Healthy Fudgy Carrot Cake (Gluten-free, Vegan)

健康緊實胡蘿蔔蛋糕 (無麩質,純素) Healthy Fudgy Carrot Cake

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This baked carrot cake is gluten-free, vegan, and healthy-ish, made with more wholesome ingredients. It tastes great on its own and amazing with a vegan simple coconut cream cheese frosting! Oh, did I mention they are perfect for Easter as well?

健康緊實胡蘿蔔蛋糕 (無麩質,純素) Healthy Fudgy Carrot Cake

If someone asks me if there is anything that’s hard for me to perfect, I would probably say carrot cake, or more specifically, vegan gluten-free baked carrot cake.

I’ve shared a No-baked Vegan Carrot Cake before (which is really, really delicious, by the way), but the baked carrot cake is always on my “test-again-for-better” list.

I’ve tried to follow a few recipes I found on Pinterest, but they didn’t turn out really well, at least not to my expectation. I think it’s the moisture in carrots always messing with me (yeah, it’s always easier to blame others).

But after testing/making quite a few carrot cakes, I accidentally achieve a “fudgy” version that I’m at least happy with and want to share with you. I personally don’t eat a lot of “fudgy” things, but for some reason this version of carrot cake really makes me want more after the first bite. Plus, there is an easy homemade cashew coconut “cream cheese” frosting on top. I mean, why not?

健康緊實胡蘿蔔蛋糕 (無麩質,純素) Healthy Fudgy Carrot Cake

Ingredients You Need

I want to say first that we’re going to need quite a few ingredients for this special carrot cake. But if you’ve already made some carrot cake before, I think you probably have most of the ingredients in your cabinet already.

Ingredients for the carrot cake:

  • Oat flour: I like to use oat flour because it’s kind of sweet and flavourful on its own. Make sure to use a gluten-free one if you’re celiac.
  • Coconut flour: I think it’s the coconut flour that makes me accept this fudgy carrot cake. It creates a bit of light texture in the middle that creates a balance.
  • Baking powder: It’s really essential to have baking powder as a raising agent for this carrot cake. Don’t skip it.
  • Ground cinnamon: I assume you know that cinnamon and carrot are also match-made-in-heaven as well.
  • Ground ginger: Here ginger will add a spicy taste to our carrot cake to enrich the overall flavour profile.
  • Coconut sugar: I’m totally in love with the caramel flavour of coconut sugar. Though I think you can use light brown sugar or demerara sugar if you don’t have coconut sugar.
  • Salt: Just a pinch.
  • Applesauce/ apple sauce: Either homemade or store-bought can work. If I have time, I will make some Homemade Applesauce. But when I don’t have time, I just go for the apple sauce from the grocery store.
  • Extra-virgin coconut oil: make sure to melt it and let it cool first.
  • Light Coconut milk: Here I use coconut milk because I like the covert coconut flavour in the end. I use light coconut milk here. You can also use carton coconut milk.
  • Pure vanilla extract: Almost everything tastes better with a hint of vanilla, right?
  • Walnuts: One of my favorites in the nut family. You can also use pecans if you have them.
  • Shredded carrots: I would say to make sure your shredded carrot is not thick, but not too thin either.
  • Raisins: It’s not until the last second when I was about to transfer the batter into the loaf tin that I suddenly wanted to add some raisins into the mix. I just thought they will add more flavours and sweetness to this carrot cake. And they do!

Ingredients for the Cashew “Cream Cheese” Frosting:

  • Raw cashews: We need to prepare them by soaking them in water in a jar and letting them sit in the fridge overnight.
  • Full-fat coconut milk: Make sure to use the “full-fat” one. The coconut content is best above 55%, so check the ingredient list on the package before throwing it into your shopping basket.
  • Maple syrup: Trust me, it will make this frosting taste so much better with maple syrup instead of other sweeteners.
  • Pure vanilla extract: Just a hint should do.
  • Apple cider vinegar: I like to add some acidity to the frosting, so it tastes more like “cream cheese”.
  • Salt: Again, just a tiny pinch.
健康緊實胡蘿蔔蛋糕 (無麩質,純素) Healthy Fudgy Carrot Cake

Method

How to Make the “Cream Cheese” Frosting:

  1. If you want to have the frosting, start by preparing the cashews. Soak the cashews overnight in the fridge, especially if you don’t have a strong blender/food processor.
  2. The next day, drain out the water from the soaked cashews. Give them a gentle rinse. Then add them together without ingredients for the frosting in a food processor or blender to blend until as smooth as possible.
  3. Pour the mixture into a jar and store it in the fridge while we make the carrot cake.

How to Make Vegan Carrot Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F. Line an 8″ loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a big bowl, mix all the dry ingredients, which include oat flour, coconut flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, coconut sugar, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, add the applesauce, coconut milk, vanilla extract, and melted coconut oil. Whisk to combine.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry one. Use a fork or a whisk to mix them together evenly.
  5. Use a spatula to stir in the chopped pecans and shredded carrots.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spatula or spoon.
  7. Bake the carrot cake on the lower third rack in the oven at 175°C/350°F for 30~35 minutes. Use a small knife or toothpick to insert into the centre of the cake. If no batter sticks to it, it’s done. Otherwise, bake for another 3~5 minutes, depending on the texture. It should be firm to the touch on top.
  8. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool down completely. Then add the frosting and cut it into squares. Enjoy!
健康緊實胡蘿蔔蛋糕 (無麩質,純素) Healthy Fudgy Carrot Cake

How to Store Vegan Carrot Cake

Pop the leftover carrot cake in airtight containers in the fridge. They can last for 3-5 days.

If you’re not going to eat them very soon, you can store them in the freezer for about 2 weeks. Make sure to let them come to room temperature before serving.

Questions You Might Have

Can I use gluten-free plain flour to replace other flour in this recipe?

I personally haven’t tried it before. But based on my personal experience with gluten-free flour, you can try to replace oat flour, and it probably will turn out more cakey. But still, it also depends on the brand of gluten-free flour you’re using.

Are there other substitutions for coconut oil?

I would say no because the trait and characteristics of coconut oil are very hard to be replaced by another oil. And I personally always stick to extra-virgin coconut oil because it tastes so much better than the deodorized one.

Can I use other nuts instead of walnuts?

Yes, but I would suggest using walnuts or pecans because their flavour profiles are the best for vegan carrot cake, at least in my humble opinion.

健康緊實胡蘿蔔蛋糕 (無麩質,純素) Healthy Fudgy Carrot Cake

Nora’s Tips

  • I didn’t use a lot of cinnamon in this carrot cake. But if you are a huge fan of cinnamon, you can add another 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the batter or sprinkle more on top to increase the overall cinnamon flavour.
  • If you want to make it more colourful, you can add some raisins on top or even some extra shredded carrots.

Final Words

This carrot cake is really delicious that I would usually eat 2 squares at once, especially with the vegan cream cheese frosting. I hope you will like them as much as I do. You can also let me know if you’ve made them by tagging me on Instagram (@barrelleaf) or drop a comment down below if there are other questions on your mind.

More Vegan Recipes:

Healthy Fudgy Carrot Cake (Gluten-free, Vegan)

This baked carrot cake is gluten-free, vegan, and healthy-ish made with more wholesome ingredients. It tastes great on its own and amazing with a vegan simple coconut cream cheese frosting! Oh, did I mention they are perfect for Easter as well?
Author: Barrel Leaf
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Resting8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 50 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, vegan
Keyword: cake, carrot, dairy-free, Easter, gluten-free, vegan
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

Vegan Carrot Cake

  • 65 g oat flour, use gluten-free one if necessary (packed 2/3 cup)
  • 30 g coconut flour, (1/4 cup)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 25 g coconut sugar, (1/6 cup)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 60 g unsweetened applesauce, homemade applesauce or storebought (1/4 cup)
  • 90 g light coconut milk, (3/8 cup) or coconut beverage
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 30 g extra-virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled (2 1/2 Tbsp)
  • 35 g walnuts, chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 50 g shredded carrots, (1/2 cup)
  • 20 g raisins, (2 Tbsp)

Vegan Cashew “Cream Cheese” Frosting*

  • 100 g raw cashews, soak in water in a jar to sit in the fridge overnight (3/4 cup)
  • 100 g full-fat coconut milk, (scant 1/2 cup)
  • 30 g maple syrup, (1.5 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Instructions

Make the frosting first:

  • If you want to have the frosting, start by preparing soaking the cashews overnight in the fridge, especially if you don’t have a strong blender/food processor.
  • The next day, drain out the water from the soaked cashews. Give them a gentle rinse. Then add them together with out ingredients for the frosting in a food processor or blender to blend until as smooth as possible.
  • Pour the mixture into a jar and store it in the fridge while we make the cake part.

Make the carrot cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F. Line an 8" loaf pan with parchment paper.
  • In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients, which include oat flour, coconut flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, coconut sugar, and salt.
  • In another bowl, add the applesauce, coocnut milk, vanilla extract, and melted coconut oil. Whisk to combine.
  • Pour the wet mixture to the dry one. Use a fork or a whisk to mix them together evenly.
  • Use a spatula to stir in the chopped pecans, shredded carrots, and raisins.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spatula or spoon.
  • Bake the carrot cake on the lower thrid rack in the oven at 175°C/350°F for 30~35 minutes. Use a small knife or toothpick to insert in the center of the cake. If no batter sticks to it, it's done. Otherwise, bake for another 3~5 minuts depending on the texture. If should be firm to the touch on top.
  • Place the pan on a wire rack to cool down completely. Then add the frosting and cut it into squares. Enjoy!

Notes

  • *Cashew “Cream Cheese” Frosting: I tried to simplify the frosting part for this recipe. You can also try the other Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting that I’ve shared before, using some tofu!
  • Storage: Pop the leftover carrot cake in airtight containers in the fridge. They can last for 3-5 days. If you’re not going to eat them very soon, you can store them in the freezer for about 2 weeks. Make sure to let them come to room temperature before serving.

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