Vegan Chocolate Carrot Cake

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Ever since last year when I saw a chocolate carrot cake, I have wanted to make one.  Because chocolate cake and carrot cake are both pretty amazing, and together they should be awesome, right?  Well I decided to make one last weekend.  It was time.  I had a big bag of carrots begging to be used in my refrigerator, and I was in the mood for something decadent and chocolaty, so it was happening.

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I had a few things I was going to change about this carrot cake recipe from my normal carrot cake recipe though. Of course I was going to add cacao powder along with the usual spices, but I wanted to make this a fruit sweetened cake.  I have been experimenting with that a lot lately and liking the results.  I used dates for this, and they worked out perfect.  Just the perfect amount of sweet to offset the chocolate, and they kept this cake nice and moist.  Second, I switched up my usual gluten free flour for quinoa flour because I had it on hand, it is also gluten free, and works as a 1:1 swap for AP flour in baked goods.

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The cake tasted amazing. I gobbled up the scraps I trimmed from it to even it out in no time.  It deserved a really decadent fudgy frosting.  Nothing else would do.  In the past, I would have simply mixed together maple syrup and cacao powder to get a fudgy frosting, but now I find that way too sweet. So I used dates instead as my sweetener, blended up with some water, nut butter and cacao powder, and what I got was the most amazing chocolate frosting I have eaten.  Only 4 ingredients, and so good!  It was also raw, so raw foodists take note, you can use this frosting recipe on your raw cakes as well!

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This cake was freaking delicious once assembled.  Chocolate decadent deliciousness...and honestly one of the best things I have made as of lately.  It was simple to make as far as layer cakes go, so I would encourage you to try this!  Bake it for a loved ones Birthday, they will think you are awesome!

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Vegan Chocolate Carrot Cake 

Makes 1 6 inch 2 layer cake

2 6 inch cake pans

Cake:
1 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
1/3 cup cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup packed soft medjool dates, pitted, soaked in water for 30 minutes and 1/2 cup of the water reserved
1/4 cup avocado oil or olive oil
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup fresh orange juice at room temperature
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups shredded organic carrots

Frosting
1 1/4 cups pitted medjool dates, soaked in water for 30 minutes, and 1 cup of the water reserved
3/4 cup raw walnut butter or raw almond butter
3/4 cup cacao powder
pinch sea salt

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees and position rack in center of oven. Line two six-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides with parchment paper. Coat parchment paper and pan sides lightly with oil so that the cake doesn't stick and line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment fit to the pan. Whisk flour, cacao powder, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, ginger, and cinnamon in a large bowl to blend well. Place dates, reserved water, oil, orange juice, and vanilla extract into a blender, and blend until smooth, then whisk this blended mixture into the flour mixture until well blended. Whisk in the cider vinegar until bubbles form. Mix in carrots.  Transfer cake batter to prepared pans and bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool cakes completely in pan on rack, about 1 hour. Cut around sides of pan to loosen. Turn cakes out onto platter; peel off parchment paper. Let cool completely.

Meanwhile, to make the frosting, combine all ingredients In a high speed blender, and blend until smooth (since moisture content in dates varies, and nut butters may vary in runniness, if it seems too thin, add a little more cacao powder, too thick, a little more water).
To assemble, place one cake layer on a plate, and spread frosting 1/2 inch thick over it.  Place the other cake layer over that, then spread the remaining frosting on the top and down the sides of the cake.
***if you would like a 2 layer 9 inch cake, double this entire recipe and bake in two 9 inch cake pans.



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About the Author

I am a vegan girl who loves to make healthier desserts and dishes with lots of veggies. Recipes are meant to be shared, that is why I started blogging!

24 Comments
  1. tere
    January 25, 2016 at 16:52
    Reply

    OMG!!! you always make such gorgeous desserts! I need to finally venture and make one of you recipes instead of just daydreaming about your cakes when I see them on facebook and have to control myself not to lick the screen lol!!! I'm thinking about making a half/mini version of this yumilicious beauty once I'm done with my sugar cleanse... so, maybe this coming weekend.... I'll keep you poste!☺. Thank you for always sharing your beautiful creations!❤

    • January 25, 2016 at 19:56
      Reply

      Thank you so much :)! A half version of this would be perfect, and an awesome way to end the cleanse ;)!

  2. January 25, 2016 at 19:52
    Reply

    This looks truly amazing - I can practical taste it! I love the natural sugars in this - I'm very tempted to make this my end-of-exams celebration cake for when that glorious day comes! Yum :)

  3. January 26, 2016 at 13:07
    Reply

    !!!! This looks amazing--thank you so much for sharing. I'd love to try carrot/decadent chocolate combo together... and love the idea of using dates in the prep. Thank you for sharing this :)

  4. January 26, 2016 at 13:48
    Reply

    This looks utterly incredible! I can't belive that the frosting is made with those ingredients! It looks sooooo indulgent! I am going to have to make this once I can eat dates again (currently off the menu to see if it helps my IBS)!

  5. Tamar
    January 26, 2016 at 21:57
    Reply

    Can you clarify if this makes two 6 inch or 9 inch layers? The note at the end says doubling the recipe will yield four 9 inch layers. Thank you, can't wait to try this!

    • January 26, 2016 at 23:52
      Reply

      This cake makes 2 6 inch layers. It was supposed to say 2 9 inch if you double it, sorry that was a typo.

  6. Hilda
    January 28, 2016 at 16:47
    Reply

    Hi Amy, You mention sugar in the mix but it's not listed in the ingredients list? Gorgeous cake, l'll make it for my daughter 's 16th birthday (which is today) so I'll add sugar to taste. Thanks for the recipe!

    • January 28, 2016 at 23:40
      Reply

      There is actually no sugar in the recipe. It was a typo, I was using my carrot cake recipe as a guide that has coconut sugar, and forgot to take it out of the directions. This would make a perfect B-day cake :)!

  7. Gaddemon
    January 29, 2016 at 09:20
    Reply

    Hi, could you please help me out? I saw sugar mentioned in the description but I don't see it in the ingredient list. How much and what kind of sugar should I use? Thank you

    • January 29, 2016 at 13:12
      Reply

      No, there is no sugar in this cake. I mention that it is a fruit sweetened cake, and dates are the sweetener.

  8. January 29, 2016 at 17:43
    Reply

    This looks incredible. Delicious! I have never thought of CHOCOLATE carrot cake. YUM.

  9. Carol
    June 18, 2016 at 13:58
    Reply

    Hi Amy, I'm going to make this for my brothers birthday. Can I make it a day in advance and keep it in the fridge, or is it best made the day it will be served? Can't wait to try it! Thank you

    • June 18, 2016 at 22:58
      Reply

      Yes you can! It keeps up to a week in the refrigerator after it is made.

  10. Anne VDH
    March 8, 2017 at 20:00
    Reply

    Hello Amy, I made this cake last weekend for a dinner party with (non vegan) friends. It was a HUGE hit! Everybody absolutely loved it! And my husband said that it is the best chocolate cake he ever had! Thank you so much for all your super creative and delicious recipes!

    • March 9, 2017 at 00:07
      Reply

      So happy to hear you made it and you and your friends enjoyed it :)! You are so welcome!

  11. layla
    April 25, 2018 at 19:54
    Reply

    Is it possible to use quinoa flour like in other recipes?

  12. Elie
    January 1, 2019 at 21:44
    Reply

    I LOVE cream cheese frosting, and I was wondering: Is it possible to make a chocolate vegan cream cheese frosting and substitute it for the frosting you have in the recipe, and more importantly, of course - would it be good?

    • January 1, 2019 at 22:09
      Reply

      Of course it would be good, it just wouldn't be too much different than the fudge frosting because it is still chocolate frosting ;). If you wanted to make it though you could make this recipe for frosting from one of my other recipes and leave out the cinnamon: http://www.fragrantvanilla.com/vegan-pumpkin-spice-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting/

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