Vegan Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Frosting

March 30, 2015
7 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 9
Author Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • For the carrot cake:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 cups 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 cups confectioners' sugar, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, allspice, cinnamon, and ginger.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Eliz.
  • Haley Sonneland
    Haley Sonneland
  • Kate Murphy
    Kate Murphy
  • Melanie Askew
    Melanie Askew

5 Reviews

Kate M. September 15, 2018
Could one substitute Coconut Cream for the process with the refrigerating coconut milk overnight?
Eliz. June 8, 2015
I recently made this as an early birthday treat for a vegan whose family said it was delicious; I was just thrilled that the cake puffed up in its spring-form pan since it was my first experience with vegan baking.* My experience in making the frosting differed from what I anticipated after reading the recipe. 2 cans of 365 brand (Whole Foods Market) organic coconut milk sufficed. After a day of refrigeration, only about 1/2 cup of each can's contents remained a thin, almost clear liquid. Most of the coconut milk solidified and sunk to the bottom of the can, leaving a very thin cap of coconut fat floating near the lid. The frosting really is delicious, but I found it cloyingly sweet until I whipped in the zest of an organic lemon and a smidgen of lemon juice--only a teaspoon at first. The citrus made all the difference and I'll definitely make the frosting again. Toasted pecans are a great substitute for walnuts. I am also wondering if the recipe would accommodate a little pineapple instead of nuts and raisins given the wonderful flavor of the coconut oil. *This recipe also inspired me to buy coconut oil for the first time since I am skeptical about dietary trends.
Haley S. April 6, 2015
Made this for Easter and it was a show stopper!
Melanie A. April 2, 2015
This looks really good. You might want to include some information for people as to where to find vegan sugar and confectioner's sugar as not all sugar is vegan.
kellee April 2, 2015
Can I use chia seeds instead of flax seed meal? Will there be a lot of leftover frosting? Three cans of coconut milk seems like a lot.