{mm} best vegan carrot cake cake recipe + tennis

the best vegan cashew coconut carrot cake / gluten, oil, & refined-sugar free // bring joy

{Vegan gluten free carrot cake is the best.}

This weekend I did several lovely things:

1) ate lots of (gluten-free + vegan) carrot cake.

2) played tennis for the first time.

3) took a nice long bubble bath.

The carrot cake was born of a desire to make a somewhat frugal Easter-ish dessert with ingredients I had on hand. Joseph wasn’t excited about the prospect of me making carrot cake (I don’t blame him–most people’s experience with carrot cake is that it’s smothered in overly rich & sugary frosting). To be honest, this was my first attempt at carrot cake–so I had some trepidation.

the best vegan cashew coconut carrot cake / gluten, oil, & refined-sugar free // bring joy

I didn’t use any oil or refined-sugar (except for in the glaze, which is an optional addition, but totally worth it).

the best vegan cashew coconut carrot cake / gluten, oil, & refined-sugar free // bring joy

I’ve often thought I don’t like cake. And, I’ve realized, it’s just not true.

I love cake–if it’s moist & tender, with just the right blend of flavors. I think it can usually be improved by a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but if it’s good enough, it can stand alone.

I’m excited to share the recipe with you, but a few {MM} things first.


♥ A few weeks ago, on the frugal dates & why you need to date your husband post, Marly made a comment about how she & her husband make it a point to play tennis together as part of their date routine. I thought–brilliant! I’m totally stealing that idea. I’ve been wanting to branch out & do more physical type dates & playing tennis absolutely fit the bill. So this weekend we bought some inexpensive rackets & balls & went out & played for awhile while we left the kids with a sitter. It was relaxing to laugh together & get moving & the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. We both agreed that this the start of a new dating tradition. (And we figured we’d like our kids to learn too & make it a family event sometimes.)


♥ (I promise this photo was absolutely authentic–not staged at all! Salem really was “reading” Fermat’s Enigma–& she did Tyndale’s hair.)
Many of you have left comments on Thursday’s post about raising independent children. Like the homeschooling post, I’m seeing a theme in women’s desire to be a good mom and to have some time/space/interests apart from child rearing. This is definitely a topic I think we could explore more (especially how to make time for other pursuits, while remaining a present & responsible parent). Thanks for all your insights, & if you haven’t commented, chime in here.

♥ My dear friend (one of my favorite bloggers) Gena made a surprising, delightful announcement–she’s coming out with a cookbook this year! She managed (I don’t know how, so much self-control) to keep it under wraps until the very last minute prior to launching her book. You can get a sneak peak of it here (I promise it’s going to be an amazing compilation of inspiring/do-able recipes & writing) &/or pre-order on Amazon now.

♥ I love foxes. These pictures will make you love them too.

fabulous recipes to pin: 
all gluten-free & vegan

vegan asparagus & fennel quiche
(so pretty!)

carrot cake cheesecake
(in case you’re feeling the cheesecake version of carrot cake)

spring harvest buddah bowls w/ a dill vinagrette
(fresh & seasonal)

spectacular sunshine dressing
(put this on your next salad)


Now for that recipe.

{MM} vegan + gluten-free recipe: cashew coconut carrot cake

This is the kind of recipe you’ll want to make when you have company over (especially your vegan-skeptic relatives or friends). I kid you not, this cake will knock your socks off.

carrot coconut cashew cake -- vegan + gluten-free

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 16 slices

Serving Size: 1 slice

Calories per serving: 205 (without glaze)

Fat grams per serving: 5 g

carrot coconut cashew cake -- vegan + gluten-free

an uber moist vegan + gluten-free carrot cake with the addition of coconut & cashews to give it extra depth & texture


  • 1/2 c. buckwheat flour | or toasted quinoa flour or oat flour
  • 1/2 c. white rice flour | or brown rice flour
  • 3/4 c. garbanzo bean flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1, 14 oz. can coconut milk (not light)
  • 1 TBS. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TBS. blackstrap molasses
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 c. sucanat | or sugar
  • 1/3 c. ground flax seed
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 4 medium carrots, finely grated
  • 1/2 c. cashews (chopped)
  • for the glaze (optional):
  • 2 TBS. melted coconut oil | or non-dairy butter
  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/4 c. non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • + additional unsweetened coconut flakes for topping


  1. First, a few notes. I grind my flours from bulk grains, using my Blendtec. This a great way to keep flours fresh & to save money (more on frugal baking, here). If you make substitutions for the flours, it will change the end product slightly (make it a bit more dense, especially if you substitute brown rice flour for the white rice), but it will still be delicious. I highly recommend toasting your quinoa flour before using (otherwise, just regular quinoa flour has a very strong flavor).
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  3. Sift flours, baking soda & baking powder.
  4. In a large measuring cup, combine coconut milk, vinegar, molasses, vanilla. In a standing mixer, pour liquid. Add sugar & flax seed. Blend until smooth.
  5. Add sifted flours & mix just until batter is smooth.
  6. Add grated carrots, chopped cashews & shredded coconut. Mix until incorporated.
  7. Pour into greased bundt cake pan.
  8. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted & comes out clean.
  9. Cool for 15 minutes on cooling rack.
  10. While cake is cooling, make the glaze. Add melted coconut oil, vanilla & milk to powdered sugar & whisk until smooth.
  11. Place a plate over bundt cake pan, flip over so that cake is now on plate. Transfer cake (gently) to cake stand, or final destination.
  12. Pour glaze over cake, reserving some to use as additional topping when the cake is served. Sprinkle with additional shredded coconut.
  13. Eat immediately.
  14. {For leftovers: Flash free individual servings of left over cake (put in freezer on cookie sheet for an hour or so) & then wrap individual servings in plastic wrap, then place in a freezer bag--good this way in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you want to eat, just remove from freezer & allow to defrost for 2-3 hours before serving.}

cake only: 38 carbs, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein, 27 g sugar, 29 mg sodium; 5 WWP points: glaze (per tablespoon)--62 calories, 2 g fat, 12 g carb, 11 g sugar, 0 g protein, 0 g fiber


Hope you have a fab week!


P.S. Are you on my exclusive email list for updates? If not, sign up here, & you’ll get my free ebook, SIMPLE, with 15 of my fave gluten-free, soy-free, vegan recipes.

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  1. liv
    on April 28, 2015 at 11:11 pm said:

    I made this tonight, subbing the white rice flour with sweet rice flour (the sticky kind) and tapioca. I added lemon juice to the glaze as well. it turned out fabulous. thanks for the recipe!

  2. Alanna
    on May 7, 2014 at 11:39 am said:

    Janae! I made this cake for my sons baptism and it was a huge hit. Thank you for this gem of a recipe. We’ll be making it again. 🙂

    • Janae Wise
      on May 7, 2014 at 11:40 am said:

      I’m so happy. Thanks for telling me. It’s one of my fave recipes.

  3. Pingback: Weekend Reading, 4.27.14

  4. Emma
    on April 22, 2014 at 3:08 pm said:

    Carrot cake! Looks absolutely delicious Janae. I’ve been looking for a good vegan carrot cake recipe for I don’t know how long. I think this might be it. I’m a traditionalist so I might switch the cashews for walnuts though 😉
    Sounds like you had a gorgeous Easter weekend. Hearing about you playing tennis makes me excited for summer!
    P.S. I’m SO excited about Gena’s book too!

  5. Katie
    on April 21, 2014 at 11:01 pm said:

    Is it possible for me to make this using regular wheat flour?

    • Janae Wise
      on April 22, 2014 at 4:21 pm said:

      Yes, though I haven’t made it myself with wheat flour. I’d recommend using a blend of whole wheat & white–1 cup white + 3/4 c. whole wheat flour. Or, if you want to go 100% whole wheat, you could try 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, which is a bit lighter than just basic whole wheat flour. You can also reduce the flax seed by half.

  6. Gena
    on April 21, 2014 at 8:15 pm said:

    This cake looks amazing. Can’t wait to share it on Weekend Reading!

    And thanks, Janae, for sharing the love. So much gratitude to you. <3

    • Janae Wise
      on April 21, 2014 at 8:53 pm said:

      Thanks Gena!

      I’m am absolutely sincere when I say, I have never been this excited to read a cookbook. Seriously. I love your writing, your style, your recipes. You’ve got great voice & you’re totally down to earth. Can’t wait!

      (& like I said before, you can count on me to do my best to help you spread the word! I’m happy to do it.)

  7. Caroline @ Fighting For Wellness
    on April 21, 2014 at 7:36 pm said:

    I just wanted to say that I am REALLY enjoying your blog- it’s feels like a breath of fresh air when I pull up your page. I can’t believe I just found your blog in the last few weeks!

    • Janae Wise
      on April 21, 2014 at 8:54 pm said:

      Thank you Caroline! Super sweet of you to say so. Thank you for reading.

  8. Gabby @ the veggie nook
    on April 21, 2014 at 6:44 pm said:

    WOW look at the crumb on that cake, it looks perfect! So glad you had a nice Easter 🙂

  9. rachel
    on April 21, 2014 at 6:04 pm said:

    I like how you used whole foods to make a gluten free mix. im not into all the refined starches. do you need the baking soda/baking powder with this blend to help it rise? and does it rise well or is it a more dense cake? what other combinations of ‘whole food’ flours have you played with and with what proportions? it seems impossible to find recipes online without the dreaded refined starches! also, are the flax to help hold it together (ie: vegan egg) or just for flavor and texture?

    • Janae Wise
      on April 21, 2014 at 6:11 pm said:

      Hi Rachel! Great questions.

      Yes, the baking soda, baking powder, & vinegar all work together to make it rise. The flaxseed helps bind the flours (I don’t tolerate xantham gum very well, which is what is often used as a binder in gf flour mixes).

      What refined starches are you specifically avoiding? With gluten-free mixes, I find a mix of 40% refined (tapioca or potato starch or white rice flour) + 60% whole grain (quinoa, chickpea, oat, brown rice…) is a good combo to keep things light & rise-able (not too dense or heavy).

      I think this cake was a fluffy/well-risen as any gluten, non-vegan cake would be. Not very dense, IMO.

      Hope this answers all your questions!

    • Janae Wise
      on April 21, 2014 at 8:50 pm said:

      If I were going to make this 100% whole grain, I think I’d try replacing the white rice with brown rice, like you said. If you can’t tolerate buckwheat, I think a good replacement would be oat flour or toasted quinoa flour.

      How old are your little ones that are cloth diapered? What kind do you use? I still feel like I’m getting into the swing of things, so I love to know how others are doing it!

    • Janae Wise
      on April 21, 2014 at 8:57 pm said:

      I updated the recipe notes because of your suggestions/comment. Thanks!

      • rachel
        on April 21, 2014 at 9:13 pm said:

        thanks so much! I will try the brown rice. I always forget about using oat four (because we all eat oats daily for breakfast), so I could try that also, and perhaps pea or teff or barley, whatever is in the pantry…and I am fine with buckwheat but lets just say it does a doosey in the cloth diapers of my little one. I think because it is the whole groat (which has the hull still on it) and it just makes for a mess to clean up. we used to use bumgenius, but they wore out after a few kids so we just bought ALVA brand. they are like $4 each! if you get it directly from their site. they work just as well. and I sewed the inserts to the diaper (like the newest bumgenius 4.0 version, I think ) so that I don’t need to stuff them in the pockets anymore. works like a charm! thanks again for the advice. and I didn’t know that the baking soda/powder really made a difference with using gluten-free flours….also, im always too lazy and leave out the apple cider vinegar. do you think that really helps with the baking soda/powder to make it rise? I suppose ill just have to try and experiment. 🙂

        • Janae Wise
          on April 21, 2014 at 9:27 pm said:

          Also, I found this post super helpful regarding the need for baking powder/soda in gf baking:


          • rachel
            on April 22, 2014 at 11:46 am said:

            thanks. I read the article this morning and added the acv and bs/bp to 6 cakes I made (for the freezer, which was planned before you latest post. huge freezer fan!). anyway, I used a combo of whole milo, brown rice and pinto bean flour. they definitely look like the were lighter and fluffier. though I usually just use one type of flour per baked good. its just easier. but it wasn’t really any longer or harder to add the extra stuff. and I think it may have been worth it. wont know til I taste them though. 🙂 thanks again for all your help on the subject.