Healthy Carrot Cake (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

GFGluten Free

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This yummy Carrot Cake is Gluten-Free, Vegan, and made with only 11 healthy ingredients! Top it with Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting for a decadent dessert.

Carrot Cake makes me think of Spring, but I’d happily eat it all year round too. Especially this one – not only is it Vegan and Gluten-Free, but it’s also Oil-Free and made with only 11 healthy ingredients! But don’t worry, it still tastes delicious 😉

cooked healthy carrot cake on cooling rack with small bowls of frosting and chopped pecans

Not only did I create a delicious, fluffy, moist, and perfectly sweetened Carrot Cake, but I also whipped up a healthy “Cream Cheese” Frosting to go with it too! Well, technically I *blended* some soaked Cashews, Maple Syrup, and Lemon Juice together to make some creamy, dreamy goodness. The frosting is optional, but tell me – when is the last time you had a good piece of Carrot Cake with no frosting?!

cashew cream frosting being spread on baked healthy vegan carrot cake with gold knifeHonestly, I’d typically eat a Brownie or Cookie over a piece of cake for dessert. But Carrot Cake holds a special place in my heart! I love how the warming combination of Cinnamon, Ginger, and Nutmeg combine with Carrot ribbons and buttery Pecan chunks to make a slightly dense, slightly fluffy, pretty much perfect treat.

Also, it’s my Dad’s favorite cake. And he’s a pretty cool dude, if I do say so myself.

slice of healthy carrot cake topped with cashew frosting and chopped pecans on white plate

This Carrot Cake is sweet enough for dessert, but you could honestly also eat it for breakfast. Whatever meal you’re serving it for, I guarantee it won’t be on the table for long. It’s just too dang delicious!

squares of frosted vegan carrot cake on wood serving plank

A Few Final Thoughts:

  • I opted to cook a square Carrot Cake, though you could double the recipe and bake it in 2 circular Cake Pans for a more traditional cake. If you do that, I would suggest doubling the frosting as well!
  • Nut Allergy? The Pecans in this recipe can be subbed with Coconut Flakes or Sunflower Seeds – or just leave them out!
  • I recommend frosting your Cake just before serving and refrigerating any leftovers promptly.

vegan carrot cake on square white plate with pecans scattered around it

If you’re looking for more irresistible (but still healthy) Vegan recipes, you’ll also love these Vegan Lemon Bars, this No-Bake Chocolate Raspberry Tart, and this Vegan Key Lime Pie!

Finally, if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I love seeing your delicious recreations 🙂


Healthy Carrot Cake

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4.8 from 16 reviews

This yummy Carrot Cake is Gluten-Free, Vegan, and made with only 11 healthy ingredients! Top it with Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting for a decadent dessert.

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 32 Minutes
  • Total Time: 47 minutes
  • Yield: 9 Pieces 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American



For the Carrot Cake:

  • 1 cup Non-Dairy Milk
  • ½ cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • ¾ cup Coconut Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 cups Quick-Cooking or Rolled Oats, blended into a fine flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp Ginger
  • ¼ tsp Nutmeg
  • ½ tsp Pink Salt
  • 2 cups Shredded Carrot
  • ¾ cup Pecans, chopped (plus more for topping)

For the Creamy Cashew Frosting: (Optional, but recommended)

  • 1 cup Raw Cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
  • 1 ½ tbsp Maple Syrup
  • ¼ tsp Vanilla Extract (Optional)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • ¼ tsp Nutritional Yeast (Optional)
  • Juice of ½ Small Lemon
  • 3 tbsp Water


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line or grease a 9×9” baking tin. Add the Non-Dairy Milk, Applesauce, Coconut Sugar, and Vanilla to a small bowl and whisk well.
  2. Combine the Oat Flour, Baking Powder, Spices, and Salt into a separate large bowl and whisk. Form a well in the center of the bowl, pour the wet ingredients in, and use a spatula to mix until no clumps remain. Fold in the Carrots and chopped Pecans, then spread the batter evenly into the baking tin.
  3. Bake for 32-35 minutes, until a toothpick cleanly comes out of the center of the cake. Immediately remove the cake from the baking tin and let cool completely on a cooling rack before decorating or slicing.
  4. Prepare the Cashew Frosting by adding all of the ingredients to a high-speed blender and processing until smooth. I recommend adding the Water in in 1 tbsp increments; you may need to use more depending on your blender, but try to use the least amount possible.
  5. Frost the Cake, top with additional Pecans if desired, and cut into 9 pieces and serve. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days (the Cake will last at room temperature for up to 5 days if unfrosted).


  • I have not tested this recipe with any flour other than Oat Flour, and cannot recommend substitutions
  • Coconut Sugar may be substituted with Brown Sugar
  • The Cashew Frosting has an off-white color due to the Maple Syrup and Vanilla. If you’d like it to be whiter, replace the Maple Syrup with 3 tbsp of Powdered Sugar!

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This yummy Carrot Cake is Gluten-Free, Vegan, and made with only 11 healthy ingredients! Top it with Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting for a decadent dessert. #vegan #glutenfree #plantbased #carrotcake #oilfree |

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. Good morning Caitlin. I love your website & your delicious recipes. I am wondering if I can sub in almond flour for oat in this carrot cake recipe.

    1. Hi Bev, we appreciate the love! We’re so happy you enjoy the recipes. This recipe has not been tested with any flour other than Oat Flour, and we cannot recommend substitutions. Almond flour is denser and contains more fat, while oat flour is lighter and more absorbent so using it in this recipe might alter the texture and flavor of the cake.

    1. I don’t think that would work because the paste/syrup has added moisture that will make the cake more dense. If you can find date sugar I believe that would be better!

  2. I’ve made this twice and both times it didn’t cook through. After 2 hours of cooking the cake middle had the consistency of runny porridge. I substituted 1/4 cup of brown sugar for the coconut sugar. If I cut back the liquid by half will it work? Smells wonderful, too bad they ended up in the trash.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that your cake didn’t cook through properly. Reducing the amount of liquid in the recipe could potentially help, but I would also suggest checking the accuracy of your oven temperature and baking time. Make sure your oven is fully preheated before putting the cake in, and try checking it with a toothpick or cake tester before taking it out of the oven.

      Another thing to consider is the texture of your blended oats. If they’re not ground into a fine enough flour, it could affect the consistency of the cake batter and how well it bakes through.

      If you try making the cake again with these adjustments and it still doesn’t turn out properly, you could try increasing the baking time or lowering the oven temperature slightly.

      I hope this helps and that your next attempt at the recipe is successful!

  3. Subbed coconut sugar for 1 banana (no coconut sugar/wanted to make without sugar so I could have this for breakfast!). I didn’t do the frosting either, more like baked oats. So good! Also cooked in a bread pan lol. Highly recommend, easy breakfast prep for a few days worth! 🙂 thanks for the recipe!

    1. We recommend that 9 x 9 baking pan as it will hold more than a standard 9 inch pie tin! Anything smaller would possibly not fit and/or need to cut the recipe down which could get tricky.

  4. WOW. I have re-created dozens of your recipes and have yet to come across one I didn’t like, but this recipe is absolutely PHENOMENAL! Non-vegan family members agreed– I think a cake like this drives home the point that eggs, milk and butter have absolutely zero necessity in baking. 10/10!

    1. Ah, that’s so kind of you! I’m glad you liked it so much! And you’re right, in the baking world sooo much can be done without animal products and no one is the wiser.

  5. This was SO good! Just made it for the second time. I even about half the sugar and it was still so good! We are this as a side dish for tofu scramble having breakfast for dinner. Amazing!!

    1. Breakfast for dinner is the best! And I’m glad you’ve got this as a companion to your tofu scramble, that sounds awesome!

  6. AMAZING!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this delicious recipe ???? Making it for the second time this week!

  7. what do you soak the cashews in? water? how much is needed? I have never made a cashew frosting =) thanks!

    1. Yes – just water! The amount of water doesn’t need to be exact, enough to cover the cashews!

  8. AMAZING!!! I have been wanting to make a vegan carrot cake for years. When I finally decided I was going to, I was going through so many different recipes but boy oh boy am I ever happy I landed on your recipe. IT IS SO GOODDD!
    I personally kept the ginger out, just didn’t feel like it? And I had only walnuts not pecans.. also I added maybe 2 tbsp of shredded coconut as well as some raisins. I would totally not even feel bad eating this cake until I topped it with super unhealthy icing haha (couldn’t try your icing because I didnt have cashews:( next time!)
    Any how, thank you so much for the great recipe. lll be making this for years to come and for many events!

    1. Sounds delicious! Glad you were able to incorporate what you had on hand. Thanks so much for making it!

  9. Hi! I’m excited to try this recipe out! Have you added pineapple to the batter before? If so, would you need to adjust the amount of flour or liquids?

    1. Hey! We haven’t tried it with pineapple. I would expect you would need to increase your dry ingredients slightly to compensate for all that extra moisture.

  10. This is a HOME RUN!!!! SO easy. Had everything in my house already. Moist, dense, flavorful!!! I used walnuts instead of pecans as that is what I had on hand and what I grew up with in making our carrot cakes at our house…plus it is less expensive these days for walnuts over pecans. Will definitely be making again and again and again. I love the taste of maple syrup, so upped it a bit in the frosting and loved the caramel coloring against the cake. This frosting is fantastic…so easy and will use for other things down the road as well. Another winner recipe from you, for sure! Boy, if you were my neighbor I would be running a piece over to you right now!

    1. Aw yay! So happy to hear that you’re loving the recipe! It’s a perfect cake for spring too!

  11. Why aren’t you using baking soda and apple cider vinagre, like for your banana bread? Isn’t it going to really dense without?
    Last day i made the one from deliciously ella (but with whole wheat flour) and it was really hard dense and heavy.
    I made your banana bread 🙂
    so i was wondering before making this version if its going to be fluffy like your banana bread.
    I always made/have been eating non vegan which were always really fluffy and now struggling to make vegan cakes/bread fluffy as well 🙂

    1. You can add that in if you’d like, but i found this recipe did not need it when I tested it without 🙂

  12. Hi! I was wondering if this recipe can be made into muffins (baked in my silicone muffin molds) with some time adjustment?.. Thanks so much!!:)

    1. Totally! I’d recommend a little less time and maybe just checking on it as you go, toothpick test should do the trick!

    1. Freezing it is totally fine! Just keep it wrapped up as it thaws out, there might be condensation that builds up on the outside of it while it’s wrapped up, you don’t want that moisture getting on the cake itself.