Home » Dessert » Cake » Dairy Free Carrot Cake

Dairy Free Carrot Cake

This post may contain affiliate links.

Prep Time: 30 mins    Cook Time: 1 hr

5 from 3 votes

This dairy free carrot cake is fluffy and moist, topped with luscious, velvety smooth frosting and crunchy pecans. Use your favorite vegan cream cheese and applesauce for a delicious, tangy frosting.

Dairy free carrot cake up close.
Jump to:

If you’re on a dairy-free diet, you might have written off carrot cake entirely. However, this recipe incorporates dairy-free ingredients so that you can still enjoy this comforting and satisfying treat.

This will become one of your go-to desserts! I also love these dairy free brownies, and my carrot banana muffins which can easily be made dairy-free as well.

Main Ingredients

Making carrot cake is not as intimidating as it may seem. It’s not unlike other cakes and most of the ingredients are probably in your pantry! Below are some of the special ingredients in the recipe.

  • Grated carrots: An essential component, of course!
  • Chopped pecans: For their nutty flavor and crunchy texture.
  • Vegetable oil: This recipe is oil-based, which keeps it dairy-free and ensures a moist texture.
  • Cinnamon: A warming spice to elevate the flavors of the carrots.
  • Vegan cream cheese: Maintains the creamy texture you’d want in your frosting, but keeps the cake dairy-free.
  • Applesauce: For added tang in your vegan cream cheese frosting.

Instructions Overview

You can make a delicious and satisfying dairy free carrot cake. Start by mixing your wet ingredients (eggs, oil, white sugar, and vanilla). Add in your flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, carrots, and pecans.

Pour your mixture into a greased and floured 9x13-inch pan. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 40 to 50 minutes. When it’s baked, remove it from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make your dairy-free frosting, mix applesauce, vegan cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add in some chopped pecans. Frost your cake and serve!

Several slices of dairy free carrot cake on a table.

Common Questions

Why is there no butter in carrot cake?

Butter is a common ingredient in most cake recipes. However, carrot cake doesn’t contain it. Not only does this make it dairy-free, but an oil-based (rather than butter- or vegan butter-based) cake stays fresh for longer.

Creaming butter with sugar is typical for many cakes since this helps them rise up and be light and airy. However, with this dairy free carrot cake, we are using both baking powder and baking soda for that light, cake-light result.

How do you decorate the top of a carrot cake?

If you want to keep things simple, the delicious vegan frosting is the perfect topping. If you want to fancy it up though, there are other possibilities. Consider candied carrot slices, which look pretty and taste amazing.

To make them, cut a pair of carrots wafer-thin using a mandolin then add them to a pan with 2 tablespoons of sugar and ¼ cup of water. Cook for 5 minutes and then turn up the heat and cook until you get a thick syrup. Add more sugar and keep tossing until the carrot slices are coated. Cool the candied carrot slices on parchment paper and then decorate the cake with them.

Are vegan cakes eggless?

Some vegan cakes are eggless. This particular recipe contains eggs. If you want to make it vegan-friendly as well as dairy-free, there is a way to do it. You can use flax eggs which are a vegan egg replacement.

Want to do this? Then instead of using four eggs to make this dairy free carrot cake, mix 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed meal with ¾ cup of water. Let the mixture sit for 15 to 30 minutes to thicken, then use in place of the eggs. The resulting cake will be indistinguishable in texture and flavor from the egg-based version.

How do you store carrot cake?

This should be stored in the refrigerator. Place your leftover slices in an airtight container and enjoy them within 5 days. Uncut, frosted cake can stay in the fridge uncovered until it is time to serve.

Can you freeze it?

The cream cheese frosting does not fare well in the freezer, as it dries out and becomes crumbly. However, you can freeze uniced carrot cake. Wrap it tightly in both plastic wrap and foil to prevent freezer burn. Use within 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator to enjoy.

You can also freeze the batter in a large plastic bag. Lay it flat and use it within 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight when you’re ready to bake. Pour your batter into a prepared pan and bake away. Top with a fresh frosting to serve.

Can you make a carrot cake ahead of time?

Yes, you can definitely make this recipe ahead of time. For optimal freshness, it is recommended that you do not make it any sooner than 1 day in advance.

What do I serve with it?

A slice is delicious on its own, but a nice fresh cup of coffee or green tea takes it to another level.

How finely should the carrots be grated?

For the perfect texture and even distribution of flavors, grate the carrots as finely as possible. Do not use pre-shredded carrots from the grocery store as they will be too chunky. Grate your own using the finest size on a box cheese grater.

How many carrots equal 1 cup?

For every cup of grated carrots, you’ll need about 2 to 3 medium-sized carrots.

Do you have to peel carrots for carrot cake?

You should peel your carrots before you grate them because the skin is a little bitter which can impact the flavor of your cake.

What is vegan cream cheese made of?

There are various forms of vegan cream cheese available on the market or that you can make at home. Vegan cream cheese can be made of coconut oil, almond milk, cashews, or soy.

A spoonful of carrot cake with glaze.

Chopnotch Tips

  • Grease and flour your pan well to prevent your cake from sticking.
  • Be careful not to overmix your cake mixture once you add in the dry ingredients. Overmixing causes too much gluten development which prevents you from having a moist cake.
  • If you like warming spices, you can experiment and try adding cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, or ground ginger.
  • For a perfect velvety smooth dairy-free frosting free of lumps, sift your confectioners’ sugar before mixing it with the remaining ingredients.
A slice of carrot cake with a bite taken out.

A slice of carrot cake and a cup of coffee would fantastic right now!

Let us know what you think! Give this recipe a rating in the comments section below.

Recipe

How to Make

Dairy Free Carrot Cake

This dairy free cake is fluffy and moist. It’s topped with a vegan cream cheese and applesauce frosting that is velvety smooth and perfectly tangy.
SCALE THIS RECIPE
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 3 cups carrots, grated
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For frosting:

  • 8 ounces vegan cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
💡TIP: Save it on Pinterest so you can always come back when you need to! 👇

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9x13 inch pan and flour it.
  • To a large bowl add eggs, oil, white sugar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla and beat it.
  • Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, carrots, and pecans.
  • Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes. Once baked, let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • In a bowl beat applesauce, vegan cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until the mixture is smooth.
  • Add chopped pecans and top the cake with frosting.
For More Dessert RecipesFollow us @chopnotch

Notes

  • Grease and flour your pan well to prevent your cake from sticking.
  • Be careful not to overmix your cake mixture once you add in the dry ingredients. Overmixing causes too much gluten development which prevents you from having a moist cake.
  • If you like warming spices, you can experiment and try adding cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, or ground ginger.
  • For a perfect velvety smooth dairy-free frosting free of lumps, sift your confectioners’ sugar before mixing it with the remaining ingredients.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 927kcal (46%), Carbohydrates: 150g (50%), Protein: 11g (22%), Fat: 64g (98%), Saturated Fat: 33g (206%), Cholesterol: 82mg (27%), Sodium: 596mg (26%), Potassium: 436mg (12%), Fiber: 7g (29%), Sugar: 56g (62%), Vitamin A: 8152IU (163%), Vitamin C: 3mg (4%), Calcium: 118mg (12%), Iron: 3mg (17%)
Print Recipe
course:
Dessert
cuisine:
European
by:

Leave a Comment

Add a rating: