Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Best Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe Ever

The only carrot cake recipe you'll ever need.

Nathan's birthday was in February and naturally, I had to bake him a cake. Also naturally? I decided to make  a cake that I had never before baked - carrot cake. I knew I liked carrot cake. I was 97% sure Nathan also liked carrot cake (he does - whew!). And I'm always up for trying out new recipes on important days and/or for large groups of people. What can I say - I'm a baker who loves a good thrill. 

Action shot.

After scouring the Internet while at work on my free time, I found a recipe that looked simple enough. No wacky ingredients. I had pretty much everything on hand. Vegan. Carrot. What more do you need? I made a few changes (of course) and crossed my fingers. Apparently the baking gods were smiling on me, because the cake. was. delicious. Seriously - this is perhaps the best cake I have ever baked, and birthday cakes are basically my specialty. 

Vegetables in cake? Totally healthy!

Pre-mixing. So pretty.

This cake is really easy to make - the hardest part is grating the carrots and that's just because I haven't been keeping up with my strength training. The coconut is subtle, the golden raisins juicy and the walnuts provide the perfect crunch. The natural sweetness of the carrots makes icing a non-necessity, but when it comes to birthday cakes the trick is to never hold back. Bake this today, whether it's a special occasion or not. This cake alone is reason to celebrate.


The Best Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe Ever
(adapted from GroupRecipes)

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose white flour 
1 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp of salt 
2 tsp of baking powder 
1/2 tsp of baking soda 
2 tsp of cinnamon 
3 cups shredded carrots 
3/4 cup of canola oil 
1/2 cup of orange juice
1/2 cup of golden raisins
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x9 inch square pan with oil.

Mix together the flour, sugars, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon until thoroughly combined. Add the shredded carrots and the oil to the dry ingredients and mix well with a spoon (not a hand mixer!).

Add the orange juice and mix again, then fold in the nuts, raisins and coconut.

Put the batter into pan.

Bake for 45 minutes or until knife/toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.

Let cool before topping with vegan buttercream cinnamon frosting.

Empty plate speaks for itself.

72 comments:

  1. Looks delicious! And to me, carrot cake isn't carrot cake without golden raisins. Check!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is delicious. I'm about to finish it for lunch. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love love LOVE carrot cake, especially super thick like you made it. I'll have to try your recipe, as mine didn't rise as nicely as I liked last time.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your photos look gorgeous today, my dear! I love carrot cake too, though I've never ever made one myself. I just eat other bakers' cakes. But I'd love to make yours into cupcakes and then stash the extras in the freezer :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. This cake was very thick! Mixing the batter required some arm power as well. Definitely worth it though!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks Rose-Anne! Now that it stays lighter later, expect to see more foodie shots on the blog. I don't have the ambition to take good photos in the winter, when it's dark. These were all taken on my back porch, on top of a cooler! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Looks nice and yummy. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I will surely try this out.


    Take the Cake Personality Test and find out which cake are you like. I have taken the test and have enjoyed a lot. Hope you too will enjoy it. Have Fun!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. The cake looks incredible! I've never made carrot cake before but I think that will change very soon! :]

    ReplyDelete
  9. looks good! gonna have to try that recipe.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Looks yum! Definitely going on my 'to bake' list. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm seriously drooling. Thanks for the wonderful pics!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Looks and sounds delicious! Do you think it would be ok to replace the canola oil with some other oil?

    ReplyDelete
  13. The cake looks good. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. It's been a while since I made one though, so I don't know if it'll taste that good.

    ReplyDelete
  14. SO GOOD!  best carrot cake i've ever had.  thanks for sharing this post.
    :)
    i'll be making this one again and again - i'm sure.
    i used a vegan "cream cheese" frosting recipe that i found on food. com with the cake. it was amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you liked it! I think a vegan cream cheese frosting would be lovely with this - great idea!

      Delete
  15. I just put this in the oven! I had no orange juice, so I used pineapple. Can't wait to slather it in vegan frosting. Totally sharing this on my blog! thanks

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'll be sure to check out your blog! Thanks for letting me know you made the recipe. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I just made this carrot cake and it is exceptional! I wasn't convinced when I saw the consitency and thought it would remain raw inside, as a past vegan carrot cake, but instead it is moist and dense and perfect! I used MUCH less sugar, only a couple tbsp of raw sugar and lots of pure maple syrup instead, and it is divine! thanks:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you like it! I often skip the icing when I make this cake, because it is so sweet on it's own. I'll try maple syrup next time!

      Delete
  18. This cake recipe was a big hit in our house! The frosting I added ( for my husbands's b- day) was a bit too much....but every morsel was eaten. Now I have request to make it without the frosting. Finally, a good carrot cake recipe that fits our diet. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I usually make it without frosting, to be honest. I should update the recipe to reflect that. So glad it was a hit!

      Delete
  19. Making this cake right now - it just went in the oven.

    I have candied blood orange and tangelo slices, so I'm thinking of making a lime syrup to drizzle on top. If I'm lucky, it'll be sticky enough to embed more chopped nuts on the side, and then the slices on top.

    I don't know. I'm not much of a baker. So I'm making two cakes: one for 'product testing' and one for presentation.

    I will tell you this, though - the batter was exceptionally tasty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my gosh, your syrup idea sounds amazing. Let me know how it turns out! I'll have to try that sometime.

      Delete
    2. Okay, so many things went wrong, and the cake was still delicious - great recipe.

      First off, I used 9" round pans, instead of 9" square and did not remember to alter the cooking time. And my tester came out clean, even though they needed to cook longer. So when I unmolded, I ended up with some of the middle of the cake left behind in the pan (delicious!).

      So then I put them back in to cook for a random amount of time at whatever temperature something else was cooking at. And when I pulled them out, the outer edge was just getting crispy but no where near burnt, and the middle was still exceedingly moist.

      Fine, so I took them out, fully cooled them, wrapped them thoroughly in plastic wrap, and set them aside until the end of the meal (thinking maybe in an inclosed environment the moisture would even out. I don't know.

      At various stages, including unwrapping and moving to a plate, the cake broke and got mushed together. And it made no harm at all.

      So cake successfully on plate and right before dessert time - yay! Lime syrup is made. Lime syrup is no where near sticky enough to adhere nuts. In my mind, however, it's still a great idea for adding a bit of citrusy flavor to the cake to tie in with the candied citrus slices I'm putting on top instead of icing.

      Turns out gorgeous, incredibly tasty, and was my most requested recipe of the evening.

      I took the leftovers (because I served both cakes) to my parents' the next day. And my father at first refused a taste because he doesn't like carrot cake. But I got him to try a bite. To which he later commented that it wasn't really carrot cake - because he doesn't like carrot cake. Hee!

      Delete
    3. Ha! Thank you so much for sharing that story. It made my day! So good to know this is a cake that you really can't mess up, no matter how hard you try. ;)

      Delete
  20. Made this last Saturday to celebrate my husband's and adult son's birthday because my son's two-year old is allergic to eggs and milk. I made 18 cupcakes instead and baked for 30 minutes. They came out perfect and were super-delicious.

    Vicky

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cupcakes! Why have I never made that variation before?! So glad you enjoyed it!

      Delete
  21. My niece sent along this recipe...will have to try to make a gluten free version for Easter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck with a gluten free version! I'm secretly terrified of gluten free baking. I feel like I still have a long way to go with wheat flours!

      Delete
    2. The gluten free version turned out wonderful. Substitute 1 cup sweet rice flour and 1 cup sorghum flour. I also added a small amount of pea protein powder to offset some of the sugar.

      Delete
  22. Hi Chrissy,
    I just baked this cake today and my husband and I LOVED it! We're both vegetarian, but eat mostly vegan as well. Carrot cake is my absolute favorite, and this was delicious! I love your blog :)

    Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, and I'm so glad you liked it! I made it again last weekend for Easter and it was as good as ever. :)

      Delete
  23. Hi, Don't know where I went wrong with this but the batter that I spooned into the muffin tin hardly rose.
    I can't remember if I put in the correct amount of baking powder. I guess that is what happens if you have a few glasses of wine with dinner then decide you are going to make dessert.lol.... I am going to try this again because this result I have ended up with taste yummy ,so I can imagine what the recipe baked correctly will taste like. I will keep you posted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure what went wrong, though I will say that I, too, am usually drinking wine while I cook. I hope you can figure it out - the cake usually rises quite a bit for me!

      Delete
  24. Will love to try and bake for my guy who is Vegetarian. He also don't like coconut, any subsitute idea?? Thanks in advance!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've omitted the coconut when I don't have it on hand, and the cake is still great!

      Delete
  25. This tasted sooo nice! I've only recently become vegan and it's good to know that I can make delicious cakes without eggs or milk :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it! I have a bunch of other vegan recipes listed under my "EAT" tab, in case you're interested. :)

      Delete
  26. Mmmmm, this is sooooo tasty! What a fluffylicious beauty of a cake! I think this will replace my existing carrot cake recipe with this one. Thanks for finding it :-D

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks for such a great recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I just made these for a friend's birthday (she's a vegan). I used coconut oil instead of canola - i have a thing about canola, increased the amount of cinnamon, added ginger and nutmeg as well. I had to use pineapple juice (and some crushed pineapple to make it more like my usual carrot cake recipe. It has a few more minutes in the oven but it smells incredible!!! I was inspired by the reader who made cupcakes...i think some vegan spiced cream cheese frosting will be nice and help keep the overly sweet factor down! Love your recipes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Michelle, I'm wondering how your cake turned out using coconut oil, along with your other modifications. I like using coconut oil and want to make the cake with it.
      -Catherine

      Delete
  29. Oh my gosh! I just made this and it tastes SOOO good! I'm gonna have to make it sometime soon again... delicious! So happy I find your blog.. i'll be coming back to read your posts :3

    ReplyDelete
  30. I made this cake today and it is so delicious. I didn't have the raisins but it didn't matter because it was really good anyways. I will try again with the raisins. For sure my family's new favorite.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Sounds delicious .. if grating the carrots is a problem, you could take a tip from Linda McCartney's carrot cake recipe and steam and puree them -- makes the cake very moist!!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I just made this cake, it was delicious!! I love baking vegan cakes, thanks for sharing the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  33. For those more health conscious, perhaps you could try replacing canola oil with olive oil? ^^ oh and I replaced the Coconut with cranberries cause I preferred the texture. But anyways. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE RECIPE! I appreciate it so so so much! I'm personally VEGAN AND it's SO SO hard to comply. But this certainly satified my cake cravings. THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN(:

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thanks so much for the AMAZING recipe!! I made it last night and couldn't resist a piece for breakfast. I am not a baker or a cook, but have been trying more of late...I must say that this is the best carrot cake I think I've ever had, cannot believe I made it! Am trying out different dietary options, love that this is vegan. I opted for using 1/2 cup coconut sugar (lightly ground) and 1/2 cup organic natural sugar to cut the sugar load (I have a major sweet tooth and am trying to keep it at bay) and I subbed 1/2 cup olive oil & 1/4 coconut oil for the canola and alas, I didn't have any oranges..so I pureed two juicy mandarins. Seemed to do great! I didn't have the ingredients for the recommended frosting, so made one from "Forks over Knives" cookbook. Thanks again for a terrific recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I've made this a couple times now. It has become one of my favorite desserts. I usually make a vegan cream cheese frosting. I'm currently studying abroad in Chile with a program called International Studies Abroad. They've asked students to make a dessert for Thanksgiving and I've decided to make this! We'll see how people from the other side of the world like it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How did the cake fare? I'm so glad you like the recipe!

      Delete
  36. Thank you so much for this recipe! This cake is a-mazing! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, Helen! Glad you liked it. :)

      Delete
  37. I made the frosting too but swapped the cinnamon with 2 teas. pumpkin pie spice and added the juice of 1/2 lemon to give it some extra tartness.
    I had a bit of a problem with my cake baking in the middle - I replaced most of the canola oil with applesauce so that could have been the issue.
    Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I just made this recipe for the first time and it's delicious!! A little sweet for my taste but nothing that a glass of cold unsweetened almond milk couldn't solve :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hi There,

    Wondering if you can omit the raisins, coconut and walnut or substitute something for them? I teach kids cooking and we have nut, dairy, egg, and coconut allergies along with a strong distaste for raisins.Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I make a lot of variations of this cake, depending on what's on hand. I'm not sure what you could substitute that wouldn't be an allergen, but since the raisins, coconut and walnuts are kind of "extras" you could leave them out and just have a regular carrot cake, no frills, all delicious. Good luck!

      Delete
  40. I just took this out of the oven. Carrot cake is my husband's favorite, so I thought I'd try this for his birthday. My house smells delicious! Can't wait to eat it tonight after dinner! I'm wondering if you have any of the nutritional information before I figure it out myself. Thanks for sharing!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't have the nutritional info, but if you figure out let me know! I like to pretend it's kind of healthy, but I really have no idea. I just know it's delicious!

      Delete
    2. "I like to pretend it's kind of healthy..." this is misleading for TRUE VEGANS.

      Delete
    3. How is that statement misleading? There are plenty of unhealthy things that happen to be vegan. Unless I'm misunderstanding your comment?

      Delete
  41. I read your blog from Israel. For a while I told myself that I would make this cake and never got around to it. Well I just made it and it came out amazing! My boyfriends mother was so surprised to hear that it had no eggs either! This is definitely one for the recipe box :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. apparently you have NO IDEA what vegan means. this recipe title is misleading.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What about this recipe isn't vegan? As far as I can tell, it doesn't contain any animal products. Last I checked that was the definition of vegan.

      Delete
  43. Dear Chrissy, I love honey because I cant have sugar, Your cake recipe sounds great! thanks for the info.and yes it is vegan. I grew up in upstate NY and people next door had honey bees,love everything bee's make.So I'm going to use honey,and amber agave instead of the 2 sugars,coconut oil instead of canola,and unbleached naturally white flour.I'm going to use Tofutti milk free cream cheese mixed with honey for frosting,everybody writes your cake is sweet I hope so because I love sweet,all other vegan cakes I've had suck,not sweet at all.Well here goes nothing.Let You know how it turns out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow!! That cake was awesome ,and my friends who said they'd never eat vegan food chowed it,I didn't tell them till they were done.I used Tofutti cream cheese ,honey,and vanilla.kept adding those last 2 until it tasted right.Were dudes ages 33 to 55 and doin our own cookin. Thanks for the base.peace, out.

      Delete
  44. It's the first time I have tasted this cake and i believe it's the most delicious.Bravo in english!!! ΜΠΡΑΒΟ in greek!!!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Did not rise followed recipe word for word although I did end up throwing in the carrots nuts raisins with the dry but I wouldn't think it would effect the raising agents as they arnt really wet ing, ended up slicing the cake straight down the middle and sandwiching between cream to look decent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry to hear the cake didn't rise! Mine usually does, though it is definitely more dense than other cakes I've had. At any rate, I'm glad you were able to salvage it!

      Delete
  46. Should I drain the carrots?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would give them a squeeze, but they shouldn't be too wet.

      Delete