Dairy Free Carrot Cake

Wonderfully moist and perfectly spiced, this simple dairy free carrot cake is fantastic for any occasion! Filled with fresh carrots, crunchy pecans and warm cinnamon, it’s topped with a dreamy dairy free cream cheese frosting. Soy free with a gluten free option. 

A partially sliced Dairy Free Carrot Cake on a white platter.

This dairy free carrot cake was originally published in April 2019. The post has been updated as of March 2024 with new photos, text and an improved recipe.

It’s spring baking season and I’m convinced that there’s nothing better than a slice of this dreamy dairy free carrot cake.

Soft, tender and wonderfully moist, it’s super easy to make and totally fuss free.

The cake base bakes up sweet but not overly sweet … and is filled with just the right amount of warm spices, fresh carrots and crunchy pecans.

And then there’s the cream cheese buttercream frosting to really bring it all home.

It’s an incredible dessert for Easter, spring brunches or everyday occasions.

Ingredients for carrot cake in small bowls and then mixed batter in a large bowl.

Ingredients for cream cheese frosting in small bowls and then finished frosting in a large bowl.

Tips & Tricks

  1. When measuring out your flour, fluff it in the container then scoop into your measuring cup with a spoon and level off. Don’t dunk the cup straight into the bag as you’ll likely use too much.
  2. Be sure to measure the applesauce in a dry measuring cup. It won’t level off correctly in a liquid one and you’ll wind up using the wrong amount. 
  3. You’ll need about four large carrots to get the two grated cups. I like to grate mine in a food processor as it’s nice and quick, but you can also do it by hand with a box grater.
  4. Please, please, do not use pre-shredded carrots – they are much drier / harder and will alter the moisture level in the final product.
  5. Finally, while you can absolutely enjoy this cake right after frosting, I’d recommend letting it chill in the fridge for at least a few hours. The flavors settle and it goes from good to great.

Dairy Free Cream Cheese Frosting being spread over a cake.


  • You should be able to use a different oil instead of the olive oil, although I haven’t tested this myself.
  • If you choose to use coconut oil, be sure that all your ingredients are at room temperature. If they are cold, you run the risk of the batter hardening up. Additionally, melt the oil first and then measure out the correct amount. Once melted, allow to cool for about 5 minutes before using (or you might scramble the eggs).
  • I think that honey could be used in place of the maple syrup, although again, I haven’t tested this myself.
  • You can absolutely use a different dairy free milk in the frosting.

Slices of Gluten Free Dairy Free Carrot Cake on white plates.

How To Store

Fridge: Once frosted, the cake will keep for about 4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Freezer: Alternatively, the cake base can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw in the fridge then frost.

A slice of Dairy Free Carrot Cake on a plate with a bite taken out with a fork.

Additional Dairy Free Cake Recipes:

Did you make this recipe? Rate and review it down below! I’d love to hear from you.

A partially sliced Dairy Free Carrot Cake on a white platter.

Dairy Free Carrot Cake

Yield: 1 (9 inch round) cake
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Wonderfully moist and perfectly spiced, this simple dairy free carrot cake is fantastic for any occasion! Filled with fresh carrots, crunchy pecans and warm cinnamon, it’s topped with a dreamy dairy free cream cheese frosting.


For the cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour*
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups finely grated carrots
  • ½ cup finely chopped raw pecans (or walnuts)

For the frosting:

  • 6 tablespoons dairy free butter, at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup dairy free cream cheese, cold (see notes!)**
  • 1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons oat milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray then line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda and salt. 
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, olive oil, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract until well combined. 
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Gently fold in the grated carrots and pecans.
  5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan (it will be thick) and spread evenly with a spatula.
  6. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. 
  7. Set the pan on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely, then carefully remove from the pan.

For the frosting:

  1. Add the dairy free butter and cream cheese to a medium-large bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat on medium for about 30 seconds, until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  2. Add the confectioners' sugar, oat milk and vanilla to the bowl. Beat on low until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium and continue to beat until fully combined and creamy. Add additional confectioners’ sugar to thicken the frosting or extra oat milk (slowly!) to thin out as desired.
  3. Use a spatula to spread the frosting over the cooled cake.


*To keep gluten free - use a 1 to 1 gluten free all-purpose flour. I tested the cake several times with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour and we thought it came out great that way as well (not sponsored, just what I used). One note - I did find it takes slightly longer to bake when using the gluten free flour - it was done at right around 32 minutes in my oven.

**I find this works best with a dairy free cream cheese that is a bit softer in texture straight out of the fridge. Please also keep in mind that different dairy free cream cheeses can vary pretty widely in texture / ingredients - so this will 100% affect the frosting. As far as brands go, I tested with the following options:

Miyoko’s Creamery Plain Cream Cheese - this one worked great and was by far my favorite. The finished frosting had hands down the best consistency - it was thicker and completely smooth and creamy.

Kite Hill Plain Cream Cheese - this one also worked well. The finished frosting was a bit softer and didn’t have quite as perfect of a consistency as the Miyoko’s (it was ever so slightly grainy) but a solid option.

Daiya Cream Cheeze - My photographer used this brand and it worked great for her. The finished frosting had a smooth consistency (it’s what you see in the photos). 

Violife Cream Cheese / Oatly Cream Cheese - both of these options resulted in a weird almost separated / grainy texture in the finished frosting. 

Philadelphia Plant Based Cream Cheese - this one is hard straight out of the fridge which made it difficult to work with. But it did eventually smooth out once the sugar was added. I personally don’t love the flavor but thought it tasted fine once in the frosting.

To keep soy free - be sure to use an appropriate dairy free butter and cream cheese.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 453Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 312mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 3gSugar: 29gProtein: 6g

Nutrition data shown is an estimate provided by an online calculator and is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a substitute for a medical professional’s advice.