This lightened up vegan carrot cake bread is a perfect snack when you want something a little sweet, but don't want to feel guilty about it. And it's SUPER easy.
And let's face it: there's nothing like the smell of fresh carrot cake coming out of the oven on a crisp fall day. Whether you're in a beach house coming in from a surf sesh or a cabin in the mountains with crisp leaves blanketing the yard, this carrot bread turns a house into a home.
Not much fancy equipment required here. You can make this without any electricity if you have the right tools, and do fewer dishes in the process. It's a win/win!
- Whisk for combining the batter in a medium mixing bowl
- Separate mixing bowl for dry ingredients
- Grater or food processor for grating carrots, and vegetable peeler for peeling
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Loaf pan - 1 or 1 ½ lb loaf pan. You might have to cook a little longer in a 1 lb loaf pan - add 3-5 minute increments to start
- Vegan butter and flour OR parchment paper for greasing loaf pan
- Electric hand mixer for whipping icing
There are a few key groups of ingredients in this vegan carrot cake bread.
Let's start with wet ingredients.
First, you'll mix brown sugar, vegetable oil, applesauce, grated carrots, vanilla and aquafaba together in a mixing bowl.
The key ingredient here is aquafaba - aka the juice from a can of chickpeas. It's my favorite egg replacer for baking, especially in a thicker batter like this one.
Don't forget to peel your carrots before grating!
The carrots will soften and complement the deep caramel flavors from brown sugar. Applesauce gently adds more sweetness, and pairs perfectly with our fall spices.
Then we'll move on to dry ingredients. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger together in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir gently to combine. Think pancake batter - this doesn't have to be perfectly smooth, and we definitely don't want to over-mix.
Now we'll prepare our pan. If you have vegan butter (such as Miyoko's), smear a tablespoon or two around the bottom and sides of the pan. A butter wrapper works well, but you can use your hands too. Then add a Tbsp or two of extra flour and tap to spread around the pan.
Pour thick batter into the loaf pan and bake. When a toothpick comes out clean, it's ready!
Once loaf has cooled completely and is out of the pan, refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
Meanwhile, set out cream cheese icing ingredients - vegan cream cheese (such as Violife) and vegan butter (such as Miyoko's). They'll need to soften for 30-60 mins. Vegan butter and cream cheese have much lower melting points than dairy products, so definitely don't leave them out for more than a couple hours.
When you're ready to frost your loaf, beat cream cheese and butter with powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and a tiny pinch of cinnamon.
Finally, frost the loaf. The icing will be a little looser than regular cream cheese icing - that's ok! It's between a glaze and a frosting.
Enjoy a slice, and good luck not having a second one. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Frequently asked questions
Why is there no butter in carrot cake? Instead of butter, carrot cakes and loaves typically use oil. This makes a super moist cake that is good for a bit longer than a butter-based cake. There's also something about the way that shredded vegetables interact with oil that is simply divine.
How do I store a carrot cake loaf? Store in the refrigerator, covered for up to 5 days.
Is carrot bread healthy? Let's say it's healthier than carrot cake given the lower sugar and fat content, but not as healthy as something without added sugar. This is still a sweet treat and has some fruits and veggies, but not healthier than noshing some carrots on their own. Treat yourself!
How many grated carrots equal a cup? In my experience, 2-3 medium to large carrots will grate into a cup. Don't forget to peel your carrots first!
How do you keep icing from melting? To keep icing from melting, make sure your cake or loaf is completely cool. Cool completely on a cooling rack, and then place into the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Then when you ice your loaf, there's no residual heat to melt the icing.
Vegan icing has a lower melting point than dairy icing. When using vegan butter or cream cheese to make an icing, warm to room temp for no more than 2 hours, instead of 3-4 like dairy butters.
Not into vegan carrot cake bread? Check out these plant-based fall comfort foods:
- Cornflake french toast
- Easy cornbread muffins
- Kitchen sink cookies
- Classic baked mac and cheese
- Butternut squash bisque
- Mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy
- Twice baked potatoes
- Chickpea curry
- 1 ½ cups grated carrots
- ¾ c brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ⅓ cup applesauce
- 6 Tbsp aquafaba (juice from a can of chickpeas)
- ⅓ cup chopped nuts such as pecans or walnuts (optional)
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground ginger
Cream cheese icing
- 2 Tbsp vegan butter (such as Miyoko's)
- 4 oz vegan cream cheese (such as Violife)
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven & prepare pan: preheat oven to 350 F. Meanwhile, grease the inside of a loaf pan with a Tbsp of two of vegan butter. Then add a Tbsp or two of flour and shake around until inside of the pan is covered. Set aside.
- Combine wet ingredients: in one bowl, combine all wet ingredients and whisk gently until combined.
- Combine dry ingredients: in a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients and whisk gently.
- Add dry ingredients to wet: add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and whick until combined. Pour into loaf pan, and bake for 35-40 mins.* When a toothpick comes out of the middle clean, it's ready!
- Cool carrot loaf: cool carrot cake loaf in pan for 10-15 minutes, then carefully remove from pan, running a dull knife around the edges before turning onto a cooling rack. Cool completely (45-60 minutes) then store in refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
- Prepare icing: while the loaf is cooling, let butter and cream cheese soften on the counter in a mixing bowl, covered. When your loaf is sufficiently cool, beat with other icing ingredients, and gently ice top of the loaf. There might be some icing left - drizzle some on top of your slice if desired for extra sweetness and enjoy!
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction's Carrot Cake Loaf
*35-40 mins is the benchmark for a 1 and ½ lb loaf pan. For a smaller loaf pan, add 3-5 minutes then test with a toothpick. For larger loaf pans, subtract 3-5 minutes.
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