1-Bowl Carrot Apple Snack Cake

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Wood tray and parchment paper with slices of gluten-free vegan Carrot Apple Snack Cake

The holiday season is upon us and I’ve been dreaming of sharing an easy snack cake to have around if you happen to be hosting family or friends this time of year. You know, the kind of cake that is justifiable as a “snack” or “breakfast” because it has fruit and vegetables in it. Yes! That kind. Let’s bake, shall we?

Wood cutting board with ingredients for making Carrot Apple Snack Cake

This 1-bowl recipe starts with a flax egg for binding and mashed ripe banana for some natural sweetness and moisture. Then come tasty ingredients like brown sugar, grated carrots and apples, and cinnamon.

Bowl of Carrot Apple Snack Cake batter with grated apples and carrots on top

For dry ingredients, we went for a blend of almond meal or flour, oats, and our gluten-free flour blend, which kept the cake fluffy, tender, yet perfectly moist. Chopped walnuts add a bit of crunch and nutty flavor.

Freshly made batter for gluten-free vegan Carrot Apple Snack Cake

After a quick bake in the oven (and the painstaking minutes of letting it cool), it’s time for cake! While delicious on its own, it’s elevated with a simple cashew lemon maple frosting (recipe below)! Swoon.

Carrot Apple Snack Cake resting on a piece of parchment paper

We hope you LOVE this cake! It’s:

Tender
Flavorful
Packed with fruit + vegetables
Subtly spiced
Easy to make
& SO delicious

This would make the perfect cake to have on hand for gatherings or lazy days spent with loved ones this holiday season. It would also be delicious come spring! Basically, it’s perfect year round for just about any occasion.

If you’re into cake, also be sure to check out our Vegan Gluten-Free Carrot Cake, 1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake, 1-Bowl Pumpkin Cake, and Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cake!

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Slices of Carrot Apple Snack Cake resting on a wood platter

1-Bowl Carrot Apple Snack Cake

Hearty, vegan carrot apple snack cake made in 1 bowl! Wholesome, simple ingredients, simple to make, tender, and perfectly sweet!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Slices of Carrot Apple Snack Cake on a platter and parchment paper
4.76 from 79 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 9 (Slices)
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3 Days

Ingredients

CAKE

  • 1 ½ Tbsp flaxseed meal (to make flax eggs)
  • 3 ¾ Tbsp water (to make flax eggs)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (if avoiding oil, try subbing a little nut butter or applesauce)
  • 1/3 cup mashed very ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (or sub coconut sugar, but it’s not as sweet and the texture may be more dense)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup plain unsweetened almond milk (or other dairy-free milk)
  • 1 heaping cup (packed) grated carrot
  • 1/2 cup finely grated apple
  • 2/3 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup almond meal (or flour)
  • 1 heaping cup gluten-free flour blend
  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts (chopped // for topping)

FROSTING optional

  • 1 1/4 cup raw cashews (soaked in very hot water for 30 minutes)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil (melted // optional – helps the frosting firm up when chilled)
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (or sub light // if avoiding coconut, sub almond or rice)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup (plus more to taste)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Prepare flax eggs in a large mixing bowl (by mixing water and flax seed and letting it rest for 5 minutes). Also preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and line an 8 x 8 inch baking dish or similar size pan. 
  • To flax eggs, add olive oil, mashed banana, and maple syrup and whisk to combine. Next add brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon and whisk to combine.
  • Add almond milk and stir. Then add grated carrot and apple and stir.
  • Add oats, baking soda, almond meal (or flour), and gluten-free flour blend and stir to combine (see photo). You should have a thick but pourable batter – add more almond milk to thin if needed or more gluten-free flour or almond meal to thicken.
  • Pour into prepared baking dish and top with crushed walnuts. Bake for 40-45 minutes on a center rack 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 spongey, so don’t be afraid of over-baking! The GF blend just takes longer to bake than glutenous cakes.
  • Remove from oven and let rest in the pan for 15 minutes. Then gently lift out of the pan and let cool completely on a wire baking rack or flat surface. The longer it cools, the more airy and light the cake becomes.
  • OPTIONAL: While this is happening, you can make your frosting by adding soaked, drained cashews, coconut oil, coconut milk, lemon, maple syrup, and vanilla extract to a high-speed blender and blending on high until creamy and smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness or tartness as needed by adding more maple syrup or lemon juice, respectively. Then refrigerate to firm. Wait to frost the cake until frosting has thickened (about 2 hours), and the cake has cooled completely.
  • Store completely cooled leftovers loosely covered at room temperature up to 3 days, 5 days in the refrigerator (if frosted, it does need to be refrigerated), or in the freezer up to 1 month. Best when fresh.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without frosting.
*Recipe heavily adapted from my Carrot Apple Muffins!

Nutrition (1 of 9 servings)

Serving: 1 Slices Calories: 275 Carbohydrates: 39.8 g Protein: 4 g Fat: 12.1 g Saturated Fat: 1.4 g Sodium: 370 mg Potassium: 223 mg Fiber: 3.6 g Sugar: 17.3 g

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  1. CP says

    Really delicious! The one bowl method is super straightforward to make. I was worried it would taste too much like banana but it has great carrot cake flavour. Just the perfect sweetness for a snacking cake.

  2. Jamie says

    Carrot cake is one of my favorite desserts. I had some spotty bananas and week old carrots – this was the perfect recipe for them! I used a real egg, whole wheat flour, and Betty Crocker cream cheese frosting and it turned out just amazing. Thank you so much for the recipe, I’ll be making this for years to come.

  3. Atara Dahan says

    Is there a reason you stir in a few ingredients at a time instead of just mixing them all together at the same time?

  4. Elle says

    Man, I was so excited about this cake and it was a total flop! I made a couple substitutes and they must have gone wrong.

    I can’t do almonds so I thought we could do spelt flour. So I did ½ cup spelt and a heaping cup white flour. I also didn’t have a banana handy, so I used applesauce instead. It seemed a little dry so I added another couple tablespoons of milk at the end.

    It just never baked. It’s baked for probably an hour and fifteen minutes; the outside is scorched but the inside is totally mush. I’m so sad!

    It tastes amazing and since there’s no egg, the kids are happy to eat it like strange pudding…but I am disappointed! Anyone have any ideas what we might have done wrong?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Elle, sorry to hear it didn’t turn out! Spelt flour is more absorbent than almond flour and will produce a more dry, dense result. If you can have cashews, we’d recommend replacing the almond flour with cashew flour next time and using slightly less white flour than GF blend since that’s more absorbent too.

  5. Maribel says

    This is an easy and delicious cake. I modified according to what I had. Used a large egg instead of a flax egg. 1.5T of coconut sugar instead of 1/2c as I tend to not like things too sweet. The sweetness was perfect from the apple, banana and maple syrup. 2/3 cup of chopped pecans, I added it to the batter before baking. I had Miyoko’s cream cheese on hand so I just added maple syrup and vanilla for the topping. The cake is great with or without the cream cheese frosting.

  6. Lucy says

    I made this as I’ve a lot of allergies and a vegan friend is coming over. Was running out of pantry supplies so I subbed chia for flax egg, low on almonds and GF flour so topped up with buckwheat flour, and increased spices as some suggested here. My toddler added sultanas. I was too lazy to make the cashew frosting so made a simple lemon glaze but added a little ginger and coconut oil for richness.

    It was incredible!! I do think buckwheat enhances the texture, though the spices give the taste. I’ll definitely make again!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Francesca, unfortunately the texture wouldn’t be the same with either of those flours. Oat flour would be the better option of the two, but the cake will be more gummy. Oat flour plus potato starch might be a little better than oat flour alone. Hope that helps!

  7. Avneet says

    Could you make this into muffins, or is there anything that would cause it to burn quickly that way?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Muffins work, but we’d suggest cooking for 32-36 minutes instead. We have a similar recipe here. Hope that helps!

  8. jenny roethlisberger says

    Would it work to purée the vegetables/fruits in this recipe, as well as use oat flour instead of whole oats? To hide them so my kids won’t notice it’s healthy? 😉

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jenny, we think it will turn out more dense with those modifications, but the flavor should be fine. Let us know if you try it!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Mel, We haven’t tried this recipe with regular all purpose flour, but we think it would work to use it to replace the GF all purpose. Let us know how it turns out!

  9. Mariana says

    This looks amazing and want to try it! I have a nut allergy so is there something I can substitute for the almond meal?

  10. Mallory says

    I would consider this more as a dessert cake than a snack cake, but that just meant my kids were all the more thrilled to be eating it for snack. :) It was delicious! I did sub applesauce for oil. I ended up using about 1/2 large granny apple and I threw some matchstick carrots into the blender to further grind them down. This was a hit with the entire family and we will definitely make it again!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! Love to hear this. Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications, Mallory!

  11. Ann says

    I made the recipe as written, using oil. This cake is just OK. I found it quite bland. It’s not a particularly good carrot cake. If I made this again, I wouldn’t bother adding the Apple. The flavour doesn’t come through the finished cake. I would just add an extra 1/2c of grated carrot. The spices need to be punched up as well. The addition of Ginger, Allspice and/or cloves would go along long way.

    I didn’t add the frosting, maybe it would have helped.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Ann! This cake isn’t meant to be exactly like a traditional carrot cake, but we do have a recipe for one right here! We appreciate your honest feedback, though, thanks so much for sharing!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Manning, Another reader mentioned subbing oats for quinoa flakes. We think a lesser amount of sorghum flour could also work. Let us know if you try it!

  12. Jana says

    I made this twice already since I discovered the recipe four days ago. I decreased the sugar to 1/3 cup and it was still very sweet. I used apple sauce instead of oil. The cake was very delicious and very moist. Both of my kids as well as my friend and her son who were visiting loved it! Thank you for the fantastic recipe!

  13. Dana says

    Simple and delicious. A perfect grab-and-go breakfast or snack for my gluten-sensitive kid. I made it without the frosting, which I’m sure is fab, because I was lazy. There’s not enough apple in the recipe to result in a finished product that tastes like apples but I’m sure it lends moisture and nutrients. I’ll be making some of the other recipes in the apple round-up to get my apple flavor needs met!

  14. Kimberley says

    Super moist and flavorful. I used 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar, 1/4 lakanto monkfruit baking sugar. I added 1/2 tsp vanilla powder to the icing. Was a crowd pleaser for some picky eaters.

  15. Anna Shevkina says

    I am a big fan of carrots in all forms so I couldn’t miss the recipe. Having tried quite a lot of recipes, I must say, this is IT. The one I will stick to forever. Very simple and forgiving, I mean you can sub some ingredients and it’s ok. I am not a vegan, but I love vegan food, it adds variety to everyday meals. As for this one, I used a regular egg and less sugar. Maple syrup is very expensive here in Russia so we normally use topinambur syrup which looks and tastes pretty much the same. As for gluten-free flour, I prefer green buckwheat flour. It is really great, with a neutral taste and almost white, only slightly greenish colour. We went without frosting as cashews are also very expensive here and the cake is just perfect as it is. And one more thing, I used a blender for oats as I didn’t want them to be seen in the texture) Thank you again. This is my go-to site now!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, yay! We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Anna. Thank you for sharing your experience and modifications! xo

  16. Megan says

    Can’t wait to try this!

    Is using raw cashew butter (from the store) an easy/appropriate sub, instead of starting with the plain cashews themselves?

    And, if I want to use regular eggs, would that be 1 or 2 large eggs?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Megan, that could work. We’d suggest taking a look at this recipe for guidance on proportions. We’d suggest 1 large or 2 small eggs. Let us know how it goes!

      • Megan says

        Finally made it – 1 large egg worked great. And I think my attempt to sub raw cashew butter wasn’t the greatest (I used 1/2 cup). The taste was just fine – it was the consistency that was weird. Live and learn, regular soaked cashews are, I think, the way to go with this one!

  17. Darsha says

    I made this using leftover carrot and apple pulp from a juice a made that day and my gosh, this bake turned out AMAZING!! Although it was delicious without the icing, the icing just topped it off perfectly (of course we couldn’t wait until the cake completely cooled hehe) Good one!

  18. Carina says

    Have made this recipe a couple times and it is fantastic! Love the frosting! Unfortunately, I recently found out I need to avoid cashews. Do you think we could substitute macadamias nuts instead of cashews for the frosting?
    Thanks!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      That’s the closest sub, yes! Let us know how it goes, Carina. So glad you enjoy this recipe!

      • Carina says

        Thanks for responding! I tried this yesterday and while the frosting didn’t turn out quite as creamy as with cashews, it was still a good flavor. The macadamia nuts were a bit more grainy in texture. I had to add a bit extra nut milk to help smooth it out. Thanks again for the substitute. This carrot cake is so delicious 😋

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Cashews are pretty magical and can be difficult to sub. Thanks for sharing your experience, Carina!

  19. Christine Wohlleben says

    This was DELICIOUS thank you! I was looking for a carrot cake type dessert without the layers and the one-bowl, one pan was perfect! I added raisins instead of walnuts, and some extra spices, and left it on the counter overnight with tea towel on top for maximum fluffiness. Thanks for the recipe and the tip!

  20. Karolina says

    I just made this cake and it is absolutely delicious! I am not a fan of gluten free flour but somehow the flavours in the batter married beautifully. I used an extra large egg instead of the flax seed egg and the consistency of the cake came out perfect. I also used coconut sugar instead of brown sugar. I might add a touch more cinnamon and nutmeg next time or try substituting the olive oil for apple butter. I added a touch more lemon to the icing than called for, also turned out great. Thank you for this delicious and healthy recipe 🥰!

      • Megan P. says

        I made this for Easter, I’m not gluten conscious so I subbed mostly all purpose flour and some bread flour (I didn’t have enough all purpose on hand) 1:1. Turned out perfect!!! My husband loved it w/o frosting. I decided to try the vegan cream cheese frosting recipe a few days later to frost the rest of the cake. I do not recommend using the brand Tofutti, it smelled like Play-doh….. And tasted like it!!!! I was nervous to try another vegan cream cheese so I just made the dairy version with real cream cheese and the cake was saved!! This is a “Make Again” !!! Thanks!

  21. Deborah says

    Great cake. I used just 1/2 cup brown sugar and
    substituted apple sauce for the oil since I’m out of my milder tasting olive oil. My banana was not super ripe but I roasted it a bit first in its skin in the oven which made it softer and and sweeter. Made it without the frosting. Very moist and perfect for a snack/dessert today and breakfast tomorrow. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review and sharing your modifications, Deborah. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  22. Zeina says

    Hello, many thanks for this amazing recipe. I had old apples that I wasn’t sure how to use them. Your recipe gave me a great inspiration. I did some minor changes and the result was incredible. I added to the apples, two carrots and two zucchinis ( I needed to clean the fridge). I replaced the sugar with 100% pure Carob molasses, I put a much smaller quantity, as I don’t like my dessert to be too sweet. I didn’t have almond flour, instead I used coconut flour. I used olive oil. The result was incredible. I can’t thank you enough. I wish I can send you a picture.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications, Zeina. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  23. Janine says

    This recipe looks absolutely delicious . I would like to make this recipe using whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour. Will that change the baking time?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Janine, it might a little, but we’d suggest using a toothpick to check for doneness. Also, we’d suggest starting with slightly less flour and working your way up to the full amount, if needed for batter consistency. Let us know how it goes!

  24. Nyssa says

    Love this recipe! Very delicious. I added raisin (probably around 1/4 cup) and it turned out well. I used regular all-purpose-flour as well instead of the gluten free blend and it turned out fine. However, it tasted more like a banana bread to me! Am I the only one? haha

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Nyssa, thanks so much for sharing! If the banana was extra ripe, it could taste more banana-y. If you prefer less banana taste, you can use a less ripe banana. Hope that helps!

  25. Sophia says

    Another delicious recipe! I wanted to share that I baked this recipe in a muffin tin (I realized halfway through mixing that I had misplaced my old cake pan in a move) and these make delicious cupcakes as well! I baked them at the same temperature for 20 minutes and they turned out incredibly moist while still very airy. Thank you for another great fall recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Sophia. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  26. Marina says

    I made this recipe last week, following it exactly but omitting the sugar. Came out great! Used a sweeter frosting to balance.

    This time around, I used regular wheat flour and kept the sugar; omitted oil and bannana, but added half a can of pumpkin puree. Still came out great!

    A very adaptable recipe and a delicious, healthy breakfast.

  27. Juliana says

    I’ve done this a couple of times now (w/o frosting) and it’s great! I’d add some walnuts in the batter next time, since I think it’s the star of the recipe!

  28. Allie says

    This was very good!! I used two eggs instead of the flax eggs. It was moist, though I will wait for my banana to ripen next time. I threw in some raisins as well and put some of the cream cheese frosting from the other carrot cake recipe.

  29. Diane Beck says

    I absolutely love the looks of your recipes but am allergic to almonds (and most other nuts), can you recommend an alternative that will give similar results? I’m also allergic to wheat, but OK with other gluten containing flours such as spelt if there is a gf containing flour that would be worth trying?

    Many thanks,
    Diane

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Diane, what about cashew flour? We think that would be the closest sub. Otherwise, spelt might work, but we’d probably start with less? Let us know if you do some experimenting!

  30. Pascale says

    I made this tonight, really easy to make. Love the one bowl recipes. Made with the icing as well but not a fan of the icing flavour. Tried adjusting it a few times but didn’t like it with the cake. Cake is delicious and fluffy!

  31. Ethan says

    Hi, would like to make this on the weekend. How much nut butter or applesauce should I use to replace the oil, as I am trying to cut back on oil? Thanks :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Ethan, we haven’t tried it, so we aren’t sure on a precise measurement. But we’d suggest about the same amount as oil. Let us know how it goes!

  32. Farah says

    Hello. Instead of the gluten-free flour blend, can I use more almond flour? If yes, have you tried it and how did it turn out? Thanks!

  33. Vee Glessner says

    Ok, I totally screwed this up on my first attempt, but the flavor is SO GOOD I will be making it again. I used all purpose flour instead of gf and mistakenly thought my cake was done WAY too early. By the time I realized my mistake and put it back in it was mostly cooled and the damage was done. I got a very dense, chewy cake but the flavor is amazing. Next time I will bake it properly – do the full time, even if not gluten free – and I trust that the texture will work itself out better. I used applesauce instead of oil and subbed half the brown sugar for stevia. This drops the calories to something I don’t feel guilty about eating for breakfast OR (who am I kidding, AND) dessert with some “light” cream cheese frosting (I am not vegan). Fruits and veggies, oats, and some flour… Relatively healthy and delicious perfection! Can’t wait to make this again and do it justice.