This Carrot Cake Loaf is tender and moist with plump raisins, crunchy walnuts and a cashew cream frosting. You can enjoy this carrot bread for dessert or as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea!
I have a serious love for carrot cake and when it’s loaded with raisins and walnuts, I love it even more!
This carrot cake recipe is a little different than some. Instead of cream cheese frosting, I decided to go dairy-free and top it with a cashew cream frosting.
If you love a more traditional carrot cake, I highly recommend this small carrot cake recipe. It’s moist and tender with a rich cream cheese frosting. If you need a small batch spring or Easter dessert, this single layer 9-inch cake is for you!
For a single layer gluten-free carrot cake recipe, you’ll want to try this almond flour carrot cake!
Why you’ll love this carrot cake bread
- It’s a one-bowl recipe (except for the frosting).
- It’s healthier, made with whole wheat flour and coconut sugar.
- It’s super delicious, with a moist and tender crumb, and warm carrot cake spice.
- It’s vegan and dairy-free, made without dairy or eggs.
Details on the ingredients
For the carrot bread
Carrots – Grated carrots add sweetness but also create that classic moist and tender carrot cake texture.
Raisins – I used dark raisins but you can also use golden raisins.
Walnuts – You’ll want to use walnut pieces or chopped walnuts. You can also use walnut halves and just pulse them in your food processor to create pieces.
Whole wheat flour – I prefer to make breads and cakes with whole wheat flour to keep them a little healthier.
Coconut sugar – To sweeten the loaf and to add a little caramel colour and flavour.
Almond milk – This helps create a moist and tender cake. You can use another type of nut or seed milk or even dairy milk (for a non-dairy-free cake).
Oil – Extra virgin olive oil is my oil of choice.
Vanilla – To boost the flavour of the cake.
Baking soda – For leavening.
Salt – Just a little to enhance the flavour of the other ingredients.
Spices – I used ground cinnamon and a small amount of nutmeg to create the carrot cake spice flavour.
For the cashew cream frosting
Cashews – The base of the creamy frosting. You’ll want to use raw cashews that haven’t been salted or roasted.
Hot water – For soaking the cashews and to soften them up for blending.
Maple syrup – To sweeten the frosting.
Almond milk – You can use any kind of milk or even water. The liquid helps the cashews blend into a creamy texture.
Cinnamon – Just a little to flavour the frosting.
How to make carrot cake loaf
Grease a loaf pan and line it with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.
Add in the milk, oil, and vanilla extract, and stir together until the dry ingredients are mixed in.
Stir in the grated carrots, raisins and walnuts.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
How to make cashew cream frosting
Soak the cashews in hot water for 30 minutes.
Drain the water and add the cashews to a high powered blender or food processor. Add in the milk, maple syrup and cinnamon.
Blend on high until smooth and creamy. Store in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to firm up.
Frequently asked questions
I used a 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan and the bake time was between 55-60 minutes. You can also use a 9 x 5 inch or a 10 x 5 inch loaf pan. Just note that the loaf will bake a little quicker in wider pans.
The frosting has the best texture when made in advance and left to firm up in the refrigerator. So I recommend making it up to a day in advance. You can also bake the loaf a day or two in advance and store at room temperature but I would wait to frost it until just before serving or a few hours before.
I haven’t tested this loaf cake with any other type of flour. If you’re looking to substitute with white flour, you may need to test the quantity as a 1:1 substitution doesn’t always work with cakes since whole wheat flour absorbs more moisture than white flour.
Storage and freezing
If the loaf is unfrosted, it will last 3-4 days in an airtight container at room temperature. Once it’s frosted, you’ll want to store it in the refrigerator and enjoy it within 2-3 days.
You can freeze the unfrosted loaf for up to 3 months. Just let it cool completely, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer. Defrost the loaf in the refrigerator or at room temperature before frosting. You can also enjoy it as is without the frosting.
Recipe tips and substitutions
- I finely grated the carrots with the small holes on my box grater. This resulted in the carrot really baking into the loaf, which deepened the colour of the loaf but also meant the flecks of carrot were not visible in the loaf. If you want the flecks to be visible, just use the bigger holes on your box grater to grate the carrot.
- To change things up, you can leave out the raisins and/or walnuts, or you can substitute with other dried fruit and nuts.
- If you don’t have coconut sugar, you can substitute with another type of sugar such as cane, granulated or brown sugar.
- To get the cashew frosting as creamy as possible, I recommend using a high-powered blender or food processor. If the cashew cream seems too thick and you’re having trouble blending it, just add a little bit more almond milk. Be careful not to add too much as the frosting may end up runny.
- Please don’t skip the step of refrigerating the frosting for a few hours or overnight. When the cashew cream is first blended together, it will be a little soft. Refrigerating it will give it a chance to firm up and reach a spreadable consistency.
- If you don’t need this cake to be vegan or dairy-free, feel free to use a traditional cream cheese frosting.
- To keep it dairy-free and vegan, you can use a whipped coconut cream instead of cashew cream, or you can enjoy the loaf cake without any frosting.
More carrot cake recipes
If you make this carrot cake loaf, please leave a comment and rating below to let me know how it turned out!Print
Carrot Cake Loaf is tender and moist with plump raisins, crunchy walnuts and a cashew cream frosting. You can enjoy this carrot bread for dessert or as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea!
For the frosting:
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup hot water
- 4 tablespoons almond milk
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the loaf:
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup finely grated carrot
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup walnut pieces
For the frosting:
- Soak the cashews in hot water for 30 minutes.
- Drain the water and add the cashews to a high powered blender or food processor along with the almond milk, maple syrup and cinnamon. Blend on high until smooth and creamy.
- Cover and store in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to firm up.
For the loaf:
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
- Add in the milk, oil, and vanilla, and stir together until the dry ingredients are well incorporated.
- Stir in the grated carrots, raisins and walnuts.
- Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Let cool for a few minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Spread the frosting over the cooled cake and top with crusted walnuts (optional).
- Store in the refrigerator and enjoy within 2-3 days.
- The bake time depends on the size of your loaf pan. I used a 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan and the bake time was 55-60 minutes. If you use a 9 x 5 inch or a 10 x 5 inch loaf pan, you will need to reduce the bake time slightly.
- To get the cashew frosting as creamy as possible, I recommend using a high-powered blender or food processor. If the frosting seems too thick, just add a little bit more milk. Be careful not to add too much as the frosting may become runny.
- Please don’t skip the step of refrigerating the cashew cream frosting for a few hours or overnight. When the frosting is first blended together, it will be a little soft. Refrigerating it will give it time to firm up and reach a spreadable consistency.
- The total recipe time includes time to soak the cashews and for the frosting to firm up.
- Be sure to check out the other sections above the recipe card for more detailed advice and suggestions for making this recipe.
Keywords: carrot cake bread, carrot loaf