carrot coconut cake (vegan and fat-free!)

I know. A fat free cake. But wait.  I was very intrigued looking through Moosewood’s Book of Desserts because among melt in your mouth cookies and custards, here was this vegan fat free cake. How odd. and then I looked at the recipe and there was no apple sauce or banana or yogurt or egg whites and I was confused by how water and flour would make a cake.  Well, this recipe comes from a time when there were shortages on ingredients such as butter and eggs and this is what resulted.  Reminiscent of one-pan cake, which is also a “depression era” cake.

But, back to the cake at hand…my friend was coming over and was craving bundt cake.  I insisted that bundt is not a flavor of cake, it’s a shape of cake, but I said ok. I am running a race on Sunday and didn’t want anything too heavy, so I told her I had a cake recipe with just carrots, water, and flour, and she bravely suggested we try it.  So try it, we did.

We drizzled it in a cream cheese lemon glaze and topped it with lost of fluffy sweetened coconut flakes and took a little sliver.  It was crusty on the edges, chewy in the middle and quite delightful.  It tastes healthy, and if you want a light snack cake that will bring you some spice and sweetness, this is what you’ve been looking for.  No really, its kind of good!  We agreed it was much better than we could have expected. Almost- elegant?  Give it a whirl.

Fat-free Vegan Carrot Coconut Cake (from moosewood’s book of desserts)


2 cups packed grated carrots
1 cup shredded or flaked coconut (unsweetened)
1 ¾ cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 cups brown sugar

3 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cloves
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt

For the lemon cream cheese glaze:

Shredded sweetened coconut
4 oz vegan cream cheese (fat free if you want to continue the theme)
1 tsp lemon zest
2 Tbspns lemon juice
1 cup confectioners/powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 300 F

Oil and flour an 8-10 cup bundt pan

Bring the water, carrots, coconut, brown sugar, and vanilla to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for five minutes.  Then cover and remove from heat. Let it sit for at least an hour, preferably a few hours or overnight*

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices

Pour carrot mixture into the flour and stir until just combined

Bake for about an hour when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean

Make the glaze while the cake is baking:

Mix the zest and powdered sugar into the cream cheese using a fork.  Use a few tablespoons of lemon juice if you want to thin it to your desired thickness

Let cool in the pan for ten minutes and then invert onto a rack to cool to room temperature

*I only had time to let the mixture sit an hour and it turned out great! but it might be even better if you let it sit longer.

  1. light spice-based baked goods are like adorable thumb-only mittens.

  2. delicious!!!!!

  3. yum yum yum.. had to comment as we were trying to find this cake two weeks ago! had NO idea how much fat there was in a slice of carrot cake! hey ho birthdays been and gone but this looks like one to bookmark!

    love all your recipes.. and your blog is beautiful x

  4. thanks!

    and enjoy :)

  5. Wavatar Catherine Looke says:

    Excellent, those are mouth waterine! I’m excited to show you Burlington, VT!
    Much love and many hugs.

  6. liz, i love the design of your webpage and this bundt cake looks delicious and as healthy as can be! I will have to make it and feed it to the boys! how do you have time to do it all?

  7. I’ve been looking for a vegan coconut cake recipe and this one looks fantastic. Can’t wait to to try! Thanks for sharing.

  8. OMG. YUM!!!!!!!!

    Thanks for sharing!!!!

  9. Yummy! Your photos are gorgeous!
    I have a similar recipe for Coconut Carrot cake that I featured on my blog a few weeks ago. Mine, however, is not fat-free. It is vegan though, I replaced the milk with coconut milk, and used a mashed banana for the egg (+ Ener-G egg replacer). Over all it was the bomb!
    I love the cream cheese glaze you used, I did a coconut glaze using coconut miilk, powdered sugar, and a little crystallized ginger : )

  10. Wavatar pumpkinpie says:

    Wow! I love carrots and coconut, so I tried this recipe. It took 75 minutes to bake, but it was delicious without qualifications! I served it with a cardamom caramel sauce.

  11. The frosting IS NOT VEGAN! Cream cheese is from milk. You can call this recipe VEGETARIAN though.

  12. Hi paul,

    I used vegan cream cheese in the recipe. I edited the ingredients to reflect that. Thanks for letting me know!

  13. Mmmm….sounds good to me.
    P.S. I really want to leave a comment to see what kind of kitchen doodle will appear next to my name!!!


  1. Kirsty Bleyl says:

    [...] Coconut Cake–I totally made one. I used this recipe and it tasted good (good in a healthy way, not good in a traditional carrot cake [...]

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