This vegan healthy carrot cake is THE best. It is sweetened with maple syrup and dates and has the most luxurious vegan cream cheese frosting you'll ever taste. File this recipe for any celebratory ocassion!
Carrots are just about to enter their peak season later this Spring, so let's celebrate with this vegan healthy carrot cake. It has the most perfectly moist crumb which pairs beautifully with the thick, luscious cream cheese frosting. This is the perfect cake for those who like their desserts to have a lot of flavor but not be overly sweet. It's also incredibly adaptable and you can customize it by adding a different type of nut (pecans or almonds), omitting nuts, adding chopped up raisins or dates, or adding more or less powdered sugar to the icing to control its sweetness. And, then of course you could also bake this in a muffin tin or loaf pan if you adjust the time accordingly!
This healthy carrot cake is
Free of refined sugar
Packed with whole, nutritious ingredients
So delicious and moist
Quick and easy to make
A few tips for working with carrots
Fresh carrots have better flavor. If possible, purchase your carrots from your local farmer's market for the best tasting carrots. In general, fresh produce carries much more flavor (and nutrients). But, we've all had that sad bag of carrots sitting in the fridge that need to be used. I found myself in that situation and can attest that the cake will still be insanely delicious!
Freshly grated carrots will have more moisture. I personally avoid buying pre-grated carrots because they tend to get really dried out and are sometimes too large. For a cake like this, you'll want thin, juicy carrot shreds that will infuse moisture into the cake. But, if you do see a really fresh (and appropriately sized) bag of grated carrots in the grocery store then snag it! I
A food processor is your best friend. Grating carrots can be a major pain in the a** sometimes. If you have a food processor, simply add the grating attachment to it and you'll be done within minutes. Otherwise, you can grate by hand like I did!
Add the carrots with the dry ingredients. Usually you fold in your filling at the end, but when working with carrots you're going to add in with the mixed dry ingredients. Coating the carrots with the flour mixture will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake.
How to make date paste
Date paste is arguably one of healthiest sweetners and it happens to be so easy to make!
- Start with about 8 oz of pitted medjool dates
- Add them to a heat safe bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let sit for about 15 minutes.
- Once the dates have softened, drain well and add to a food processor. Blend until a paste forms (about 5 minutes).
- Store any extra date paste in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
You'll be glad you'll have date paste on hand - it's great for healthy baking and especially good on toast and sandwiches!
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- 3 ½ cups (435g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tablespoons (10g) ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 cups (311g) shredded carrot
- 1 cup (126g) chopped walnuts
- ¾ cup (160g) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup (233g) almond milk
- 1 cup (309g) maple syrup
- ⅓ cup (103g) medjool date paste
- ¼ cup (26g) ground flaxseed
- ¾ cup filtered water
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 12 oz vegan cream cheese, softened
- 6 oz vegan butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Make the cake
- Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Grease and line three 8 inch round cake pans. If you haven't already, pull the cream cheese and butter from the fridge to soften.
- In a small bowl, combine the flax and water. Mix well and set aside.
- In a large bowl, add the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine.
- Add the carrots and walnuts to the bowl and toss until fully coated in the flour mixture.
- In a separate bowl, add the olive oil, milk, date paste, maple syrup and flax. Mix really well until there are no large date clumps. You can also add to a blender instead.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix with a rubber spatula until just combined.
- Evenly distribute the batter among the three greased pans. Tap the pans against the counter to release any air bubbles that may have formed.
- Put the cakes on a sheet tray and transfer to oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool entirely before assembling.
Make the icing + assemble
- Add the softened butter and cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl that can accommodate a hand mixer) and beat on medium until light and fluffy.
- Slowly add the sifted powdered sugar until you have reached the desired thickness and sweetness.
- Add about 1 cup of frosting to each of the layers of cake. Use the remaining frosting on the outside of the cake and as decoration.
- (Optional) Add more crushed nuts or fresh carrots on top.
*You can also use apple sauce instead of flax, but it will be a little more dense and soft
Nutrition Information:Yield: 15 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 405Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 472mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 1gSugar: 32gProtein: 5g