This vegan cranberry carrot cake is festive and luscious, yet features a minimum of fat and a plethora of fresh fruit (and a vegetable!).
Perfect for holidays or other festive occasions, don’t be daunted by the long-ish ingredient list in this recipe. It results in a beautiful cake that’s welcome for Thanksgiving (not everyone likes pumpkin pie!), Christmas, Easter, and the birthdays of carrot cake fans.
The season for fresh cranberries is brief, and this cake puts them to optimal use.
The simple vegan cream cheese frosting is delicious for topping fruit- or vegetable-based baked goods, especially those containing carrots, like this one, as well as pumpkin, squash, and citrus. It makes about 3/4 cup, enough to frost one average-sized cake, or a dozen muffins, if you want to use it on another recipe.
Recipe from Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas. Photos by Susan Voisin, FatFreeVegan.com.
- 8 to 10 ounces fresh cranberries
- 1/3 cup natural granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry or spelt flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons safflower or other neutral oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup grated carrot
Maple-Cream Cheese frosting
- 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
- 2 to 3 tablespoons maple syrup, to taste
- 2 tablespoons rice milk or other plain or vanilla vegan milk
- 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted if desired, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350º F.
- Place the cranberries in a food processor fitted with the blade and pulse on and off until evenly and finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Add the sugar, stir well, and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon. Stir to combine thoroughly.
- Make a well in the center and add the applesauce, syrup, oil, and vanilla. Stir until the wet and dry ingredients are completely combined.
- Stir the cranberries and carrots into the batter. Pour into a lightly oiled 9-inch round cake pan or springform pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center tests clean.
- For the frosting, combine the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until creamy and smooth.
- Once the cake has cooled to room temperature, release from the pan if you’ve used a springform or other easy-to-release pan.
- Spread the frosting over the top evenly, allowing it to drip over the sides. Otherwise, leave the cake in the pan and simply frost the top.
- Sprinkle evenly with the optional walnuts, then cut into wedges to serve.
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