This gluten-free carrot cake is soft, creamy, and incredibly delicious! It’s a wonderful and healthy no-bake dessert for Easter but can be enjoyed on any other day! Surprise your loved ones with these vegan carrot cake bars that will literally melt in your mouth!
Soft And Creamy Gluten-Free Vegan Carrot Cake
Easter is around the corner, so I had to create another carrot cake recipe. In my opinion, it’s best to celebrate Easter with a deliciously moist carrot cake. Don’t you agree? My baked carrot cake is one of my favorites, but this time I made gluten-free no-bake carrot cake bars with a cashew cream frosting.
Besides being vegan (eggless, dairy-free) and gluten-free, the recipe can be easily made refined sugar-free by using Xylitol, Erythritol, or Stevia as a sweetener.
Healthy Dessert Or Breakfast
These carrot cake bars are great for breakfast because they contain lots of healthy fiber and carbs from oats, carrots, and dates. The recipe contains 2 1/2 cups of finely grated carrots. I am sure you know that carrots contain lots of beta-carotene which is a powerful antioxidant and very good for us.
But this eggless carrot cake also contains healthy fats and proteins from nuts, which means you will stay full for a longer time. I also love to eat this vegan carrot cake as a delicious dessert in the afternoon, as we all know the cravings for sweets that kick in around 3 pm (or is it just me?).
The Ingredients & Substitutes
As I wrote before, this healthy carrot cake contains mainly oats, dates, and carrots, but I also added the following ingredients:
- Unsweetened shredded coconut: It makes the cake moist and soft. You can use ground nuts of choice, such as almonds instead.
- Walnuts: They are the perfect match for a carrot cake, in my opinion. But feel free to choose other nuts or seeds of choice, such as hazelnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
- Spices: Cinnamon, ginger (I prefer fresh, but ground ginger is fine too), allspice, and a little salt.
The cashew cream contains:
- Cashews: They are just perfect for creamy no-bake desserts, as they turn into a smooth cream when blended with some liquid. You might try pine nuts or even sunflower seeds as a substitute, however, cashews work the best!
- Coconut milk: I prefer canned coconut milk for a rich and creamy frosting.
- A liquid sweetener: Such as maple syrup. Any other liquid sweetener will work fine too.
- Cornstarch: To thicken the cream. Arrowroot flour is okay too.
- Coconut oil: I don’t recommend a different oil because coconut oil is solid when chilled.
- Vanilla powder: Adds a lovely flavor. Vanilla extract is fine too.
- Granulated sweetener: Use organic sugar or a low-carb (or keto) sweetener such as Erythritol (e.g. Swerve).
For the full ingredients list, measurements, complete recipe method, and nutritional information, read the recipe card below.
If you prefer a grain-free recipe you could try almond flour instead of oat flour, however, since I never tried that, you will need to experiment with the measurements. I definitely do not recommend coconut flour as it’s very absorbent and dries out every dough.
If you can’t eat nuts, then you could try making the cream layer with a (soy-based) vegan cream cheese or use soaked sunflower seeds instead of cashews.
How To Make Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
- Soak the cashews for at least one hour in hot water. To speed up this process, you could also boil them for about 15 minutes until they are soft. However, if you have a powerful Vitamix, then soaking isn’t really necessary.
- Line a 7×7-inch (18x18cm) square pan with parchment paper. A round springform is fine too. You can use a bigger pan, but the bars won’t be as thick.
Make the carrot cake dough
- Add the walnuts and unsweetened shredded coconut to a food processor (or blender) and pulse for about 10 seconds. Also, add the oat flour and spices and pulse again.
- Next, add the shredded carrots and soft dates and process again until the ingredients are all combined. Please make sure to not over-process the dough. However, it should stick together when you press it between your fingers. If it’s too dry, process a bit longer or add more dates or a little oil.
- Press half of the dough into the prepared pan and transfer it into the freezer while you make the cream.
Make the cashew cream
- Add the coconut milk, cornstarch, and granulated sweetener to a saucepan. Whisk to combine (there shouldn’t be any lumps), then bring the mixture to a boil. Let simmer for a minute until it’s thick, like pudding. Set aside.
- Add the other ingredients for the cream into a high-speed blender. Now add the pudding and mix until the cream is completely smooth and lump-free. Depending on your mixer/food processor this might take a few minutes.
- Pour half of the cream on top of the dough and put the pan back into the freezer until the cream layer is quite firm (about 1 hour). Then place the other half of the dough on top, press it down, and finally add the remaining cream on top. Put the pan back into the freezer for at least 2-3 hours (or until set). Check the recipe tips below for an easier version.
- Once you unmold the cake, let it thaw until softened and cut it into 8-12 bars.
Recipe Tips And Variations
- Make it easier: Even though it looks lovely, there is no need to make 4 layers of this cake. Feel free to make just two layers, which will also speed up the whole process.
- Soak the dates: It’s important to use dates, that are very soft and moist. If yours aren’t, then simply add them to a bowl and cover them with hot water for about 20 minutes or until softened.
- Make carrot cake cupcakes: Don’t have a square or round pan? You can use a muffin tin to make gluten-free carrot cake cupcakes that look even cuter!
- Marzipan carrots: If you were wondering how I made those “fancy” looking carrots on top – well I used homemade marzipan and colored them with a little beetroot and turmeric powder. You can definitely use store-bought marzipan carrots instead. 🙂
How To Store?
You can store leftovers of this vegan carrot cake covered in the fridge, there is no need to freeze the bars because they will stay firm and don’t melt.
But you can, of course, also freeze them (for up to 3 months) just make sure to let them thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes before you eat them.
Please leave a comment below if you make these delicious gluten-free carrot cake bars. You can also make a photo of it and post it on Instagram (or send me a DM). Please don’t forget to tag me in the caption + photo with @elavegan and use the hashtag #elavegan.
Other Vegan Carrot Recipes
- Vegan Carrot Cake
- Carrot Cake Donuts
- Carrot Fries | Baked or Air Fried (Low-Carb)
- Creamed Peas And Carrots
- Creamy Vegan Carrot Ginger Soup
Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
- 2 1/2 cups (225 g) carrots finely grated
- 2 cups (220 g) oat flour gluten-free if needed
- 1 cup small soft (150 g) dates pitted (see notes)
- 1/2 cup (45 g) shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1/4 cup (30 g) walnuts or other nuts/seeds of choice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp fresh ginger grated
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1 Pinch of salt
Pudding for the cream layer:
- Soak the cashews for at least one hour in hot water (better overnight). If you are in a hurry you could also boil them for about 15 minutes until they are soft.Also, line a 7x7-inch (18x18cm) pan with parchment paper. You can use a bigger pan, but the bars will be less thick.
Make the dough
- Put the walnuts and unsweetened shredded coconut into a food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds. Add the oat flour and spices and pulse again.Even though the video shows a blender, I definitely recommend using a food processor, since it works so much better.
- Next, add the carrots and dates and process until the ingredients are combined. Don't over-process, but the dough should stick together when you press it between your fingers.If it's too dry, process a bit longer or add more dates or a little oil.
- Press half of the dough into the pan and transfer it into the freezer while you make the cream.
Make the cream
- First, you will need to add the coconut milk, cornstarch, and granulated sweetener to a saucepan (whisk to combine) and bring the mixture to a boil. Let simmer for a minute until it's thick, like pudding. Set aside.
- Add the other ingredients for the cream into a high-speed blender, also, add the pudding, and mix until the cream is completely smooth. Depending on your blender this might take a few minutes.
- Pour half of the cream on top of the dough and put the pan back into the freezer for about 1 hour (or until the cream layer is quite firm). Then place the other half of the dough on top, press it down, and finally add the remaining cream on top. Put the pan back into the freezer for at least 2-3 hours (or until set).
- Once you unmold the cake, let it thaw until softened and cut it into 8-12 bars. Enjoy the carrot cake bars thawed and store leftovers in the fridge!
- Watch the video in the blog post for visual instructions.
- Sweetener: You can use any granulated sugar of choice, for example, Erythritol, Xylitol, etc.
- Soak the dates: It's important to use dates, that are very soft and moist. If yours aren't, then simply add them to a bowl and cover them with hot water for about 20 minutes or until softened.
- Total time doesn't include chill time.
- Read the blog post for ingredient substitutes.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically