It comes as no surprise that this recipe contains hidden veggies. In fact, I might go so far as to say that carrot cake may be the original hidden vegetable dessert!
Finding a version that is vegan isn’t always easy though, as they’re often laden with butter and eggs, but this one is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
The crowd pleasing aspect of this recipe was truly tested as it was one of the desserts I made for my dad’s 60th birthday celebration. It was so popular that not everyone was able to try a piece! (or maybe I just didn’t make enough….sorry hungry guests)
If you aren’t concerned about eating vegan or dairy free, feel free to try this with your favorite cream cheese frosting. The cashew cream, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar combine wonderfully in this recipe to make a light vegan cream cheese-like frosting that I think compliments that cake quite well.
You really do get a healthy dose of carrots in this recipe as it calls for a whole pound! These tasty orange veggies really do pack a nutritious punch. Growing up my mom put carrots in my lunch box for school every day and promised me that eating them would improve my eyesight. There was even talk of being able to see in the dark if I ate enough!
A few thousand baby carrots later, this ended up being my introduction to the harsh reality of false advertisement because at age 12 I got my first pair of glasses, despite my daily carrot intake. (I still eat carrots quite frequently though, probably with some subconscious notion that maybe my eyes still can improve)
Carrots do have a healthy dose of beta carotene and vitamin A which has been linked to eye health…They are full of fiber and antioxidants so feel free to tell yourself that a slice of cake is akin to a daily vitamin.
(I am 100% not a Doctor or any kind of medical professional so please don’t throw away your vitamins and replace them with cake based on my hyperbolic suggestions).
Carrot cake is one of those fun customizable recipes that everyone seems to have their own secret addition for. This recipe is just a basic no frills recipe, but feel free to add a handful of walnuts, raisins, or both if you’d like!
This recipe calls for chia eggs, if you haven’t used them before don’t be frightened, they are really quite simple. I buy these chia seeds and then put them in a cheap coffee grinder to grind them down to a powder and mix 1 tbsp ground chia with 3 tbsp water, refrigerate for 15 minutes. Be sure you don’t use the same coffee grinder for your coffee beans. I recommend having a separate one just for baking and you can use for chia seeds, flax seeds, etc. They’re usually $10-$20 and definitely worth not having bits of chia seeds in your morning coffee.
- 2.5 cups flour
- 1¼ tsp baking powder
- 1¼ tsp baking soda
- 1-2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (depending how spicy you like it)
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and grated
- 1 c white sugar
- 1 c light brown sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 chia eggs
- ¾ c coconut oil
- ¾ c soaked raw cashews
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- ¼ c maple syrup
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350F and grease 2 9" pans with coconut oil spray (or your favorite cooking spray)
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, ginger, salt, together until incorporated
- In a food processor, combine white and brown sugar with chia eggs until bubbly and combined, about 30 seconds
- Add in the coconut oil (may need to soften in microwave first if oil is too cold) and continue to process until mixture appears to become one color and no streaks of oil remain
- Transfer the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and incorporate without over mixing (too much mixing the flour makes it chewy).
- Divide the mixture between the two pans and bake in the oven for 25-30 mins or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- While the cake cools, combine all the frosting ingredients into a blender or food processor and combine until creamy and smooth.
- Add about 2 tbsp to the middle layer and spread with a spatula, pour the rest of the frosting on the top layer for a dripped frosting look. (frosting is not hard like a traditional buttercream)
- Optional: top with chopped walnuts or pecans