Healthy Carrot Cake (Oil-free, WFPB, Vegan)

Anytime of year is a good time for carrot cake in my opinion, but it’s especially in-season in the spring. Light, sweet, fresh and healthy, just like a 70 degree day after a long, heavy winter.

This cake is particularly healthy and particularly does not taste like it! It is moist and full of carrot cake flavor–cinnamon, ginger, walnuts, raisins, carrots, pineapple, coconut. YUM!

I recently made it for my husband’s grandmother’s 81st birthday. She can’t have dairy and was beyond thrilled to be able to enjoy a dairy-free cake. The whole family loved it and didn’t even seem to suspect it was “healthy.”


I wanted to make a white frosting for beauty’s sake, but most healthy sweeteners are brown. I used coconut sugar for the frosting, which gives it a darker color, but it is SO GOOD it’s worth it. You could, of course, compromise and use your favorite cream cheese frosting, but this frosting is much healthier and still delicious! The vinegar even adds a little tang like cream cheese.

This recipe makes two 8-inch round cakes, or 12 cupcakes/muffins. You could also easily double the recipe for an elegant 4-layer cake, since the layers are not very tall.


Use strips of wax paper under the cake while you frost it to keep the plate clean.

As for those cute carrot rosettes on top, just use a peeler to make some ribbons. Then roll them up and crowd them together in a small bowl of ice water. After about 10 minutes they will hold their shape pretty well, and the frosting of the cake also holds them in place.


I recommend this for an Easter dessert (or breakfast or brunch—it’s healthy enough!), Mother’s Day for those health-conscious mothers in your life, or a regular Monday night. Good luck not eating it all in one sitting!


5 from 1 vote
Healthy Carrot Cake (Oil-free, WFPB, Vegan)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
28 mins
Total Time
43 mins

The perfectly moist and sweet carrot cake that is conveniently also full of carrots, pineapple, applesauce, walnuts, coconut and raisins. 

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: carrot cake, oil-free, vegan
Servings: 8 slices
Author: Faithful Plateful
  • 1.5 cups grated carrot
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or sunflower seeds (optional)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Dry ingredients:
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp (heaping) nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp (heaping) ginger
Cashew Coconut Frosting
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for 30 minutes in hot water
  • 1/3 cup coconut cream (thick part at the top of can of full-fat coconut milk)
  • 1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar (adds tanginess like cream cheese)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbsp powdered sugar, powered coconut sugar, honey, or maple syrup (You can make powdered coconut sugar by blending up regular coconut sugar)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  1. If making the frosting, start soaking the cashews. 

    Trace two 8-inch cake pans onto parchment paper and cut out. Line bottoms of pans with parchment and grease the sides. To make 12 cupcakes instead, grease a muffin pan. Set pans aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Stir wet ingredients together.

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk dry ingredients together. Add wet ingredients, and stir until well-combined. Do not over-stir. 

  4. Pour batter evenly into the two cake pans. Bake at 350 for 28-30 minutes, until middle bounces back if you press on it with your finger. 

  5. Let cool completely and remove from pans. Frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting, or the frosting listed below. 

    Decorate with chopped walnuts or pumpkin seeds, flaked coconut, grated carrots, or carrot curls. 

To make frosting:
  1. While cake is baking, combine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender or small bullet/twister jar and blend until very smooth.  Let chill for 30 minutes, then blend again. The longer it chills, the less runny it will be. This frosting is slightly runny in nature, not ideal for piping, but delicious! Using coconut sugar or maple syrup will make the frosting a light brown color. Honey or regular powdered sugar makes it more white.

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  1. Had this tonight for Mother’s Day and was blown away! Soooo tasty. This is definitely going to become a Mother’s Day tradition! Just for fun, as we were eating it, we looked up a generic recipe for your typical carrot cake. It was loaded with so much sugar, butter, oil, eggs, and non-whole-wheat flour.

    This recipe is whole wheat, no oil/butter, no junk plus a whole lot of goodies. It was perfectly sweet and spiced to perfection. Would highly recommend! The frosting was fabulous as well. I used the maple syrup option. Thank you, Faith!

    1. This is the sweetest comment! Thank you so much! Yes, most recipes (even vegan recipes) are so full of oil and sugar—-it’s hard to compete with them but I’m so happy to have done it with this one.Thanks again!

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