The BEST Dairy Free Carrot Cake

When birthdays come round, naturally there has to be cake. So when it was my beautiful friend Rebecca’s birthday, I knew I wanted to treat her to something extra special. The catch: she is currently dairy free, which meant her cake had to be too. The result: my dairy free carrot cake!

Now carrot cake is one of my favourites. But so many recipes I’ve tried in the past have resulted in an oily cake. Or one that’s too dense. Or just not very flavourful. And, being me, I wanted to create a cake that took all the good bits of all the carrot cakes I had ever tried, and roll them all into one. The warmth of the spices, not dry, with a tender crumb that held onto moisture even after a day or two of being cut into.

And the cream cheese frosting. Surely that’s what elevates it into something truly outstanding, right? But to make it dairy free whilst still keeping all the creaminess and tang? I knew I had my work cut out for me!

My first challenge came in the cake: for those of you who have made it will know, carrot cake doesn’t use butter but oil instead. But I would normally use buttermilk to make my recipe, so adapted it by making my own dairy free buttermilk alternative instead. Problem solved!

Next was the icing. This was important: carrot cake’s cream cheese topping HAS to be epic. It’s the rule of carrot cakes! So I added to the tang with a bit of extra lemon juice, and the sweetness with some vanilla. And the magic happened!

This dairy free carrot cake turned out just delicious, I was so pleased! It has totally resurrected my love affair with carrot cake all over again. I’m sure it will for you too!

Thanks for stopping by, friends!

Happy baking!

🙂 x

The BEST Dairy Free Carrot Cake

4.7 from 3 votes
Recipe by movers and bakers Course: DessertDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time



Carrot cake is one of my faves! Can easily be adapted to use non-dairy free too!

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  • For the carrot cake
  • 350 g (7 cups) grated carrots

  • 80 ml (¼ cup + 1 tbsp) dairy free buttermilk (see notes below)

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 260 ml (1 cups + 1 tbsp) vegetable oil

  • 315 g (1 cups + ½ cup + 1 tbsp) caster sugar

  • 375 g (2 cups + ¼ cup + 1 tbsp) plain (all purpose) flour

  • 1.5 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

  • 0.5 tsp salt

  • 2 tsp cinnamon

  • 0.5 tsp nutmeg

  • 0.125 tsp ground cloves

  • 80 g (generous ½ cup) walnuts (optional)

  • 120 g (¾ cup + 1 tbsp) raisins (optional)

  • For the cream cheese frosting
  • 100 g (½ cup) trex, or another dairy free butter (see notes)

  • 200 g (¾ cup + 2 tbsp) dairy free cream cheese

  • 500-650 g (3 cups + ¼ cup – 4 cups + ½ cup) icing sugar, sifted

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1.5 tsp lemon juice


  • Preheat your oven to 170C/340F. Grease and line three 8″ cake tins and set aside
  • In a large bowl, place your carrots, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, oil and sugar and mix to combine thoroughly.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the rest of your ingredients except for the walnuts and raisins. Add to your wet ingredients and mix to combine thoroughly. Stir through the nuts and raisins, if using.
  • Divide your mixture as evenly as you can between the three cake tins, and bake for 35-40 minutes. When cooked, your cakes will be springy to touch and a toothpick inserted into the middle will come out clean. (see notes below). Cool in tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Using ingredients straight from the fridge, beat your trex and cheese together until well mixed. Add in your icing sugar, mixing until completely combined, scraping the bowl down as you go. You may need more or less, depending on how much your wet ingredients absorb. Once fairly thick, add in vanilla and lemon juice, mix in to combine, then beat the whole icing on high to fluff up. Use the icing to sandwich your layers together and cover the top of your cake. Decorate as I have, or as you wish.


  • To make dairy free buttermilk, you can mix 1-2 tsp of lemon juice or vinegar with milk and leave to stand for 10-15 minutes before using. I prefer a mix of equal quantities of dairy free yogurt and a dairy free milk (I used almond). Just mix together really well in a bowl/jug and microwave for 30-40 seconds to warm through. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before using.
  • I find it better to use a wooden toothpick/cocktail stick/skewer rather than a metal skewer. Uncooked cake will slide off the metal more easily than the wooden ones, so it isn’t a good indicator if you cake is cooked or not. Wooden all the way! 🙂
  • Make sure you use a dairy free butter that is solid when in the fridge. Using something that is spreadable straight from the fridge will not allow your icing to set as well, and it will be very loose.
  • This cake needs to be kept in the fridge once put together, as the icing will go very soft at room temperature.

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  1. This recipe resulted in the best carrot cake I’ve ever made! It was moist for 3 days (by which time it had all been eaten!) and the flavour and texture was fantastic! (I added a little more cinnamon and ginger, but no nutmeg or cloves) I also left out the nuts and raisins this time (but will try next time)
    Well worth trying this recipe – highly recommended!

  2. What are the COMPLETE equipments needed?

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