This vegan carrot cake is dense and chewy, but the sweet, whipped coconut cream frosting gives it a light touch. Follow the recipe instructions to get a layer cake (especially if you're feeling fancy), but feel free to make one single layer and frost it instead. —Gena Hamshaw
For the carrot cake:
1 1/2 tablespoons
2 1/4 cups
all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons
almond milk, rice milk, or soy milk
apple cider vinegar
canola oil or melted coconut oil
firmly packed brown sugar
raisins, tossed in a bit of flour to prevent clumping
For the coconut cream frosting:
cans full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight in the refrigerator
First, prepare the frosting. As the coconut milk sits overnight, it'll accumulate a thick, solid layer at the top of the can. Remove this layer from the can (you can reserve the rest of the liquid for smoothies), and place it into a mixing bowl. Repeat with the other two cans. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla to the mixture. Use a hand mixer to begin whipping the frosting, starting on a low speed and increasing the speed as you go. Move the mixers around as much as possible (this will fold in air, which will make the mixture fluffier). Continue until it is whipped. Refrigerate the frosting for at least 2 hours, preferably 4, before using, so that it can solidify.
Preheat your oven to 350º F. Lightly oil two 8-inch baking dishes (or a single 8-inch square or 8- to 9-inch round baking dish, if you don't want a layer cake).
To make the cake, stir the flaxseed meal and warm water in a small bowl. Allow it to sit and thicken while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, allspice, cinnamon, and ginger.
In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk the milk and apple cider vinegar together until frothy. Add the oil, sugars, carrots, and the flax mixture from step 3.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, taking care not to over-mix (there should still be some clumps). Fold in the raisins and walnuts.
Pour the batter evenly into the two baking dishes. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cake is spring to the touch, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely.
Invert one cake onto a serving plate, and frost the top. Gingerly rest the other cake on top of the first, then frost the top and sides of the cake. Cut into squares and serve.
Gena Hamshaw is a certified nutritionist, recipe developer, and food blogger. She shares her latest culinary adventures at The Full Helping. She's the author of two cookbooks, Food52 Vegan (2015) and Choosing Raw (2014). She enjoys yoga, sweet potatoes, cashews, and things that are smothered in sauce.