Everything that comes out of my kitchen is dairy-free, but for my family, at special events, I like to bake things that are as “normal” as possible. To do so, I often peruse the recipes that grandma clips from the newspaper or dog-ears in her favorite magazine, Taste of Home. Though I’m not completely sure of the original source, this dairy-free carrot cake recipe was born from one that I found at my grandma’s house.
My grandma, father, and I are big carrot cake fans, and it took just a few minor tweaks to develop a dairy-free carrot cake recipe that we all loved. I surprised her with a big slice of it for her 6th 75th birthday (you do the math).
Carrot Cake Frosting Tips
I topped it off with the dairy-free cream cheese frosting recipe that I created for Allergic Living magazine, but this recipe is also quite delicious. To maintain the thickness of the frosting, start with just 1 cup of powdered sugar and only add as much as needed for your tastes. I find that adding the full amount can make it a touch runny, depending on the brand of dairy-free cream cheese alternative.
Vegan & Egg-Free Carrot Cake Suggestions
If you can use eggs in this recipe, do! The results are superior with eggs. If you need an egg-free option, I have a full egg substitute guide to help out. The options I recommend trying are a powdered egg replacer or aquafaba. Avoid alternatives that are too moist and heavy, like applesauce and flax eggs. The cake might not set up if you use an egg option with density but not structure.
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Carrot Cake Suggestions
Because carrot cake is so moist, I recommend using a flour blend that doesn’t contain any gums. Gums can get, well, gummy in moist recipes. But I do recommend keeping the eggs, and not using an egg replacer, if you are trying this recipe without gluten. The carrot cake recipe I created for Allergic Living used a basic gluten-free flour blend of 2 cups brown rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, and 1/3 cup tapioca starch. I have not tested that specific blend in this recipe.
Note that I do grate the carrots for this dairy-free carrot cake recipe by hand, which can be time consuming. If you have a food processor to help make fast work of the carrots, this cake will come to together quite quickly.
Special Diet Notes: Grandma’s Best Dairy-Free Carrot Cake
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and vegetarian. For an egg-free and vegan carrot cake, see my tips above.
- 6 cups grated carrots
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup coarsely chopped raisins
- 4 eggs (see notes in the post for egg-free suggestions)
- 1½ cups white sugar
- 1 cup vegetable or grapeseed oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (see notes above on my gluten-free recipe)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Combine the grated carrots and brown sugar in a medium bowl and set aside for an hour. After the two have had some good mingling time, stir in the raisins.
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF, and grease and flour two 10-inch cake pans, three 8-inch cake pans, or two 8-inch cake pans +8 cupcake tins.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and briefly set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, and gradually beat in the white sugar, oil and vanilla. Stir in the pineapple. Stir the flour mix into the wet mixture, being careful not to over mix. Gently fold in the carrot mixture and nuts.
- Pour the batter evenly into your prepared pans. Bake as follows: 10-inch pans – 40-50 minutes, 8-inch pans – 30-35 minutes, Cupcakes – 20-22 minutes, or for all, until the cakes are springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Place the pans on a wire rack to cool for 10-20 minutes before removing them from the pan.
- Once the cake is completely cool, then you can frost it or drizzle with icing.