Active time: 25 min. Total time:50 min.
Yield: Serves 12 (serving size: 1 slice)

Our Vegan Carrot Cake is super moist, with all the spices and delicious textures you’d find in a classic carrot cake—even the vegan cream cheese frosting gives you that little tang you want spread on top. Applesauce is a surprisingly good substitute for eggs and helps baked goods retain moisture. We prefer using Miyoko’s cream cheese, as it’s widely available and has the right flavor profile for this recipe. Most grocery stores have vegan options now, but a health food store might be your best bet for ingredients. Be sure to keep the Miyoko’s cold before whipping, and don’t let it reach room temperature. Unlike dairy-based cream cheese, it contains live cultures that will cause it to become too acidic.

Ingredients

  • Baking spray with flour
  • 2 cups (about 8 1/2 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 3 cups finely grated carrots (about 6 large carrots)
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • 24 ounces very cold vegan cream cheese (such as Miyoko’s Plainly Classic)
  • 2 3/4 cups (about 11 oz.) powdered sugar
  • Chopped pecans, for garnish

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with baking spray. Whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir in oil, applesauce, and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla just until incorporated. Fold in carrots and, if desired, raisins until combined. 

Step 2

Pour cake batter into prepared cake pans. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 22 to 25 minutes. 

Step 3

Cool cake layers in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. 

Step 4

Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla with a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on low speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. (Refrigerate frosting until ready to use.) 

Step 5

Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Spread 1 cup frosting over top to edges; repeat with second cake layer and 1 cup frosting. Top with third cake layer, and spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with pecans. 

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