carrot cake

Nut Free Carrot Cake

Contrary to the last several posts, this blog is not becoming a dessert blog! 

nut free carrot cake

But sometimes there's a lot to celebrate, and that's a good thing. We love to celebrate the first day of school with cake, and each year my kids choose what kind of cake they'd like. Normally there's a fair amount of bickering that goes into that, but this year, the kids settled on carrot cake pretty quickly! 

nut free carrot cake ingredients

Carrot cake is rarely something that we have, because it's usually loaded with walnuts, and I'm deathly allergic. So in order to eat carrot cake, it has to be homemade. I have a vegan recipe that I've been using for years, but I I began tinkering with the recipe when the mood struck for carrot cake but I didn't have all of the ingredients on hand.

The end result is still a nut free delicious cake, with subtle carrot flavor and lots of flavor companionship from cinnamon and allspice. But this recipe is moist and rich thanks to buttermilk, and there was absolutely no need to even add egg to it! What I also love about this cake is that it's decadent, the way a cake should be (it is dessert, after all!) but the added sugar isn't through the roof. The entire cake has 1/3 cup, which equals 16 teaspoons. We usually cut this cake into 15 pieces, so the amount of sugar per slice is just about one teaspoon. 

nut free carrot cake mixing

Anyway, sugar calculations aside, dessert is dessert. And while I wouldn't try to pass this off as breakfast, it didn't leave me with that overwhelming cloyingly sweet sensation, which I greatly appreciate. This was absolutely perfect for our back to school celebration! 

Nut Free Carrot Cake

nut free carrot cake decorated and frosted

3 cups of grated carrots
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup grapeseed oil or neutral oil
2 1/4 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon, plus extra for dusting the top
1 teaspoon allspice

1. Preheat the oven to 350. 
2. Grease a 9x13 inch rectangular pan and line it with parchment paper.
3. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice. 
4. In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine the carrots, sugar, vanilla, buttermilk and oil. 
5. Gently fold in the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. 
6. Spoon the batter into the cake pan.
7. Bake for approximately 32-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
8. Once cool, spread with cream cheese frosting (recipe below) on top and dust with cinnamon (optional) or decorate as you'd like. 

*this recipe makes one 9x13 cake

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces of cream cheese (softened) 
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (softened)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar (sifted)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Combine cream cheese and butter and vanilla extract in a bowl and mix with either a hand mixer or a standing mixer. If the cream cheese and butter are soft enough (note: do not melt them!) you can do this by hand. 
Slowly add the confectioners sugar. It's much better sifted, as confectioners sugar tends to have lumps, but that said, sifting is annoying and time consuming, so I get that you'll want to skip that part. And that's okay. Make sure then, that you continue to beat until all lumps are gone. Add the cinnamon and ground ginger and thoroughly combine. 
Spread on the carrot cake once cooled.  

* you may have extra frosting... save it! You never know when it could come in handy!

nut free carrot cake

If you make this recipe, let me know! Share your creation on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest and tag @lalalunchbox #lalalunchbox 

Vegan Nut Free Carrot Cake

Do you love carrot cake? I'm allergic to nuts, so carrot cake is on my "do not play" list. But a dozen years ago, a friend of mine from business school - a pastry chef turned MBA - made a nut free carrot cake for me and it was my first taste of a dessert that had, until that point, been completely unknown to me. The cake was moist and flavorful, the frosting was tangy with delicious cream cheese. I loved it! My husband and I ate it for days - admittedly even for breakfast. 

Not sure how I went so long without even thinking about making my own carrot cake, but well, I did. Then recently I came across this post from Pack Mom Packs, who makes a 'Happy New Year' cake for her brood on the first day of every school year. What a sweet tradition! As the first day of school approached, I planned on making a cake but honestly, I didn't give much thought to the details. When the first day of school finally rolled around, I looked in the fridge and alas! I was out of eggs. 

piece of vegan nut free carrot cake

A quick google search on recipes for eggless cakes led me to this one for vegan carrot cake. It looked easy enough and I had all of the ingredients! I've picked a ton of carrots lately, so I figured this was a practical move, in addition to a delicious one. Still though, I decided to play it safe and make half of a recipe for a one layer cake. Mistake! I wish this cake had both layers. I modified it slightly by removing some of the sugar and altering the amounts of spices. (Recipe below) From what I understand, cream cheese frosting is the perfect companion to carrot cake. That wasn't going to work here. My youngest is dairy free and this cake had to be universally enjoyed. I decided not to make frosting at all, and instead use plain Anita's coconut yogurt, which is just coconut milk, coconut water and live cultures. It is tangy, rich and absolutely delicious. It's not the classic, but it was tasty nonetheless. When everything was ready, I sprinkled the top with a bit of cinnamon and my brood kicked off the new year with a delicious celebration! 

This cake is a victory for us: it's nut free, it's dairy free, it's simple and it's yummy. Best of all, it has started a new tradition for us -- carrot cake for the start of a new school year! 

vegan carrot cake

Vegan, Nut Free Carrot Cake (this recipe makes a single layer cake)

1.5 cups of grated carrots
1/4 cup sugar minus one tablespoon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/8 cup soy milk or other nondairy milk
1/3 cup grapeseed oil or coconut oil
1 1/8 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus extra for dusting the top
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2/3 cup plain coconut yogurt

1. Preheat the oven to 350. 
2. Grease a 9 inch cake pan.
3. In a large bowl, mix the carrots, sugars, vanilla, soy milk and oil until thoroughly combined. 
4. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice. 
5. Gently fold in the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. 
6. Pour the batter into the cake pan.
7. Bake for approximately 18-20 minutes.
8. Once cool, spread the coconut yogurt on top evenly and dust with cinnamon.