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Carrot Cake Recipe - wholesome, yummy, plant-based and oil-free

Delicious, wholesome, plant-based (vegan), and oil-free carrot cake, (or carrot-cake muffins) recipe.

This carrot cake makes for a really wholesome dessert, but can also be a great breakfast idea. Although this recipe uses some sugar, (unrefined, but still sugar), it's made with whole wheat flour and oats, and no oil, so it really is a way healthier and more sustaining version of your traditional carrot cake made with a ton of white sugar, white four and oil or butter. So as long as it's not something you have every single day for months, I think it makes a great breakfast just as much as it can be dessert.

I find that this recipe (whether you make it as a cake or muffins) tastes best a day after I bake it. I, therefore, usually bake it a day before the day I need it for, and store it in an air-tight container in the fridge once it cools down. I decorate it the next day, right before it's meant to be served/picked up.

You can of course just bake the cake (or muffins) and serve it as is, however, going the extra mile and adding in the cashew-coconut frosting really takes it to the next level as the frosting balances the flavors and adds that little extra sweetness on top. Especially if you're not used to baking with less sugar, you might find that it really completes it. To be honest, for me this cake is perfect on its own, sometimes it's even too sweet as is, (in which case I still use the frosting but just add less of the maple/agave syrup) because even flavors aside, texture-wise, the frosting just plays very well with this cake. So I highly recommend making the frosting as well. And depending on how into this you are, you may then decorate it however you desire or simply leave it plain, just the frosting on top. Because it really is perfect that way, but of course a little décor can certainly bring its visual presentation to the next level.

CARROT CAKE Ingredients:

(frosting ingredients below)


1c ~ 145g whole wheat flour

1c ~ 110g oat flour (I make mine by simply blending rolled oats, as it's the exact same thing as oat flour, but way cheaper)

3/4c ~150g of unrefined sugar

1t baking soda

1t baking powder

pinch of salt

1.5t ground cinnamon

0.5t ground nutmeg

1.5c ~ 130g walnuts

Wet: 1c ~230g applesauce (homemade or store-bought, just make sure it's 100% apples and no added sugars or other unnecessary additives)

2c ~ 230g of shredded carrots (that's usually about 4 medium carrots)

3 T plant-based milk

additional 1T - 1/4c of plant-based milk - see notes below

1T orange juice

1t apple cider vinegar

1t of vanilla extract or 2 drops of vanilla essence

+Frosting- recommended:

- see recipe below

+Decorations- optional: -a few branches of fresh rosemary -a handful of blueberries

-a nicely-cut slice of an orange

-about 1/4-1/2c of desiccated coconut

-and/or whatever else (if anything at all) you choose to decorate it with, but the frosting is definitely recommended as it really completes the cake, both taste and texture-wise.


1- Preheat the oven to 175C/350F

2- To a large mixing bowl add all of the dry ingredients, except for the walnuts, and mix them well.

3- To another bowl add all of the wet ingredients, except for the additional plant-based milk and the carrots, and mix them well.

4- Wash, peel (if using non-organic), and shred the carrots. I prefer using the large grater holes for this recipe, but the medium ones would also work. Measure out 2 cups ~ 230g and use your hands to squeeze some of the juices out. It might be that your carrots are quite dry and not much juice can be squeezed out, but sometimes there will be quite a lot of it so it's good to squeeze out at least some of it so that our cake doesn't become too wet. Generally you want the grated carrots to be on the drier side when you mix them with the rest of the ingredients. see the pictures for reference.

5- To your large mixing bowl with all the dry ingredients add in the contents of the wet ingredients bowl and mix everything well so that all of the dry ingredients are well incorporated into the mixture.

6- Now fold in the grated carrots and mix everything well.

7- AFTER you've mixed in the carrots I recommend pausing to check if the batter is the right consistency- see pictures for reference. If it appears too dry, meaning even after mixing in the carrots to the best of your ability, there seems to still be some carrot pieces that haven't been properly covered with the batter, you might want to add about 1T to 4T of that additional plan-based milk. I usually don't find there's any need for that, however there have been a couple of times when I felt like adding the plant milk was necessary. Keep in mind, though, that even though the batter should be wet, we don't want it to be runny- this isn't crepes.

8- It's most probable that the walnuts you're using are mostly halves, although it's certainly okay to keep them this way, I recommend crushing them a little bit. I generally use my fingers to do it, and find that crushing a half into two or four pieces is enough. Smaller isn't recommended as we do want to feel the walnut pieces in the cake, but it's up to you.

9- As the last step we add in the slightly crushed walnuts and mix them in with everything else.

10- Prepare the cake pan by greasing it with some vegetable oil and/or lining it with parchment paper. For this recipe I usually go for a round cake pan 20cm/8inches in diameter. I have done it in a loaf pan, but I found that it needed a little bit more time in the oven in that case. This recipe also makes wonderful muffins, so if that's what you're going for prepare your muffin cups. Fill in your pan/cups with the batter and put it/them in the preheated oven (175C/350F) for about 55 minutes in the case of the round cake pan and about 45 minutes if you're making muffins. Either way, I recommend watching the oven closely towards the end of the suggested time and performing the toothpick test to determine whether your cake is done (the toothpick comes out mostly clean/dry) or if it could use a little more time in the oven (if the toothpick comes out covered in wet batter).

11- Allow the cake (or muffins) to cool down before you serve it or decorate it.

I find that this cake tastes best a day after I bake it, so I usually bake it a day before the day when I'll need it, store it in an air-tight container in the fridge once it cools down and decorate it the next day, right before it's meant to be served/picked up.



1/2c ~ 70g cashew nuts, soaked (measured BEFORE soaking)

1/4-1/3c ~ 60-80ml canned coconut milk - preferably the solid (fat) bit from the can if you're able to separate it from the water*

1t of vanilla extract or 2 drops of vanilla essence 1t-1T orange juice (can sub lemon juice and adjust the amount to your liking, some people prefer more of the citrus flavor in the frosting, some less)

1/8-1/4c ~ 30-60ml maple or agave syrup

pinch of salt

*a good trick is to put your coconut milk in the fridge or freezer for a few hours before using it, that way the fat will separate from the water and it'll be easier to then use just the white, solid bit.

Method: 1- If you have time, soak the cashews overnight, if you're pressed for time, a few hours will do. If you don't have time at all you can soak them in hot water for at least 10 minutes (more if you can) and that should be fine too.

2- To a blender add in the cashews, 1/4c of coconut milk, vanilla extract or essence, orange/lemon juice, 1/8c of agave/maple syrup and a pinch of salt. Blend everything until it becomes a smooth cream-like paste. If your blender is having trouble blending it you may add a little more of the coconut milk.

3- Taste the frosting and decide if it's sweet enough or if you need to add any more of the syrup.

4- Blend everything so that all of the ingredients are well incorporated and there aren't any visible cashew chunks in the frosting. Now, depending on your blender size and strength, you may not be able to blend the frosting to the perfect smoothness.. that's a bit of a bummer, but it's still delicious as long as all of the ingredients are mixed well. I once made this cake while traveling and staying at a friend's who didn't have a good blender so I made the best of what we had and even though it didn't look as great, it still tasted very good.

5- If you find that your frosting is a bit on the runny side, I recommend putting (or storing) it in the fridge or even the freezer (but don't let it freeze) for a little while so it hardens a bit.

Maximum indulgence tip: you could double both the cake and the frosting ingredients and create a layered cake with frosting in-between the two layers as well!!


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