March 29, 2013

Perfect Vegan Carrot Cake with Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting

Vegan, The Best

I have been making carrot cake with one favorite recipe since I have been a teenager. For me, it was perfect just as it was so I never bothered trying to make it differently until now. As I have with many of my favorites, I have made some changes to this recipe to make it free of dairy and eggs without compromising the taste or texture. Loaded with carrots, pineapple, and walnuts, this cake is moist, flavorful, and good enough to be thoroughly enjoyed without frosting. It is still the best carrot cake.

That being said, this recipe is still made with white flour, sugar, and oil. Some desserts are best left as treats and indulgences. This is one of them. It is worthy of any celebration or event, and it will bake just as well into cupcakes if that is your preference. You will love it and no one, I mean no one, will know that it is vegan.

Perfect Vegan Carrot Cake

Makes one 9 x 13 inch cake.

For all ingredients, please consider using those that are grown organically.

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons potato starch
1 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups carrots, pureed
1 cup applesauce, unsweetened
1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1 cup canned crushed pineapple, unsweetened and completely drained (about 1 can)
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting

It is best to prepare this frosting at least 4 hours in advance as you must allow 4-8 hours for the cashews to soak.

 2 cups raw cashews
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup purified water
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 lemon, juice and zest

Plan ahead to prepare the frosting. Soak the cashews in water the night before making this cake. If you do not remember to do it the night before, allow 4-8 hours for the nuts to soak.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper and lightly spray or grease the parchment.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, and potato starch. Whisk together to blend completely.

In a medium size bowl, combine the pureed carrots, applesauce, coconut, and pineapple.

Measure the oil and vanilla, and add to the dry ingredients. Whisk to blend completely.

Add the carrot and pineapple mixture to the batter. Gently stir to completely blend. Fold in the walnuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 50-60 minutes. When the cake is finished, it will be golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake will come out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven and cool completely before removing it from the pan or cutting.

Prepare the frosting. Drain the soaking water from the cashews. Put the softened nuts into the bowl of a high speed blender with 1/4 cup of water, a pinch of salt, and apple cider vinegar. Blend until velvety smooth just as you would making cashew sour cream. At this point, the mixture can be used as a thickener or base for soups, sauces, or toppings.

Whisk the confectioners sugar into the nut cream until creamy. Whisk in the lemon juice and zest a little at a time until you achieve the right amount of tartness. Refrigerate for as many as 5 days in an airtight container.

To frost or not to frost. This cake is in no need of the frosting as it is moist and sweet enough on it's own or with a dusting of confectioner's sugar. If you are having trouble deciding what to do and don't want to frost the whole cake, cut the frosting recipe in half, slice the cake into squares, and frost only half of them as you would a cupcake.

Serve at room temperature and store covered at room temperature or refrigerated.

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Categories: Cakes & Pies, Desserts, Vegan Desserts

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11 Responses to Perfect Vegan Carrot Cake with Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Rebecca Dingle says:

    This looks great, and I’d like to make it for a bake sale next week, raising money for a local animal sanctuary. Perfect occasion to make a special treat like this! I’m wondering how to prepare the pureed carrots–raw in a food processor?–hard for me to tell from the photo. Thanks, Julie!

  2. Jennifer says:

    Just made the frosting for my son’s 3rd birthday cake. Wow. Added some vanilla to balance a bit of the acidity. I’ve used cashew cream in savory ways, but this was new and really nice. Thanks!

  3. Pingback: Vegan 101: Having your vegan cake, (and eating it too). | the vegan sprout

  4. Traci says:

    I’m guessing these hold up well as cupcakes too? Anyone have a guess at asking time for standard sized cupcakes?

  5. Traci says:

    Make that “baking” time! Either way, can’t wait to try this!

    • julieschwarz says:

      For cupcakes, give it about 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Be sure not to over mix the batter as cupcakes tend to peak in the center if it is.

  6. Nichola says:

    If I use regular ap flour do I leave out the patatoe starch? (Can’t find it in my area) and add the 3tbsp of ap flour?

  7. Joe says:

    Made This for My bother in law he loved it . It taste way better then storebought cake.

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