Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday to me… Happy birthday to me!
Hey, guys. It’s my birthday and I made myself a cake, ’cause that’s how I do.
The wait is over – let’s make cake!
This cake is simple, requiring just 1 bowl to make! Plus, it requires basic ingredients you likely have on hand right now.
The recipe is adapted from my Vegan GF Carrot Apple Muffins, but it needed some tweaking to get that cake-like texture.
I tested this recipe for 3 days straight (oy) until I finally ended up with this perfected version. I served it to friends (non-vegan and non-gluten-free folks) and none of them could tell that it was special-diet friendly. Score!
The base of the cake is coconut oil, applesauce, flax eggs, maple syrup, and almond milk. Organic brown sugar and cane sugar add the perfect amount of sweetness while leaving the cake light and fluffy. And for gluten-free flours, I went with almond flour and my go-to gluten-free blend.
The result is a light, airy, fluffy carrot cake that retains its moisture without being mushy (the ultimate goal). Once cooled, it’s frosting time!
For frostings, I included several options. After taking a vote on Twitter, it seemed many of you wanted to see both a vegan buttercream and a cashew buttercream. But guess what? I provide 6 frosting options below!
For my cake, I went for classic Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting – I couldn’t resist. But really, any of the options would be amazing! Just depends on how creative and healthy you want to be.
I hope you all LOVE this carrot cake! It’s:
& Insanely delicious
This would make the perfect birthday cake or cake for summer celebrations, wedding showers, cookouts, and beyond! It’s insanely flavorful, rich, moist, and undetectably vegan and gluten-free. Those who are gluten-free will be happy to know there isn’t any oat flour in this cake. I also included nut-free, oil-free, and refined-sugar-free options in the notes.
If you’re into cake (who’s not?), be sure to check out our other cakes: Vegan Birthday Cake, The Best Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes, Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cake, Vegan Funfetti Cupcakes, Vegan Pumpkin Cake, Vegan Pumpkin Roll, Vegan Apple Gingerbread Cake, and Gluten-Free Zucchini Cake!
If you try this recipe, let us know how it goes! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
- 3 flax eggs (3 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 7 ½ Tbsp water)
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) melted coconut oil* (or sub other neutral oil)
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup
- 1 scant cup (~235 g) unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup (110 g) organic brown sugar* (or sub coconut sugar)
- 1/4 cup (50 g) cane sugar* (or sub coconut sugar)
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 - 1 cup (180-240 ml) plain unsweetened almond milk* (or other non-dairy unsweetened milk)
- 1 1 /2 cups (~165 g) loosely packed grated carrot
- 1 1/2 cups (168 g) almond flour* (I didn’t test with almond meal, but I think it would work)
- 1 1/2 cups (150 g) gluten-free flour blend*
- 3/4 cup (87 g) chopped raw walnuts* (if preferred, omit, or sub 1/2 cup (70 g) raisins)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C). Butter and flour two 8-inch, 1 9x13-inch, or 3 6-inch round pans with coconut oil or vegan cooking spray and dust with gluten-free flour. Shake out excess. Set aside.
- Prepare flax eggs in a large mixing bowl. To flax eggs, add oil and maple syrup and whisk to combine. Next, add applesauce, sugars, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon and whisk to combine.
- Add 3/4 cup (180 ml) almond milk and stir. Add grated carrot and stir. Then add almond flour and gluten-free flour blend and stir. The batter should be thick but pourable. If too thick, add remaining 1/4 cup (60 ml) almond milk. If adding walnuts, add at this time and stir.
- Divide evenly among cake pan(s). Bake for 40-50 minutes or until deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. When you press on the top, it shouldn’t feel too spongy, so don’t be afraid of over-baking! The gluten-free blend just takes a little longer to bake. Also, note that the size of pan you use will vary baking time.
- Remove from oven and let rest in the pans for 15 minutes. Then carefully run a knife along the edges and gently invert onto cooling racks to let cool completely.
- NOTE: This cake needs to cool completely. It benefits from plenty of airflow, and the flavors develop as the cooling process goes on. If short on time, you can speed the cooling by placing the cakes in the refrigerator or freezer until very cool to the touch.
- Once cooled, you can serve as is or frost! For frosting, you have several options! See options above.
- Store leftovers at room temperature, covered, for 2-3 days, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, or covered well in the freezer for several weeks. However, it's best when eaten fresh.
- Do note that, if using vegan cream cheese or yogurt in the frosting, the cake should be stored in the refrigerator. From the refrigerator, let set out for 10-15 minutes before serving so it warms a bit and becomes more tender. Let thaw completely from the freezer.
*I used brown and cane sugars because they provided the best texture (fluffy and tender) for the cake. I also tested with coconut sugar, and although it was sweet enough, the texture was more dense. But, if coconut sugar is preferred, it still turns out well!
*If almond/nut-free, sub the almond milk for rice, hemp, or coconut milk. And sub the almond flour for another nut/seed flour (such as hazelnut, sunflower seed, or brazil nut). If you can't tolerate nuts or seeds, try subbing more gluten-free flour blend or oat flour. And omit the walnuts or sub raisins.
*I used my go-to gluten-free flour blend. If subbing your own blend, know that the results may vary.
*Recipe adapted from my Vegan Carrot Apple Muffins.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 12 slices without frosting.