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.