Vegan Carrot And Orange Cake
This vegan carrot and orange cake is loaded with walnuts, sultanas, orange zest and lots of delicious spices. Its topped with a velvety and zesty cinnamon and orange buttercream and chopped walnuts. This moist and rich carrot cake is the perfect dessert for any time of the year!
This cake has been one of my all-time favourite cakes since childhood! I just love the way it fills the house with the beautiful aromas of the spices as its baking. The fluffy and moist sponge is made even more irresistible with succulent sultanas and chopped walnuts.
I wanted to add a fresh, citrusy element to the taste of a traditional carrot cake so I added lots of orange zest to the batter. The flavour of the orange doesn’t hit you right away but it definitely gives a subtle zingy depth of flavour which creates a lovely contrast with the warming spices.
INGREDIENTS FOR THIS CAKE (See printable recipe for exact ingredients)
Plain all-purpose flour - I have not yet tried this recipe with other types of flour, so I can’t say how it’d turn out when made with other flours. I will be experimenting with gluten-free versions very soon!
Carrots - 200g of grated carrots! Isn’t it satisfying to know that your dessert contains a nutritious vegetable?! :D
Apple Cider Vinegar - The acid in the vinegar will help to activate the baking soda in cake and will help to raise the sponge making it lighter and fluffier. If you don’t have any apple cider vinegar at hand you could use the same amount orange juice instead. You could also use white wine vinegar but I find the tanginess from the apple cider vinegar adds more depth of flavour.
Coconut Sugar - Coconut sugar has a really delicious caramel flavour which is a really nice addition in this cake, but if you’re unable to find coconut sugar you can use soft dark brown or light brown sugar which will work just as well.
Baking Powder and Baking Soda - These additional raising agents will lighten the texture of the cake and help it to rise better.
Spices - No carrot cake is complete without a combination of warming spices! For this cake I’ve used a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger and a pinch of ground cloves. It isn’t crucial that you use all 4 spices, but make sure to definitely add the cinnamon and nutmeg!
Orange Zest - The orange zest gives a subtle citrusy depth of flavour which creates a lovely contrast with the warming spices.
Milled flax seeds - The milled flax seeds are used to make flax eggs. Flax eggs yields a “gluey” substance similar to eggs, which helps to bind the cake ingredients together.
Sultanas- The sultanas add a really pleasant softness and tangy taste to the cake, but if you’re nor a fan or sultanas you can leave them out.
Walnuts - Walnuts are also optional, but I find the delicate crunchiness of the walnuts creates a lovely contrast with the soft cake sponge.
Sunflower or Vegetable Oil - I prefer to use oil rather than butter when baking cakes because the oil contributes to moistness much more reliably, this is because oil remains liquid at room temperate while butter solidifies. I find that cakes made with oil tend to be softer and much moister.
Icing Sugar and vegan butter - You will need these for the tangy buttercream on top of the cake.
STORING THE CARROT AND ORANGE CAKE
Keep it covered at room temperature for around 3 days, or keep it covered in the fridge where it will stay good for up to 5 days.
TIPS FOR MAKING CARROT AND ORANGE CAKE
Make sure you don’t increase the baking temperature in order to try and get the cake to bake quicker – the cake will bake unevenly and this may cause doming. In general, a lower temperature will help the cake to cook more evenly.
Gently tapping the cake tin on a surface after you’ve poured in the cake batter will help to remove any air gaps - this will help your cake to bake more evenly.
The recommended baking time is 25-30 minutes but it might differ slightly depending on the baking tin you use and your oven. I wouldn’t recommend checking your cake too early as the middle might collapse – you can check the cake 20 minutes onwards by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake to see if it comes out clean.
When making the buttercream, make sure to use softened vegan butter and sifted icing sugar to prevent any lumps from forming.
The carrots I used turned out to be quite watery so I didn’t have to add any additional liquid to the batter. Depending on the water content of your carrots, you may need to add an additional 2-3 tbsp plant-based milk to your batter. Only add the milk if the batter is still too dry after you’ve thoroughly combined everything.
Do not try to add buttercream to a warm cake – it’ll melt and you’ll end up with a hot mess!
I’ve added a touch of cinnamon and orange zest to the buttercream to heighten the delicious flavours in the cake. I find that when you add a citrusy flavour to buttercream it gives it a lighter taste, but if you prefer plain buttercream you can omit the cinnamon and orange zest and it’ll taste just as good.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
For this cake I used two 8-inch (20CM) cake tins. This recipe would also work with a 7-inch cake tin (the cakes will be slightly thicker), or a 9 inch cake tin (the cakes will be slightly thinner).
HOW TO MAKE THE CARROT AND ORANGE CAKE
Preheat the oven to 180C (350°F). Grease 2 x 20cm cake tins with some oil and line the bases with baking paper
Prepare the flax eggs, by mixing 3 tbsp milled flaxseed with 5 tbsp water and allowing it to sit for 2 minutes.
Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices into a mixing bowl. Add the apple cider vinegar, grated carrots, orange zest, coconut sugar, oil, vanilla and flax eggs to the mixing bowl and thoroughly mix everything together for a few minutes. The consistency may seem dry at first, but the grated carrots will release their liquid as you stir. Add 2-3 tbsp plant-based milk if the batter is still too dry.
Fold in the sultanas and chopped walnuts.
Divide the cake batter between the two prepared tins and bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes before transferring the cakes to a wire rack to cool down completely.
To make the buttercream, beat the sifted icing sugar and softened vegan butter together with the orange zest and cinnamon.
Sandwich the cakes together with 1/4 of the buttercream then use the rest to cover the cake. Add 1-2 tbsp plant-based milk if the buttercream feels too firm. Scatter over the chopped walnuts and serve.