The Ultimate Vegan Carrot And Walnut Cake (With No Dairy Alternatives!)


2018 has kinda effortlessly become my year of baking. Getting really good at making vegan treats was one of the things I wrote down as an intention for this year, and for once I'm actually super proud of how far I've come with my New Year's resolution. I met my partner around the beginning of January and having him in my life has certainly helped motivate me to cook from scratch more - making him fall in love with vegan food brings me so much joy. Another thing that's been really helpful is Pinterest. Finding inspiration and starting-point recipes is so much easier on there than any other platform. The inspiration for this particular cake, a moist, crumbly, hearty and exceptionally sweet carrot and walnut cake, came from Loving It Vegan. I've changed the recipe considerably here, according to my preferences, and I love the result. I think it's one of the best cakes I've ever made, and it disappeared so quickly I thought I'd better share it. Unexpectedly, it contains no dairy alternatives in the actual cake base whatsoever. No nut milk, no margarine except a little bit for the icing, no boxed egg replacement. The rise comes from the baking powder and soda, and it's all held together by the carrot and the banana. This is all you'll need.



2 cups (250g) plain flour; 1 teaspoon baking powder; 1 teaspoon baking soda;  half a teaspoon of salt; 2 teaspoons of cinnamon; 250g of grated carrots; 200g white castor sugar; 120ml of olive oil; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract; 100g brown sugar; 1 banana; 1 tablespoon of lemon juice; 1 cup or around 150g of chopped walnuts (with some extra for decoration).

For the lemon buttercream icing, I just mixed lemon juice, a little margarine, icing sugar and a little vanilla extract until it was the right consistency. Try starting with around 3 tablespoons of margarine and adding the icing sugar and other ingredients until it's the right thickness and taste for you.

When I make this cake I tend to get most of my ingredients from Home Bargains, where it works out quite cheap even with the walnuts and fancy confectionery. If you can't get to a Home Bargains try an Aldi or a Lidl, as they often have really cheap nuts and fruit/veggies.

Start by grating all your carrots until you have 250g, then set them aside. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius, and lightly grease two round cake tins. You can line them with parchment paper if you want, but I usually just grease and then dust with a little flour. Mix together all the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a big mixing bowl. Add the grated carrot, castor sugar, and brown sugar and combine it gently. In a separate bowl, mash a banana with a fork until it's almost completely smooth. Add the olive oil, vanilla extract, and lemon juice to the mixing bowl, then add the mashed banana and give it all a good stir until it's thoroughly mixed together. Add the chopped walnuts and repeat that good stir you gave it. Divide the mixture between the two cake tins (your batter should be quite thick and sticky, this is fine, don't panic!) and level it out so it's fairly even on the surface. Pop in the oven for 30 minutes or until a knife in the centre comes out clean. Let them cool on a rack while you make the buttercream, and then sprinkle some leftover walnuts, or whatever else you want, on top of your cake. Voila.