Best-of-Both-Worlds Vegan Carrot Cake

April  2, 2015

Every other Thursday, Gena Hamshaw of the blog Choosing Raw shares satisfying, flavorful recipes that also happen to be vegan.

Today: Rethink what you know about vegan frosting, and then slather it on carrot cake. 

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Carrot cake is the rare dessert that allows you to satisfy both the angel and the devil on your proverbial shoulders. My favorite versions are dense and hearty, brimming with grated carrots, walnuts, and raisins; since it has fruits, vegetables, and nuts, it's pretty much health food, right? Then again, the most memorable carrot cakes are topped with thick, rich frosting.

This vegan carrot cake is the best of both worlds: Carrots definitely take a starring role in the moist, textured cake, which is piled high with a rich, coconut-based frosting that will make you rethink everything you’ve assumed in the past about vegan frosting. (This one is totally free of faux cheese or butter, and it contains only three ingredients.)

If the idea of creating a layer cake has you rethinking the appeal of this otherwise fuss-free dessert, don’t worry: It’ll be just as delicious if you bake it in a single round or square pan. Just be sure to give it some extra cooking time, check if it's done with a toothpick often, and save your extra frosting for some late-night snacking.

Vegan Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Frosting

Serves 9

For the cake:

1 1/2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup almond milk, rice milk, or soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup canola oil or melted coconut oil
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups grated carrots
1/3 cup raisins, tossed in a bit of flour to prevent clumping
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the coconut cream frosting:

3 cans full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight in the refrigerator
2/3 to 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

See (and print and save) the full recipe here.

Photos by Bobbi Lin

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The Food52 Vegan Cookbook is here! With this book from Gena Hamshaw, anyone can learn how to eat more plants (and along the way, how to cook with and love cashew cheese, tofu, and nutritional yeast).

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Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.


Lisa March 20, 2018
Any way to do icing without confectioners sugar?
Sarah June 19, 2016
The cake was a little dry for my taste and somehow a little tough. We used cream cheese frosting, which was delicious, because we eat dairy. I am haunted by the memory of my mother's carrot cake recipe, which was so moist, but, since we've given up eggs, I can't find an eggless carrot cake recipe that can hold a candle to it. I won't make this again.
Sharon I. November 2, 2015
Does anyone have a carrot soufle recipe they would like to share?
Kim W. April 2, 2015
Wow..this looks impressive! I can't wait to try it and will report back. Thank you for sharing.
Jenné April 2, 2015
This cake has got me drooling! I LOVE carrot cake, and usually make a coconut icing too. It's so velvety, smooth, and airy. The very best!! Can't wait to try your recipe Gena :) p.s. We should get together soon! xo