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vegan carrot cake

Vegan Carrot Cake

Serves: 6 to 12

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1 1/4 cups coconut flour 
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice 
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup almond milk
1 cup organic coconut sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup melted coconut oil or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups grated carrots

1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup almond milk, plus more if needed
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt


To make the cake: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 4- by 8-inch loaf pan with nonstick oil spray or coconut oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, ginger powder and salt. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the applesauce, almond milk, coconut sugar, maple syrup, oil and vanilla. 

Add the applesauce mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in grated carrots until evenly combined. Transfer to the prepared loaf pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 1/2 hours. Let the cake cool completely in the pan, then transfer to a platter or cake stand.

While the cake is cooling, make the frosting: In a high-speed blender, combine all of the ingredients and blend until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed. If the frosting isn't coming together, add additional almond milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and chill until firm, at least 30 minutes.

Top the cooled cake with the chilled frosting and serve. Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Photo: Ryan Hughley

About the recipe

Carrot cake is spicy, sweet and almost healthy — after all, it does contain shredded vegetables. But really, one of the absolute best things about this type of cake — besides the cream cheese frosting — is its deep richness and moisture from an almost unconscionable amount of butter.

So transforming it into a refined sugar-free, vegan treat is a challenge, as these types of dessert, while delicious, flavor-wise, are also usually really dry. The solution is a mix of wheat and coconut flours, plus a mixture of applesauce, almond milk, coconut sugar and maple syrup to sweeten and moisten the cake. Plus carrots, of course!

If you're extra-hungry for dessert, serve up two skinny slices of cake per person. If you're not (who are you?) this cake will serve 12. If you're allergic to nuts, you can substitute oat milk in the cake and skip the frosting. You will need to soak the nuts for the frosting the night before baking.