This is honestly the best vegan carrot cake I’ve ever had, and it’s a crowd favorite with even non-vegan eaters. Entirely gluten free and topped with a creamy dairy free cream cheese frosting, this easy one bowl carrot cake is soon to be your favorite too! 

BEST Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe (Gluten Free option!)

Reasons to love this vegan carrot cake

Just wait until you try this carrot cake recipe. Seriously, whether you’re vegan or not, I know you will fall in love with it.

This secretly vegan cake‘s flavor is full of rich and sweet spices, and just lightly sweet while being so tender and perfect in texture. Using a dairy free vegan cream cheese frosting, you’ll be able to create a carrot cake fit for a bakery (or even better!).

Pretty cool, right?

sliced vegan carrot cake

If you need more proof, then the carrot cake king himself (my dad lol) claims this is his favorite carrot cake. Carrot cake is his favorite cake of all time, so I wanted to make sure that this healthy carrot cake would pass his high standards 😉

Now, my dad is not one to like many gluten-free and/or vegan creations, but this carrot cake changed his mind!

This is also one of those vegan cakes that both kids and adults will enjoy, all while getting some good beta-carotene in!

So let’s get into the ingredients for this vegan carrot cake! Because there are a few ingredients that, yes, they’re common in the kitchen, but I’m betting you probably have never tried them in a carrot cake 😉

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Ingredients

For this healthier carrot cake, you’ll need a few key ingredients:

  • Grated Carrots: if you want an arm workout, you can grate about 6-7 medium carrots.
  • Oat flour: If you don’t want to use oat flour, you can also use all purpose flour or cake flour. Either will work! I made my own oat flour. It’s cheaper that way over going to the store and purchasing a whole bag of oat flour (because often times, oat flour goes bad easily!). All you need to do is take about 2 cups of gluten free rolled oats and pulse them in a blender or food processor until it’s in a powder! 2 cups of oats will yield about 1 1/2 cups oat flour for those who are going to make their own.
  • Unsweetened applesauce: this is my all time favorite egg replacement and yields the most lush and tender cakes that even classic bakers will drool over! Most vegan cake recipes use flax eggs. This isn’t my favorite ingredient, as sometimes not enough water is added, or too much. If you can’t use applesauce, you can sub in your favorite dairy free yogurt. 
  • Dairy free milk
  • Brown sugar: You can also sub in coconut sugar.
  • Granulated sugar: Be sure that your granulated sugar is vegan. I always use Florida Crystals for that reason.
  • Vegan butter: I recommend using Miyoko’s vegan butter, or if you’re nut-free, sub in either coconut oil or Flora Plant Butter.
  • Leavening agents: this is your baking powder and soda
  • Spices: well, you can’t have a carrot cake without the spices! I use a blend of cinnamon, Allspice, and nutmeg! Hits the spot!
vegan carrot cake ingredients

Traditionally, carrot cake also contains chopped walnuts or pecans and raisins. What makes this healthy carrot cake slightly different from others is that it’s entirely nut free as well. I always try to keep my nut allergy people in mind when creating these vegan and gluten recipes because I feel they’re highly underserved! SO I omitted the walnuts…and the raisins (because truthfully, I don’t like when carrot cake has raisins!). 

However, you may find the optional add-ins listed in the notes section of the recipe!

Now onto the vegan cream cheese frosting, because you cannot do a vegan carrot cake with any other frosting, in my humble opinion. And it’s not even complicated! Check out the ingredients below!

We’ve really come a long way with vegan “dairy” options. I personally find that vegan cream cheeses tastes just as good, if not better, than regular cream cheese.

For the frosting you’ll need:

  • Vegan cream cheese: I know that Trader Joe’s has a good one that’s more affordable than most name brands, but if you do have a favorite name brand, I love using either Kitehill or Miyoko’s.
  • Vegan butter: for a vegan butter that tastes good and is simple, I highly recommend Miyoko’s or Forager Project.
  • Dairy free milk
  • Powdered Sugar: Also known as confectioners’ sugar! Again, I recommend Florida Crystals, as they’re 100% certified vegan. 
sliced vegan carrot cake

How to make a one bowl vegan carrot cake

For the full written instructions and ingredient measurements, see the bottom of this post in the recipe card. You can also hit the “jump to recipe” button at the top of this post! Here, we’ll go over a brief overview of the steps, along with providing visuals for a better understanding of the recipe.

Here’s how to make the best vegan carrot cake:

  1. Start by creaming together the Vegan butter and sugar. 

    You can use a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer.making vegan carrot cake batter

  2. Then add in the remaining wet ingredients. 

    This is the applesauce, vanilla, and grated carrots. Mix on medium speed to combine.making vegan carrot cake batter

  3. Add in the dry ingredients. 

    This is the oat flour, leavening agents, and spices. I sift them in to help with evenly distributing the spices throughout the cake. Then pour in the vegan buttermilk, and use a rubber spatula here to gently stir in the flour, being careful not to over mix. I try to mix just until there are no more dry streaks left. making vegan carrot cake batter

  4. Divide the batter into cake pans.

    I made this into a three layer 8″ cake, but you can also bake it in a three layer 6″ cake!making vegan carrot cake

  5. Bake and cool the layers. 

    Once baked, it’s imperative that the layers full cool before you begin to frost and layer the cake. This is to prevent the cake from slipping and sliding onto the floor!baked carrot cake

  6. Assemble and enjoy!

    slices of vegan carrot cake

Carrot Cake FAQ’s & Tips

Do I have to make this vegan carrot cake gluten free?

Absolutely not! If you’d like, you can swap in all purpose flour or cake flour (my favorite) for this carrot cake. If you don’t have oat flour, you can also use your favorite gluten free 1:1 baking flour.
Just keep in mind that not all gluten free 1:1 baking flours work on all recipes without adjustments. I’ve tested this recipe with Bob’s Red Mill, and it absolutely works.

Can I add walnuts to this carrot cake? 

You can definitely toss in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts to the batter if you’re not nut free. Or pecans, or raisins!

What vegan cream cheese should I use?

I recommend Violife cream cheese as a great nut free option.vegan cream cheese frosting

How do you make oat flour? Can I use store bought?

You can use store-bought or homemade here. For homemade oat flour, see this post.

Can I make this into a 9″ cake? 

Yes definitely! Just be aware that the bake times will be slightly different.

How about carrot cake cupcakes? 

Definitely! This layer cake recipe will yield about 24 cupcakes. You can also cut the recipe in half to make only a dozen.

Can I use a vegan buttercream frosting in stead of cream cheese frosting? 

Traditionally, carrot cake is made with cream cheese frosting, but if you’d prefer vegan buttercream, not a problem!

slice of vegan carrot cake

I still can’t get over how delicious this vegan carrot cake tastes, and with the vegan cream cheese frosting, you’re just going to be blown away!

I’m planning on making this recipe for Easter, but it’s also wonderful during fall and Christmas time 🙂

I’ll probably make this for my dad on Father’s Day as well, since he loved it so much! Oh, and don’t expect this cake to last you long, because it will for sure be gone in the snap of a finger!

Let me know in the comments below if you gave it a try, as well as leaving a rating down below ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ so that others may find it!

As always, I love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there.

Happy carrot cake baking!

More classic vegan cake recipes:

Vegan Vanilla Cake

Amazing Vegan Funfetti Cake

Easy Gluten Free Vegan Lava Cakes

Vegan White Chocolate Cake

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Gluten Free Vegan Red Velvet Cake

Gluten Free Vegan Almond Cake

Vegan Strawberry Cake

Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

BEST Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe (Gluten Free option!)

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. This helps others to find the recipes! As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there as well!

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slice of vegan carrot cake

Vegan Carrot Cake {Gluten Free}

  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 18 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This is honestly the best vegan carrot cake I’ve ever had, and it’s a crowd favorite with even non-vegan eaters. Entirely gluten free and topped with a creamy dairy free cream cheese frosting, this easy one bowl carrot cake is soon to be your favorite too!


Ingredients

Units Scale

Vegan Carrot Cake

  • 2 cups (180 g) grated carrots, about 6-8 medium carrots
  • 3 1/2 (440 g) cups oat flour, all purpose flour, or cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 1/2 cup dairy free milk plus 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup (230 g) brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) vegan butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup (226 g) vegan cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 cup (226 g) vegan butter (room temperature)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp dairy free milk

Instructions

  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 350F, and line three 8″ cake pans with cooking oil and parchment paper. Make sure the carrots are grated, and mix together the dairy free milk with the apple cider vinegar.
  2. Prep the dry ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, and leavening agents. Set aside.
  3. Make the carrot cake batter: In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the vegan butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Then add in the applesauce, vanilla extract, and carrots. Mix on medium speed until combined. Sift in the flour, leavening agents, and spices in about 3 increments, alternating between pouring in the vegan dairy free milk mixture as well. Be careful not to over mix. I try to mix just until there are no dry streaks left.
  4. Bake: Divide the batter evenly into the cake pans. Bake the cakes for about 28-32 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Cool: Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then carefully transfer them to cooling rack to fully cool. Do not frost until the cakes are cool to touch, and there is absolutely no heat coming from them.
  6. Make the vegan cream cheese frosting: To prepare the frosting, cream together the vegan butter and cream cheese with a stand mixer or using a hand mixer and a large bowl. Sift in the powdered sugar in increments of 1 cup, beating the mixture between each cup until combined. Add in 1-2 tbsp dairy free milk if needed to achieve a smooth texture.
  7. Assembly: Frost the cake, applying about 1/3 cup frosting in between each layer, and coating the sides of the cake. If you’d like to pipe the carrots onto the sides, reserve about 1/2 cup total frosting and divide in two bowls. Color one with vegan orange coloring and the other with vegan green. I used a Wilton Piping Tip 66 and Wilton Piping Tip 1. 
  8. Slice and serve! Store any leftovers in an airtight container and in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Notes

Not gluten free? Swap in all purpose flour or cake flour at an equal ratio!

Walnuts/Raisins: If you’d like to add in walnuts, raisins, or pecans, you may add in 1/3-1/2 cup of each (if you’re using just walnuts, add in 1/2 cup, if you’re adding in all three, use 1/3). 

The Original Paleo Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe:

This recipe has been retested and adjusted from its original to suit more households. However, there are some original readers that love the original Paleo Vegan carrot cake version, so I left it here in case you prefer this one!

Vegan Carrot Cake

  • 1 cup shredded carrots (can buy pre-shredded)
  • 1 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1 1/2 cup cassava flour flour
  • 3 tbsp ground flax/chia seed (mixed with 1/3 cup water)
  • 1 cup coconut milk with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil or vegan butter (unsalted) (melted)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato (pre-cooked)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup vegan cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 cup vegan butter (room temperature)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 batch vegan caramel sauce (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375F and grease three 6″ cake pans with olive or coconut oil.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together oat flour, cassava flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and sea salt. 
  3. Pour in coconut milk, olive oil, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and ground flax seed mixture, and mix until well combined.
  4. Add in shredded carrots and mashed sweet potato. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Pour evenly into both cake pans and place cake pans in the oven.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool fully before frosting.
  8. *Follow instructions below for the frosting so that you make it while the cakes are cooling.

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In a medium bowl and using a hand mixer, beat together vegan cream cheese, vegan butter, and coconut milk.
  2. Add in powdered sugar and beat until it becomes thick.
  3. Set aside and cover until ready to frost (you can place it for a few minutes in the fridge, but not too long because you don’t want it to harden).
  4. Frost cake, top with vegan caramel sauce if desired, and enjoy!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 336
  • Sugar: 35.1 g
  • Sodium: 284.8 mg
  • Fat: 10.1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 58.3 g
  • Fiber: 1.1 g
  • Protein: 3.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 13 mg

Keywords: vegan carrot cake, gluten free vegan carrot cake, healthy vegan carrot cake, healthy carrot cake