I’m just going to get right to it- this carrot cake is my favorite cake of ALL TIME.  I request it every year for my birthday, make it every year for Easter, and in the time in between, look for any and every opportunity to make it again! The best part? It’s honestly pretty healthy (in terms of eating cake).  But any dessert with a vegetable in it’s title can be considered healthy…right?! That is, until I slather on inches of luscious cream cheese frosting- my favorite part of the entire cake- so don’t skimp 😉

carrot cake, vegan carrot cake

OK but really- compared to regular cakes, this one ranks in the health-ier category.  Slowly I’ve adapted my Grandma’s recipe to make it my own, and I offer tons of ingredients swaps below:

U+21E8.gifWant less fat? Cut half the oil with applesauce.  More protein? Cut half the apple sauce with greek yogurt too!

U+21E8.gifI already sliced the sugar content down 1/2 cup from the original recipe, and replaced the white sugar with beet sugar, which you can even split half and half with Vitafiber to reduce the sugar content even more. (20% off with the code VFELLENW20 through the clickable link).

U+21E8.gifYou can split half the all-purpose flour with spelt flour- a whole grain alternative that adds even more nutty flavor.

U+21E8.gifMixing in walnuts to the batter and garnish on top, adds a healthy dose of omega-3s to the dessert

U+21E8.gifAnd before I forget, speaking of *healthier* there is an entire can of pineapple (HELLO FRUIT) and 2 cups of carrots (VEGGIES FOR THE WIN) taking up the bulk of the batter while adding micronutrients and an incredible amount of moisture, make this cake incredibly soft… my favorite part about it!

carrot cake, vegan carrot cake

In order to make this vegan, I’ve been replacing the 3 eggs for a couple years with 1T baking soda + 3T vinegar, which works perfectly.  Because I only eat this on special occasions, I was always OK with just eating regular cream cheese frosting- because it literally MAKES the cake! But, I know that body doesn’t always respond well to dairy, so I was eager to see if it was possible to create a vegan alternative.  Luckily, this year I was introduced to Kite Hill products- the only brand I’ve found to make good-tasting vegan cheese. So, I simply took my regular cream cheese frosting recipe and replaced it with dairy-free cream cheese and vegan butter AND IT WORKED LIKE A DREAM! OH MY GOD, I’M YELLING BECAUSE IT’S SO DAMN GOOD.  Yes, you’re going to want to pile it on THICC because this frosting is incredible!

carrot cake, vegan carrot cake, vegan cream cheese frosting

While we’re talking about butter, I have personally made the decision that organic, grass-fed butter seems to be better for you than vegan butter.  Vegan butter is ultimately just margarine- processed vegetable oils- which of course in small amounts is fine, but my intent for being plant-based is to eat as minimally processed as possible.  So, it makes sense in my mind, that so long as the butter is coming from a high-quality source, it seems closer to its natural state, and in that case, a little bit better for you.  If you’re a strict vegan, go with the vegan butter! But if you keep an open mind, I’m now sticking with the real thing…but spring for the most humane, natural brands, such as Vital Farms.

carrot cake, vegan carrot cake

If you’re mostly vegan, how do you feel about butter? I never cook with it, just use it for baking from time to time, because it is truly irreplaceable for flavor + texture in desserts like cookies. But, do you think it’s better to stay entirely plant-based? Or are you more for going closer to nature and think it’s better to deviate on occasion to the real thing, so long as it’s organic and sourced sustainably?

carrot cake, vegan carrot cake

I hope you are as obsessed with this vegan Carrot Cake as I am- because I’m already itching to make it again.  Don’t forget to pile on the nuts, raisins, and coconut to the top to really bring it together! I can’t wait to hear what you think!

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