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Two layer carrot cake on cake stand.
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5 from 16 votes

Oil-Free Vegan Carrot Cake

This cake is moist, lightly-sweetened, fragrantly spiced, flecked with sweet, juicy raisins, and topped with a creamy, tangy, dairy-free cream cheese frosting. It also happens to be oil-free, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, whole grain, and full of whole food plant-based goodness.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time45 mins
Cooling and Frosting Time2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time4 hrs 15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: carrot cake, gluten free, oil free, vegan
Diet: gluten-free, oil-free, vegan, wfpb
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 386kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

For the Cake

    Add-ins

    • 3 large or 5 small carrots ends trimmed, washed and finely grated (should be around 2 cups/250g, but does not have to be exact)
    • 1 cup walnuts coarsely chopped
    • 1 8oz (225g) can crushed pineapple do not drain
    • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut weight varies greatly based on moisture content
    • cup raisins

    Flax Egg

    Vegan Buttermilk

    • ¾ cup unsweetened plant milk
    • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

    Dry Ingredients

    • 2 cups oat flour
    • 1 cup coconut sugar see notes
    • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon salt

    Wet Ingredients

    • cup unsweetened applesauce
    • 1 tablespoon molasses
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

    For the Frosting

    • cup coconut sugar see notes
    • ½ cup canned coconut cream refrigerated overnight
    • 1 8oz (227g) container of plain Kite Hill vegan cream cheese at room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
    • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum see notes
    • Pinch of salt

    Instructions

    • Place your can of coconut milk in the fridge the night before you plan on making your frosting.
    • Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat the inside of your cake pans with coconut or other oil, and line the sides and bottom with parchment paper. (See note below for tips.)
    • Grate your carrots using a handheld grater or the grating attachment on your food processor and transfer them to a medium bowl. Chop your walnuts by hand or by pulsing a few times in a food processor and add these to the bowl of grated carrots, along with the pineapple and its juice, the shredded coconut, and raisins.
    • In a medium bowl, combine the flax and water and set it aside to thicken.
    • Measure your plant milk into a liquid measuring cup and stir in the apple cider vinegar. Set this aside to curdle.
    • Whisk the oat flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl and set it aside.
    • Give the flax mixture a stir. Then add the milk and vinegar mixture, applesauce, molasses, and vanilla and stir to combine. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until smooth.
    • Fold in the grated carrots, pineapple, walnuts, coconut, and raisins. Batter will be thick!
    • Pour batter into your lined baking pan. Spread batter to the edges of the pan and smooth into an even layer.
    • Bake 40-45 minutes or until the center springs back when lightly touched. Cool the layers (in the pan) on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Then, invert the layers onto the rack (removing the pan) to cool completely.
    • While the cake bakes, make your frosting.
    • Place the coconut sugar into your spice grinder or high speed blender (you may have to do this in two batches depending on the size of your spice grinder). Process for about 10 seconds, until it becomes a fine powder. Set it aside with the lid on so the sugar dust can settle.
    • Open your can of coconut milk and carefully scoop out 125g (½ cup) of the thick coconut cream. Add this to a stand mixer along with the cream cheese and beat on medium for 3 minutes.
    • Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides.
    • Add the powdered coconut sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, xanthan gum, and salt and mix on medium-high for three minutes.
    • Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides again.
    • Beat on medium-high for another minute.
    • Scrape down the sides again. Cover the bowl of frosting and refrigerate it while the cake cools.
    • Cool the cake completely before frosting it.

    Notes

    For a 9” x 13” cake: Grease or line the baking dish with parchment paper. Bake for 45 minutes. Cool and frost the cake in the pan.
    For cupcakes: Line 20 muffin cups with cupcake papers. Prepare the batter as directed and scoop a rounded ¼ cup (or about 75g) into each cupcake paper. Bake cupcakes for 30 minutes and cool completely before frosting.
    Lining your pans: To get the right size of parchment to line the bottom of your round pan, place your pan on a sheet of parchment paper and trace around it. Then cut out the shape, cutting slightly inside the line you drew so you’re not transferring the ink or pencil lead to your cake. Place it in the bottom of the greased pan.
    Next, measure the circumference (the length around the inside of your pan) and height of your pan. Cut a long strip of parchment as wide as the height of your pan and as long as the circumference (or you can cut multiple shorter strips to equal just over the circumference and overlap them slightly when you place them inside the pan). Line the inside walls of your pan with the strips.
    Repeat these steps if using a second pan, obviously. ;)
    Coconut sugar note: You can use date sugar or cane sugar in place of the coconut sugar.
    Xanthan gum note: The xanthan gum is absolutely, positively required for this frosting to work properly. It helps the ingredients come together and makes a fluffier frosting. If you skip the xanthan gum, your frosting will look curdled and pretty dang gross.
    Frosting coconut sugar note: If you like a sweeter frosting, you can increase the amount to 80g (½ cup) of coconut sugar.
    Frosting yield: The frosting recipe makes enough to frost the cake as shown (frosted top and filling between layers). If you also want to cover the sides of the cake in frosting, make a double batch.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 386kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 6.6g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 7.8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1.6g | Sodium: 365mg | Potassium: 404mg | Fiber: 6.1g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 3486IU | Vitamin C: 4.3mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 2mg