When spring arrives, it’s time for a light and lovely cake! This is a delicious gluten free vegan carrot cake recipe that’s easy to make This lightly spiced cake is topped with a sweet dairy free cream cheese frosting.
Once we start approaching Easter, I often get requests for a carrot cake recipe. Carrot cake was a favorite dessert at my house when I was growing up, but the version my mom made had eggs, wheat flour, and nuts. So it wasn’t allergy friendly at all!
There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to have a nice piece of carrot cake even if you have multiple food allergies. That’s why I came up with this recipe for a gluten free vegan carrot cake with dairy free cream cheese frosting.
It’s flavorful, moist, sweet, and delicious. It’s everything you want in a carrot cake, but without the allergens.
This gluten free vegan carrot cake is so simple – it’s lightly spiced with cinnamon and ginger, and topped with a sweet cream cheese frosting. You will love the light texture of the cake, and the simple and rich frosting on top.
Allergy Friendly Ingredients
- unsweetened applesauce is used as the egg replacer
- no nuts in this recipe – try pumpkin seeds instead if you wish!
- a light gluten free flour blend makes this cake tender
- dairy free cream cheese is the base for a delicious cream cheese frosting
- melted vegan buttery spread, coconut oil, or canola oil take the place of butter
Dairy Free Cream Cheese
Daiya cream cheese works perfectly, but if you have another brand of vegan cream cheese that you prefer, feel free to use that. If you aren’t dairy free, just use regular cream cheese.
If you’d like an even simpler option for frosting, you can top this vegan carrot cake with coconut whipped cream.
This recipe is so easy – you don’t even need the mixer for the cake – it’s easy to mix this up by hand in just one bowl.
Gluten Free Flour
This recipe works well with a light gluten free flour mix, like my recipe for a gluten free flour blend. If you would like to use a store bought blend, you should avoid a blend that contains gums, as the cake may be too sticky and dense. There are some blends that do not contain gums.
Be sure to to call and make sure a brand fits your dietary needs – everyone has different comfort levels as far as brands and allergen procedures.
Lighter blends keep the cake from getting too dense. If all-purpose flour or spelt flour is what works for you, go ahead and use that! It will still turn out just fine.
If you use a different flour and the batter seems to thick or dry, go ahead and add a little more water. Some gluten free flours really soak up the water, so you may need to add more liquid.
For more allergy friendly baking tips, watch the video below.
You may be used to some different additions to carrot cake. This carrot cake recipe is nut free, but if you are able to eat nuts, feel free to add some walnuts or pecans to the batter, or you could also sprinkle them on top of the frosting. You could also use some pumpkin seeds for a little crunch.
If you’re someone who likes pineapple in your carrot cake, you can add that as well! Try a ½ cup of crushed pineapple that has been drained – and then slowly add your water – you may not need all the water that the recipe calls for.
If you’d like to, you could also add some shredded apple instead of pineapple. There are a lot of options with this cake. Just be sure that you don’t load the batter down with too many wet fruits. The cake could become too wet and heavy, and may not bake through very well.
If you want to make this recipe into cupcakes, you will probably get 10 cupcakes from this recipe. Just bake at 350 degrees F and watch the time – it will take less time to bake cupcakes. Start with 18 minutes and go from there.
More Gluten Free Vegan Cakes
- Zucchini Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
- Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Coconut Cream Frosting
- Banana Cake with Rich Chocolate Buttercream
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Gluten Free Vegan Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.
For the cake:
- 2 cups gluten free flour OR white spelt flour if you are not gluten free*
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅓ teaspoon ginger
- ½ cup organic cane sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup organic canola oil or coconut oil, or melted vegan buttery spread
- 3 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup water**
For the frosting:
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 4 ounces Daiya brand vegan cream cheese softened
- 4 Tablespoons buttery spread softened
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 or 9 inch round cake pan and line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper. Lightly dust the pan with gluten free flour as well.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Add the shredded carrots and toss to coat. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
- Add the sugars, canola oil, applesauce, vanilla extract, apple cider vinegar, and water. Stir well until combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-38 minutes (depending on the size of the pan), or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Let the cake cook for about 15 minutes in the pan, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert over a wire rack to remove. Let the cake cool fully on the wire rack.
- Make the frosting once the cake is fully cooled. In a mixing bowl whip the Daiya cream cheese and the vegan buttery spread. Sift in the powdered sugar. Mix until very smooth and creamy.
- Frost the cooled cake, and refrigerate if not serving immediately. Store leftover cake in the refrigerator.
This recipe was originally published in March 2016. It has been updated.