Vegan carrot cake with delicate frosting

Vegan carrot cake with delicate frosting

carrot cake cross section

Right, so this is the carrot cake I was on about on Tuesday. After a few days break, I was ready embrace cake making again. As you can see by the short instructions, it is super easy to make and it does taste great even without the frosting. You are welcome to put some chopped nuts inside for an extra bit of texture (I sprinkled mine on the top instead).

To get a moist (yet eggless) carrot cake, I used a homemade applesauce (see Notes below on how to make it or you can buy it here) as a cunning egg replacer. It took a few attempts to get the exact proportions right, but it does work a treat. The cake is moist yet light. Another thing I love about it is the smell of spices. It exudes warming aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and ginger, which magically transport your mind to an exotic spice market.

Photographing this puppy was a mean feat. I waited for the golden hour to capture the cake’s beautifully warm colours at their best, but it so happens that the golden hour is terribly close to our cats’ feeding time. So at some point in the afternoon, the cake and I were literally surrounded by a gang of hungry cats impartial to stealing a piece if I wasn’t looking. In the end, I just fed them all early (cats always win, don’t they?) in the hope that they all just bugger off. Luckily, it worked.

Enjoy this recipe as it will be the last cake recipe for a little while. The summer is upon us and I will need to squeeze into a bikini soon so, as much as it pains me, I’m going to stick to savoury recipes for a few weeks. I’m even considering doing a few day veg juice cleanse. Duncan isn’t very happy about it as it means he will need to make his own meals for a while. I wonder what that would entail?:)

cutting carrot cake

forkful of carrot cake

carrot cake and coffee

2 lb cake
30 min
60 min
2 lb cake
30 min
60 min

Wet ingredients

  • 0.25 lb / 120 g carrots, coarsely grated (1½ cup grated)
  • ½ + 1/8 cup / 120 g brown sugar
  • ½ cup + 1 tbsp applesauce*
  • ¼ + 1/8 cup / 90 ml olive oil

Dry ingredients

  • 1½ cup / 185 g wholemeal flour, sifted
  • 1 level tsp baking soda
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground ginger


  • 75 g cashews, soaked overnight
  • 6 tbsp silken tofu
  • 1 orange (you’ll need 5 tbsp juice + zest of ½ orange)
  • 4 tsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1½ tbsp maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
  • ½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped
  • chopped pistachios, for decoration


  1. Set the oven to 180° C. Line a 2lb cake tin (see notes) with a piece of baking parchment or grease it.
  2. In a bowl mix together all wet ingredients. In another bowl, mix together all dry ingredients.
  3. Slowly tip the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and incorporate everything together but, like with all batters, be careful not to over mix.
  4. Spoon the batter (yes, it’s meant to be that thick) into a baking tin. Bake for 50-60 mins depending on your oven. It’s done when a toothpick comes out fairly clean.


  1. Drain and rinse soaked cashews. Put them into a food processor to grind into a smooth paste.
  2. Add in silken tofu and all other ingredients. Process some more.
  3. Put the icing into the fridge for a few hours so that it thickens. It won’t be as thick as an icing made with margarine and icing sugar, but it will stay on the cake.

Volume measurement I use is 1 cup = 237ml

* To make an applesauce, peel, core and chop 3 apples. Put them in a pot with a cup of water and spices and simmer covered until soft. I added the following spices to it: 1 allspice, 2 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick and ½ star anise. Once the apples are cooked, I pureed them with a hand blender. You can make a bigger batch and freeze it for another use.

PLEASE NOTE that a 2lb cake tin is very different from a 2lb bread tin. A 2lb cake tin (which should be used here) holds about 5 cups / 1250 ml (by contrast the bread one holds 8 cups / 2000 ml). The batter should fill no more than 2/3 – 3/4 of the 2lb cake tin or else the cake may not raise.

17 g
13 g
3 g
4 g
36 g
*per serving
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9 reviews, 27 comments
Bumble bee fitness:
First time making carrot cake but as I've used several of Anias recipes I thought I'd give it a ago. Being a cileac I always find gluten free cakes very dry and have zero bounce, this was anything but, tangy and spicy but also refreshing...
Don't be scared by the topping like I was it works, like it really works...
    Yay! I'm delighted to hear that the cake was a success as I know (from talking to you on Insta) that you were a bit apprehensive about making it! Thanks so much for returning to leave such a lovely review - much appreciated! x Ania
Fiona Hughes:
This is one of my go-to cake recipes! It's such a good one - the taste and texture is wonderful!
    Thank you, Fiona, I'm delighted to hear that! And I really appreciate you returning to let other people know that you enjoy it - thank you. Ania
I just made this cake and i am nicely surprised how well it has risen although it is a bit crumbly when cutting. Also, when I sift my whole meal flower i am left with the thicker pieces on the sieve. I added them into the cake anyway, but was that your intention or not? Thanks!
    Thanks Dorota, I'm glad to hear! Crumbliness could be due to overbaking, which can happen if your oven runs a little hot or if the cake is in the oven too long. Yes, that's correct. Whatever is left on the sieve needs to go back in - sifting is done simply to aerate the flour, not to get rid of anything. Hope this helps! Ania
Tried this s recipe for the first time today. 7th November 2020
It was a hit . Rose well in the oven.
Everyone loved it.. 🥕
    Thank you, that's so great to hear! Thanks for taking the time to let me know! Ania
I really love this cake, it's a bit addictive. Even though I realised at the last minute didn't have any ginger so had to add a bit more of the other spices. Will make sure I get ginger for my next attempt, I'm sure it will be even better :) I didn't make the frosting, it was lovely on its own. Thanks!
    Thank you, Sue! I'm delighted to hear that and thanks so much for letting me and my other readers know that you enjoyed it! Ania
Hello, I made your carrot cake for the office and let say it was more than a success. Thank you for this delicious recipe.
PS : I didn't make the frosting through. It was a late last minute bake.
    Thanks, Sylvie! I am delighted to hear that! Ania
Made this cake for my mom's birthday last year, and everyone was surprised it was vegan. It was delicious, and I like this vegan frosting actually better than frosting with dairy. Thanks for the recipe!
    Yay! What a result, I love giving conventional foods a run for their money. So glad you like is so much! x Ania
Hi! This looks great! I really want to try it. Is there a reason you used whole meal flower? Could I use all purpose flower instead?
    No, not at all. Simply personal preference, all purpose flour will work just as well. Ania
Sneha Varma:
I wanted to know, how long can I keep the cake either refridgerated or frozen? And can I keep just the batter? Thank you so much
    I have not tried freezing this cake or cake batter. I would say that it will probably be okay to freeze (aren't most cakes?) but I would bake it first, cool and then freeze. As for refrigeration, it will keep for 2-3 days. Hope that helps! Ania
I’m going to make this very soon but wanted to ask whether the applesauce is included instead of oil? If so, could I reverse that and just use oil or use almond milk instead of the applesauce?
Thanks for your help,
    Hi Annabel,
    Applesauce has been used here to keep the cake moist. I suppose you could sub it by increasing the amount of oil a little (2 tbsp maybe) and using almond milk for the rest, except that maybe use a little less as almond milk is much more runnier than apple sauce. I would try 2 tbsp oil and 5 tbsp almond milk to begin with. Hope that helps! Ania
Priyanshu Agrawal:
Hi!!I tried your recipe today and it turned out to be delicious and amazing. Only glitch was the base which was so soft that some of it crumbled when i kept it on a cooling rack.Could you tell how i can overcome this problem??
Thank you for this Vegan recipe and i hope you do keep up your good work.
    Hi Priyanshu,
    I'm glad you liked my cake :) but so sorry to hear about the base crumbling. If it crumbled, it sounds like it might have been overcooked (was it moist or dry in the middle?) or your oven burns a bit high at the bottom? I'm not sure as I haven't had this issue with this particular cake and I make it often. Did you make any ingredient substitutions at all? Hopefully we can get to the bottom of this 'crumbly bottom' ;) Ania
Hi! I was wondering if I could substitute the olive oil with another oil, like sunflour oil or maybe coconut oil? I'm not a particular fan of olive oil.
The recipe looks delicious though!
    Hi Marieke,
    Yes, any other vegetable oil will do, for sure. Sunflower and mild coconut one are both great choices! Hope you'll like this cake as much as we do :) Ania
Erin Kathleen O'Brien:
This cake looks unbelievable. It's really hard to find a great vegan carrot cake. When you say "whole meal" flour do you mean whole wheat? I'm in the U.S. we might just call them different names. Thanks so much!
    Thanks so much, Erin. I'm pleased to hear you like it. Yes, whole wheat is the type of flour I used here. Hope you'll like it! Ania
Hi! Can I replace the tofu with other "cheese". Thanks! And merry xmas!
    Hi Magali,
    Depends what “cheese” do you mean - something like vegan cream cheese would definitely work, cheddar not so much:)
    Let me know how it turned out and merry xmas to you too!
Blue Ducklings:
It looks so yummy. I'm totally a fan of this cake :)
Xx Blue Ducklings
    Thanks, Blue Ducklings!
Maikki // Maikin mokomin:
I love carrot cake! That frosting looks delicious, I love that you added some silken tofu to it. Can you approximate how much 6 tbsps of tofu would be in grams?
    Aw, thanks, glad you like it. I would say start with 60 grams. Good luck!
Renee Stam:
We are big fans of carrots cakes, and will be giving your version a try soon
    Thank you Renee, please do let me know how you liked it:)
valentina | sweet kabocha:
I made some carrot muffins few days ago, but your cake makes me want it anyway!!
    Aw, thank you, that's so nice to hear. You can never have too much cake, I say:)
    I love your blog, btw.
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