate cake in a long time… but it’s a wonderful idea, thanks a lot. I’ll put it on my list :)
      So happy to know that you made this carrot cake a couple of times already! Yay for health(ish) treats.
      Warm wishes,
      Alena

  4. Hi,
    This sounds like a great recipe, I’m so glad to find it, I’ve been looking for a healthy carrot cake recipe! I’d just like to substitute chick-pea flour instead, I just hope the cake doesn’t become completely crumbly and fall apart!

    • Hey Lyra,
      thanks so much for the wonderful feedback! I haven’t tried making them with chickpea flour and am very interested in how they turn out – so please feel free to share. One thing I know is that you cannot substitute glutenous flour like wheat flour 1 : 1 with let’s say chickpea flour. You need something to make it sticky, too.
      Hope this helps!
      Best wishes,
      Alena

  5. Hi!
    I made it today and substituted mashed banana for apple sauce. It works well!
    I’m searching none oil and low sugar carrot cake recipe, so I’m so happy that I found this recipe. Thank you from Japan!

  6. My original recipe is very close with the subs. But also calls for a can of crushed pineapple. Can I get away with that in this recipe or should I cut out a wet ingredient?

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