Carrot Cake Coffee Cake (Vegan) 

NFNut FreeVVegan
5 from 13 votes
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Vegan Carrot Cake Coffee Cake is made in one bowl with fresh, sweet carrots, crunchy walnuts and finished with an irresistible crumb topping. Nut-free option. 

This Carrot Cake Coffee Cake is the ultimate Spring treat. It’s light, fluffy, perfectly sweetened and made with just 12 plant-based ingredients. Plus, it’s made in one bowl in just 10 minutes, meaning there’s no good reason not to whip this up this week! 

Table of Contents
  1. What is Carrot Cake Coffee Cake?
  2. Ingredients for Vegan Carrot Cake Coffee Cake
  3. How to Make Carrot Cake Coffee Cake
  4. Serving Suggestions
  5. How to Store Carrot Cake Coffee Cake
  6. Substitutions and Variations
  7. Recipe FAQs
  8. Carrot Cake Coffee Cake Recipe
a zoomed in image of a slice of carrot cake coffee cake in a baking tray full of freshly baked slices of cake

What is Carrot Cake Coffee Cake?

I know what you’re thinking…what is a carrot cake coffee cake? Now before you judge, imagine…the bright, warm flavors in fluffy carrot cake combined with coffee cake’s cozy cinnamon sugar topping. It’s an unsuspecting combo, but one you’ll be glad to have stumbled upon. 

After the first bite, you won’t be missing the classic cream cheese frosting one bit – and that’s coming from a carrot cake lover! Enjoy throughout Spring, particularly on holidays such as Easter or rainy days that could use brightening up. It’s truly never the wrong time for a slice of this sweet treat! 

Ingredients for Vegan Carrot Cake Coffee Cake

Traditional coffee cakes are made with ingredients like eggs, dairy, sour cream, and butter. With a few simple ingredient swaps, we’ve got a cake that’s equally as moist, fluffy, but full of vegan-friendly ingredients. 

ingredients of the cake laid out on a marble kitchen countertop

Here are a few key ingredients that yield the best texture and flavor: 

  • Flour: We’re keeping it classic and using good ‘ole all-purpose flour
  • Spices: Optional, but a sprinkle of ground ginger and nutmeg blended in with the cinnamon helps create the perfect carrot cake-like warmth and flavor. 
  • Oil: If you love the flavor of coconut, I recommend using unrefined coconut oil. Otherwise, unsalted vegan butter is the best option. Choose your favorite or what’s in your pantry. 
  • Apple sauce: Keeps this cake light, moist, and adds natural sweetness. 
  • Carrots: Essential for a carrot cake! Finely grate using a box grater or food processor for evenly dispersed carrot in every bite.

How to Make Carrot Cake Coffee Cake

side-by-side images of the baking process of the cake with the image on the left showing the wet batter and the image of the right showing the baked texture of the cake
  1. Make the crumble by mixing together the melted butter, flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. 
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together. Form a well in the center of the bowl. 
  3. Add the melted oil or butter, sugar, applesauce, apple cider vinegar and vanilla. Incorporate slowly until a dough forms. 
  4. Fold in the grated carrots and chopped nuts, until evenly distributed. 
  5. Transfer the cake batter to the prepared baking pan and spread evenly. 
  6. Top with the crumble and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  7. Cool slightly before slicing and serving. Serve as desired.

Caitlin’s Cooking Tips

  • Use a baking scale. Not only does this require less dishes (which should be enough to convince you on its own 😉), but helps you bake perfect cakes and desserts every single time. Measuring cups work, but they aren’t a perfect science. If you want a cake that turns out exactly like mine, invest in a baking scale. 
  • Double check your applesauce is unsweetened. If it contains added sugar or spices, your carrot cake coffee cake will be overly sweetened and spiced. The only ingredient should be apples and maybe water. 
  • Purchase organic sugar. Conventional sugars are often processed through bone char to bleach the sugar white, meaning they aren’t technically vegan. If your budget allows, opt for organic. It’s made without this bleaching process and ensures it’s 100% animal free.
a cake server ready to serve a slice of cake among six slices on a white plate

Serving Suggestions

Coffee cake makes a delicious breakfast treat, sweet snack, or dessert, and this carrot cake coffee cake is no different! Serve alongside your favorite plant-based latte, hot beverage or simple fruit salad. 

If you’re looking for more carrot cake inspired treats, you’ll love this Vegan Carrot Cake Muffins recipe, this Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal, or this Carrot Cake Smoothie

How to Store Carrot Cake Coffee Cake

This cake will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days,  in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for 2 months. 

Before covering and storing, allow the cake to cool completely to room temperature. If freezing, wrap the cooled coffee cake tightly in plastic wrap, then place in a freezer safe bag or container.  

Defrost frozen carrot coffee cake at room temperature or in the refrigerator until soft again. 

three slices of cake stacked on top of each other on a white plate

Substitutions and Variations

  • Sugar substitutions: In place of both brown sugar and cane sugar you can use coconut sugar. The final cake will be less moist and slightly darker in color. Or, if you’re out of brown sugar, but have cane sugar on hand, learn how to make brown sugar at home with just 2 ingredients. 
  • Gluten-free substitution: I have not tested this carrot coffee cake using a flour alternative and cannot recommend one. A cup for cup gluten-free flour blend may work if you’d like to experiment, but I cannot confirm good results. 
  • Oil-free option: I have not tested an oil free version, but if you are looking for an oil-free carrot cake, try this Healthy Carrot Cake!
  • Nut-free option: Simply omit the walnuts or pecans.
a slice of cake on a white plate with a fork taking a bite

Recipe FAQs

Does coffee cake actually have coffee in it?

Nope! Despite its name, coffee cake is coffee-free. Instead, coffee cake earned its name by being the perfect companion for a hot cup of coffee.

Why is my coffee cake so dry?

It could be a number of things, but my experience in the kitchen tells me that the ingredient ratios were out of balance. For the best soft and moist coffee cake, measure the all-purpose flour using the spoon-and-level method. Or better yet, use a baking scale for perfect results.

Is oil or butter better for cakes?

Both work really well in this carrot coffee cake recipe. If you prefer a more neutral flavored cake base, go with butter (my own personal preference).

How do you keep a coffee cake moist?

Store your leftover cake at room temperature. Refrigeration does extend its life, but will make the cake slightly more dense and less moist.

Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊

Carrot Cake Coffee Cake

5 from 13 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 9 people
Vegan Carrot Cake Coffee Cake is made in one bowl with fresh, sweet carrots, crunchy walnuts and finished with an irresistible crumb topping. Nut-free option.


For the Cake:

For the crumble:


  • Prep: Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 8 or 9” square pan or cake tin with parchment paper or grease generously.
  • Make the Crumble: Mix the melted butter, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Dry Ingredients: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg,and salt together in a large bowl. Create a well in the center of the bowl.
  • Wet Ingredients: Add the melted oil or butter, sugar, applesauce, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla to the center of the bowl and slowly incorporate it into the dry ingredients until a thick dough forms. Add the carrots and pecans to the batter and fold in, until evenly distributed.
  • Assemble: Transfer the batter to the baking pan and use a spatula to spread it evenly across the base. Then, use your hands to evenly “crumble” the crumble over the batter.
  • Bake: Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center of the cake cleanly. Set aside and let cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
  • Serve & Store: Serve warm, or let cool completely before serving. Store leftovers at room temperature for up to 3 days, in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Recipe Notes

  • Sugar: You could also use coconut sugar in place of the brown sugar and cane sugar, but the cake will be less moist and slightly darker
  • I have not tested this recipe with any flour substitutions.
  • If you like your carrot cake to have a coconut flavor, I recommend using coconut oil. Otherwise, I prefer the flavor of vegan butter.


Calories: 380kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 4gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 3gSodium: 313mgPotassium: 153mgFiber: 2gSugar: 29gVitamin A: 3569IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 57mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: carrot cake coffee cake, vegan carrot cake, vegan coffee cake, vegetarian carrot cake
Course: Dessert
Method: Oven
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian

About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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  1. 5 stars
    Made this for Easter brunch, and it was a hit! I had a little too much of it. I did add some raisins because that’s what we’re used to in carrot cake, and it still was surprisingly not overwhelmingly sweet. Definitely will be making this again!

    1. Oh, we can’t resist getting more when we have it too! Glad you loved it, Kelsey! ♥

  2. 5 stars
    Perfect! Making it now for a 2nd time to bring to work for easter potluck 🧡 made it last weekend for spring potluck at the vegan farmed animal sanctuary i volunteer at and it was done in minutes. Easy & delicious. Thank you

    1. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe! Glad everyone liked it and you enjoyed making it, too, Cathy! ♥

  3. 5 stars
    I made this for my husband’s birthday this year. It was a big hit and we are having it again for Easter dinner.

    1. Happy belated birthday to your husband and I hope you all had a nice Easter dinner. Thank you for making the recipe a part of your celebrations!

  4. 5 stars
    This is so good! I love it! I used a banana instead of apple sauce which worked fine for me. Thank you for an amazing recipe Caitlin!

  5. 5 stars
    Just made this recipe for my family and it is incredible!! Thank you so much, a new favorite for sure 🙂

      1. 5 stars
        This recipe is a winner.. the recipe I’ve been searching for! So yummy, flavorful, moist and easy to make. Definitely going to be making this again and again.

  6. 5 stars
    I made this today and it was so good! The whole family loved it. I used king arthur measure for measure gluten free flour and it worked great.

  7. 5 stars
    This was brilliant. I tried this recipe the second I saw it. It came out so good! I made a vegan cream cheese icing to drizzle over it for a little extraness

  8. Hi! Can I substitute apple sauce with anything else (e.g. vegan yogurt)? It is harder to find apple sauce where I live. Looking forward to trying this recipe!

    1. Yes, you can substitute the apple sauce in the Vegan Carrot Cake Coffee Cake recipe with mashed bananas or pumpkin puree. Both of these ingredients have a similar texture and moisture content as apple sauce and can work well as a substitute. You can also try using yogurt or sour cream if you’re not following a vegan diet. Keep in mind that the flavor and texture of the cake may be slightly different depending on the substitute you choose, but it should still turn out delicious!