Sweet layers of spiced and walnut studded vegan carrot cake are slathered with rich dairy-free cream cheese frosting to make this decadent treat! Oh, and a secret ingredient makes this cake extra moist. Spoiler: it's pineapple!
Begin by making the cake. Preheat the oven to 350°. Oil and line the bottoms of 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, stir together the oil, milk, pineapple, flaxseed and vanilla. Allow the mixture to sit for at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, stir the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
Add the wet mixture to the dry, and stir just until blended, being careful not to overmix. Fold in the carrots and walnuts.
Distribute the batter among the two prepared pans, smoothing out the tops with a spatula.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
Transfer the cake pans to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely.
While the cake layers cool, make the vegan cream cheese frosting. Place the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and salt into a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer at high-speed until smooth.
Begin beating in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Beat in 4 to 5 cups total, until the frosting reaches your desired consistency. If the frosting is still a bit runny after adding 5 cups, place it in the fridge until it firms up a bit (this shouldn't take longer than it takes for your cakes to cool).
When the cake layers are cool, carefully remove them from the pans and peel off the parchment paper.
Invert one of the layers on a plate, and slather the top with half of the cream cheese frosting. Top with the other layer, also inverted, and slather the top with the remaining frosting.
Optionally, frost the sides of the cake and garnish the top with chopped walnuts.
Slice and serve.
*To substitute diced pineapple (canned or fresh), place it in the blender or a food processor and pulse a few times, until very finely chopped.
This recipe was updated in March of 2021. The original version included a cashew-based cream cheese. If you'd like to make this version, simply blend 2 cups (soaked) raw cashews, ⅓ cup maple syrup, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and ½ teaspoon salt in a food processor until smooth and creamy.