Carrot Pistachio Cake
5 from 2 votes
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Kim-Julie Hansen Author photo

This vegan carrot pistachio cake is the perfect mix of moist and fluffy. If you love both carrot cake and pistachios, this recipe is for you! Paired with a vegan, lemony buttercream & cream cheese frosting, it’s the perfect cake to make for birthdays (or any other celebratory occasion).

carrot pistachio cake slice

Whether you’re vegan, lactose intolerant, or have a dairy and/or egg allergy, this cake tastes just as good as its non-vegan counterparts. With the right ingredient swaps, almost any baked good can be veganized.

Ingredients You’ll Need to Make this Carrot Pistachio Cake

grated carrots

For the pistachio carrot cake

  • Vegan Buttermilk: made with soy milk and apple cider vinegar.
  • Vegan Egg Replacer: made with chickpea flour and water.
  • Carrots: while you can use pre-grated carrots, I recommend grating them yourself to preserve a maximum of moisture. The quickest way to do this is by using the grating attachment of a food processor.
carrot cake ingredients
  • Spices & Essences: vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, cloves, salt.
  • Condiments: sunflower oil (or other neutral vegetable oil)
  • Flour & leavening agents: all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda
  • Sweetener: light brown sugar
  • Pistachios: Setton Farms Raw Pistachio Kernels.
  • Additional optional add-ons: raisins, grated coconut. (Note: the amount of grated coconut used will impact the density of the cake, so be sure to read the recipe notes in the recipe card below.)
pistachio close up
setton farms bag

For the frosting

  • Powdered/icing sugar
  • Vegan butter
  • Lemon juice (optional)
  • Sea salt
  • Dairy-free cream cheese (unflavored)

For the topping/cake decoration

TIP: find a list of recommend equipment in the recipe card below.

How to Make This Carrot Pistachio Cake

Note: You’ll find the detailed recipe in the recipe card below, but here are some step by step photos and instructions to give you an overview.

Preheat the oven & prep the cake forms and ingredients

ingredients pistachio cake
2 lined cake forms

Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC, then line two small (6-7 inch) round cake forms with parchment paper (tip: cutting the paper up and lining the bottom and sides of the form separately will allow for a less wrinkly result). Next, prepare the vegan buttermilk by mixing the soy milk and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl, then set aside. In another small bowl, mix the water and chickpea flour to form the vegan egg substitute, set aside. Peel the carrots and grate them using a food processor with a grating attachment (see notes).

Make the carrot cake batter

cake batter ingredients in a bowl
flour being sifted into the bowl with the other cake batter ingredients
pistachio carrot cake batter in a bowl with a spatula and chopped pistachios
pistachio carrot cake batter in a bowl with a spatula with chopped pistachios mixed in

To a large mixing bowl, add the vegan buttermilk, grated carrots, chickpea “egg”, vanilla extract, oil, spices, flour (tip: sift it in to avoid clumps), baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Mix well using a spatula or wooden spoon. If the batter is very thick, let is rest for about 5 minutes to allow de moisture of the grated carrots to blend with the other ingredients. Finally, fold in the roughly chopped pistachios, raisins, and grated coconut.

Bake the cake layers

baked carrot cake

Pour equal amounts of the batter into each of the cake forms and bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean. While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting (see next step). Once the cake layers are ready, remove them from the oven and let them cool for at least 30 minutes.

Make the frosting

overhead shot of vegan cream cheese frosting being added to a cake layer

In a medium mixing bowl, cream the icing sugar and vegan butter using an electric mixer until very smooth (it’ll turn crumbly before it turns smooth). Next, add the lemon juice and pinch of salt. As you continue to mix, slowly add the cream cheese, little by little. Continue to mix until the frosting is perfectly smooth. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to decorate the cake. (See recipe tips below to adjust the firmness of the frosting).

Decorate the cake & Enjoy

one carrot pistachio cake layer with cream cheese frosting on top
two carrot pistachio cake layers with one cream cheese frosting layer in between

After letting the cake layers cool, add the first layer to a plate, then top with a layer of frosting, distributing it evenly using a spatula or cake scraper. Add the second cake layer, then top with more frosting. Next, cover the sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Since you’ll be adding chopped pistachios, this doesn’t need to look perfect! Finally, sprinkle your chopped pistachios all over the cake and enjoy!

overhead shot of vegan cream cheese frosting being added to a cake layer
overhead view of a cake with frosting and chopped pistachios sprinkled on top

Tips for Making this Cake

  • To ensure the best result, use a kitchen scale to measure the flour and carrots. If you don’t have one, be sure to spoon the flour into the cups, so as not too overfill them as using too much flour would make the cake much drier.
  • Fresh carrots are ideal, but if you’re using pre-grated carrots and they’re on the drier side, you can increase the quantity to 3 cups (300g) and add them at the same time as the pistachios.
pistachio carrot cake

How to Store This Carrot Pistachio Cake

Store the cake in a large airtight container in the fridge. It’ll last for about 2-3 days, but itwill get denser each day and is best enjoyed the day you’re making it!

carrot pistachio cake slice

Notes: You can find additional recipe notes in the recipe card below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can i use larger cake pans instead?

Yes! You can use 9 inch pans. The baking time should remain the same, but be sure to test it with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the cakes are ready. If not, continue baking them for another 5 minutes. Just beware that the cake layers will be thinner.

Can i use maple Syrup for the Frosting instead of sugar?

Technically speaking, yes. However, the result won’t be firm enough to add a layer of frosting in-between the cake layers. Alternatively, you could turn this recipe into a one layer sheet pan cake. If you decide to make the frosting this way, I’d recommend omitting the vegan butter and instead just mixing about 1-2 cups of vegan cream cheese with a teaspoon of lemon juice and about 3 tablespoons of maple syrup per cup of cream cheese. To make it a little firmer, you can add 1 tablespoon of tapioca flour per cup of cream cheese.

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pistachio carrot cake - pistachio cake PIN

More Vegan Recipes You Might Like

Carrot Pistachio Cake – Recipe Card

Here’s the detailed recipe card for this Carrot Pistachio Cake. Be sure to read the full post above for additional recipe notes and storage tips.

carrot pistachio cake

Vegan Carrot Pistachio Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

5 from 2 votes
This carrot pistachio cake recipe, made entirely without eggs and dairy, is the perfect mix of fluffy and moist. Paired with a vegan, lemony buttercream & cream cheese frosting, it’s the perfect cake to make for birthdays or any other celebratory occasion. The Setton Farms Raw Pistachio Kernels add even more delicious flavor, as well as a bit of crunch!
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Cool time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8 slices

Ingredients

For the pistachio carrot cake

  • 3/4 cup soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chickpea flour
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 1/2 cups grated carrots (about 3 medium or 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sunflower oil (or other neutral vegetable oil)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves optional
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (187.5g)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/3 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 2.5 oz Setton Farms Raw Pistachio Kernels roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup 50g raisins or more if desired, optional
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut optional

For the Frosting (see notes)

  • 250 g powdered/icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold vegan butter, cubed (112.5g)
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice optional
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free cream cheese (60g/2oz)

For the topping/cake decoration

  • 1 batch Dairy free cream cheese frosting (see ingredients listed above)
  • 2.5 oz Setton Farms Raw Pistachio Kernels chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven & prep the cake forms and ingredients: Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC, then line two small (6-7 inch) round cake forms with parchment paper (tip: cutting the paper up and lining the bottom and sides of the form separately will allow for a less wrinkly result). Next, prepare the vegan buttermilk by mixing the soy milk and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl, then set aside. In another small bowl, mix the water and chickpea flour to form the vegan egg substitute, set aside. Peel the carrots and grate them using a food processor with a grating attachment (see notes).
  • Make the carrot cake batter: To a large mixing bowl, add the vegan buttermilk, grated carrots, chickpea “egg”, vanilla extract, oil, spices, flour (tip: sift it in to avoid clumps), baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Mix well using a spatula or wooden spoon. If the batter is very thick, let is rest for about 5 minutes to allow de moisture of the grated carrots to blend with the other ingredients. Finally, fold in the roughly chopped pistachios, raisins, and grated coconut.
  • Bake the cake layers: Pour equal amounts of the batter into each of the cake forms and bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean. While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting (see next step). Once the cake layers are ready, remove them from the oven and let them cool for at least 30 minutes.
  • Make the frosting: In a medium mixing bowl, cream the icing sugar and vegan butter using an electric mixer until very smooth (it’ll turn crumbly before it turns smooth). Next, add the lemon juice and pinch of salt. As you continue to mix, slowly add the cream cheese, little by little. Continue to mix until the frosting is perfectly smooth. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to decorate the cake. (See recipe tips below to adjust the firmness of the frosting).
  • Decorate the cake: After letting the cake layers cool, add the first layer to a plate, then top with a layer of frosting, distributing it evenly using a spatula or cake scraper. Add the second cake layer, then top with more frosting. Next, cover the sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Since you’ll be adding chopped pistachios, this doesn’t need to look perfect! Finally, sprinkle your chopped pistachios all over the cake and enjoy!

Equipment

2 6-7 inch cake forms (see notes)
Parchment paper (optional)
1 food processor with a grating attachment, or a cheese grater
1 An electric mixer (for the frosting)

Notes

  • The prep time is calculated based on using a food processor to grate the carrots. If you’re grating them by hand, you’ll need to add an additional 10 minutes to the prep time.
  • You can also use 9 inch cake forms, but that will make the layers a bit thinner (the baking time will remain the same).
  • Instead of lining the forms with parchment paper, you can also grease them using a little oil or vegan butter and then dusting it off with a little flour.
  • To make the cake fluffier, omit the grated coconut. To make it denser, double the amount.
  • To make the frosting firmer, increase the amount of powdered sugar and/or add 1-2tablespoons of tapioca starch. To make it softer, add a little more cream cheese.
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Disclaimer: This Recipe is sponsored by Setton Farms. All opinions expressed are our own.

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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Wow this cake is amazing must try ! Can I make it Glutenfree ? Needed help on the flour qty to be reduced for the same . Many thanks !
    Keep up the good work !! 💖

    1. Hi! You can use a 1:1 GF all purpose flour blend like the one from Bob’s Red Mill. We’re also currently working on a separate gluten-free version of this recipe, stay tuned:)

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