Vegan Banana Carrot Bread with Cashew Cream Cheese Icing
Vegan Banana Carrot Bread with Cashew Cream Cheese Icing- banana replaces egg in this recipe for a lighter take on carrot cake with irresistible flavor. Whole grain, refined sugar-free and dairy-free!
Do you ever wonder how all of the American holiday traditions began?
Like the Easter Bunny. I’m pretty sure he had nothing to do with the origin of Easter yet somehow he became the main icon for the holiday, along with dying eggs and eating copious amounts of candy. Isn’t interesting how religious holidays have evolved to modern day times?
These are the things I think about.
I haven’t died eggs in over 20 years (yup, I’m that old) but I still make a point to eat carrot cake every year. Because let’s be real, even though I associate Easter with getting sick on sugar cookies, carrot cake will always be the real star of the show.
I do have a bangin’ recipe for a gluten-free Carrot Cake on my site but it’s nothing of the vegan variety. Which we need. Obviously.
So this version features pure maple syrup to sweeten, banana as the binder, and whole grain spelt flour for extra nutrition. I tried to make it gluten-free with a combo of sorghum and almond flour but the results weren’t nearly as good. However, you could probably use your favorite gluten-free all purpose flour in place of the spelt flour.
Side note: because the banana acts as the main binder and they can vary in size, I recommend mashing it in a measuring cup to assure that you have a full 1/2 cup for the recipe.
The resulting flavor is just like carrot cake with a hint of banana and it tastes amazing with the cashew cream cheese icing. No one will ever never know it’s made without dairy or refined sugar!
Vegan Banana Carrot Bread with Cream Cheese Icing
Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 15
Cook Time: 45
Total Time: 1 hour
- 1 and 1/2 cups spelt flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
- 1 and 1/2 cup shredded carrots (about 4 large carrots)
- 1/2 cup mashed banana (about 1 large banana)
- 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
Cashew Cream Cheese Icing
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked*
- juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup, see notes)
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1-3 tablespoons non-dairy milk
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F then lightly grease a loaf pan.
In a large bowl, combine the spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, coconut, and chopped nuts. Sift together. Add the shredded carrots to the bowl (without stirring) then set aside.
In the bowl of a blender, combine the banana, pure maple syrup, vanilla extract and milk. Blend on high until smooth. Alternatively, you can mash the banana by hand and combine the ingredients in a bowl. Try to get it as smooth as possible if not using a blender.
Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry. Add the melted coconut oil last then stir everything together just until combined. Transfer the batter to the loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes.
Meanwhile make the icing by combining all of the ingredients (starting with just 1 tablespoon milk) in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides in between blending. Add more milk, as needed, to thin and more salt or sweetener as desired.
Allow the loaf to cool for 30 minutes to an hour. Once cool, spoon the frosting on top. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and coconut, and enjoy!
*Soak cashews in a large bowl covered with a few inches of water for at least 6 hours or up to overnight. For a faster option: boil a pot of water, remove it from the heat and add the cashews to soak for 30 minutes. Strain excess water and rinse before adding to the blender. Depending on the size of your blender container, you may have to double the recipe to get it to blend properly.
**1/4 cup lemon juice might be overpowering for some. If you think that might be the case for you, try starting with 1 teaspoon at a time and tasting it as you continue to blend.
Did you try this recipe? Please let me know how it turned out by leaving a comment below or sharing a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #makingthymeforhealth. I love hearing your feedback!
This sounds delicious! I’m super intrigued by the cashew icing– so creative!
Wish it was gulten free but still looks so good.
Sorry, Sherry! I tried several times to make it gluten-free but it didn’t work out. It would need starches or gums to hold together properly and I tried to avoid those in my baking.
However, if you are only sensitive to gluten, spelt flour might be a good option for you to try as it’s an ancient grain that’s much lower in gluten than modernized wheat.
I used quinoa flour and it turned out great!
OMG, I’m so with you on holidays. They’ve become commercial over the top… just the other day I saw people at the store with bags of plastic (PLASTIC) easter eggs. I wonder what happened to last year’s plastic eggs? Anyway… I’ll stop there. This carrot bread with cashew cream cheese icing looks over the top! And the spelt flour is a nice addition, Sarah. I’ve been seeing this cashew icing around the interwebs, and because it seems you can make just about anything out of cashews, I know I need to give it a go. Delicious work with my dear! :D
Fuck. yes.!! Carrot cake is my soul sister and this recipe looks perfect!! That cashew cream cheese icing is where it’s at, and you just reminded me it’s been forever since I’ve baked with spelt.
The Easter bunny thing…holidays in general are really weird to me. The merit I see in them is having traditions to carry out through the years with friends and family, but the intent behind the holidays are pretty much lost on me. But hey, Easter brings all the carrot cake goodies, so there is that.
I need to bake this loaf! xo
No need for the filthy language. What on earth is wrong with you?
I personally love this recipe and love “foul language” so thank you for this comment! Fuck yeaaaah healthy carrot cake banana bread.
I LOVE carrot cake. Definitely need to give this a try! What kind of dairy free milk did you use? I have coconut (not canned) at home but wasn’t sure if it would mess with the flavor? Thanks!
Hi Elyse! I used soy milk but coconut milk should work fine. Let me know if you give a try! :)
This is a new favorite!! I’ve made it a few times already, using coconut milk every time & making the mixture into 12 muffins. My husband keeps requesting it! Thanks for such an amazing recipe :)
Does this recipe work with oat flour?
Hey Shirley! I haven’t tried it with oat flour but I think it would work okay. However, if you’re not allergic to gluten (just sensitive) spelt flour may be a good option to try. It’s an ancient grain that’s much lower in gluten than modernized wheat. :)
I love the traditions surrounding Easter (like the Easter bunny, candy, etc), but as a Christian, it’s all about celebrating the resurrection of Christ! It’s my favorite holiday of the year for that reason :)
Oh my goodness, this bread looks so delicious! I’m usually not even a carrot cake/bread person, but seeing a lot of Easter-ish baked goods with carrots lately, I’m craving it. I find that our tastebuds change, so I might be a carrot baked goods person now… I should just make this & see right?!! :)
Would baking it an 8×8 pan or 8 inch round work in place of a loaf pan? Thinking baking time might need to be adjusted!?
Thank you for sharing such a delicious sounding recipe!
Hey Dona! I think that would work fine. It will probably cook faster so I’d check it around 30 minutes, unless you smell it “finish” sooner.
Oh my goodness this looks amazing and I’m definitely making this for our Easter get together. I do have a question though—-how long can I store this in the refrigerator?
Thank you for this recipe and your blog LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!
Thanks Elizabeth! It lasted about 3 days but I kept it at room temperature. I hope you have a wonderful Easter!
Ooh I love carrot cake. Mostly I love the frosting, haha, but the whole combo is good too. Modern holiday traditions are a little weird if you take a step back and look at them as if you haven’t been used to it your whole life. It’s no wonder most babies and little kids are freaked out by the Easter Bunny and Santa at first!
The cashew icing looks so creamy and delicious!
It’s not Easter without some type of carrot cake, muffin, or bread! This is a beauty Sarah, and I love that you added banana to the mix! Hope you have a wonderful Easter!
Thank you, Marcie! I hope you have a nice Easter as well!
CASHEW CREAM CHEESE ICING looks delicious. I would love to try this weekend. Thanks for this article.
Thanks Bernice! :)
This looks amazing! If I wanted to make it into cupcakes (12), how many minutes would you suggest I keep it in the oven? Thanks!
Thanks Linny! I would suggest checking them around 22-30 minutes. I hope that helps! :)
I was thinking of trying muffins too! I’m curious if you tried it & how it turned out?
SO GOOD! Thanks for sharing!!!
Yay! I’m so happy you liked it, Jennifer. Thanks for the feedback! :)
This is perfection!! Carrot cake is one of my all time favorites and I love that you made a healthier vegan version! I have to admit that I did dye eggs a few years ago and I can’t wait to do it again when Eli gets old enough! I have no idea why people do that for Easter though, haha! I hope you had a fun one :)
Hi! I’m a novice baker and recently made a big shift in my eating habits. This recipe looks perfect to try! Is there anything to consider at a high altitude? I’m about to move to 7000ft for the summer and I’ve always read that baking is different at altitude than at sea level. Thanks!
Hey Samantha! I’m not familiar with baking at high altitudes but I found an article here that might be of help: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html
I think this recipe should be pretty forgiving but I wouldn’t know for sure without testing it myself. I hope it works out for you!
Can I use coconut flour in places of the spelt flour? If so, how much do I use? I bought a bag of it and want to put it to use!
Hi Iva! Unfortunately coconut flour is entirely different from other flours and cannot be substituted in this recipe. I would try doing a dedicated Google search for coconut flour banana bread or carrot cake if that is what you are looking for.
Omg! Congrats for your recipe!!!
I cant believe its so tasty and moist and fluffy! Best recipe for carrot cake!!!
For stevia users:
I used 1/4 of honey and about 35 drops of liquid stevia!
I’m so glad you like it! Thanks Angela!
Hi Sarah.. I have just come across your vegan carrot cake recipe which looks wonderful. I want to make it and I am wondering if it could be frozen..I won’t have time to make it on the weekend that I want it for so would like to make it the weekend before and freeze it. I wouldn’t freeze the cashew cream cheese frosting.
Hi Barbara! I haven’t tried freezing it but my suspicion is that it would work fine. Please let me know if you give it a try!
With the pandemic in place I need to use what i have on hand. I have everything except spelt flour. I looked through the comments and the notes to see if All purpose could be used in place of the spelt…. thanks.
Yes it can!
Thanku for your quick reply Sarah.. I will let you know how it goes..
I made this as a 2 layer cake for a dinner with some friends and everyone loved it.
Sounds amazing! Thanks for the feedback, Elisabeth!
Hello, I don’t have the raw cashews on hand. What substitute would you recommend? This is for my first grandbabies bday. He has dairy and soy intolerance. Thanks for the great receipe and your time!
Hi Marilyn! I don’t know of any other replacement than cashews. You might try to search for a different icing recipe and just use this one for the cake.
I added raisins and since my husband can’t have dairy or cashews, I made an orange cardamon glaze. Absolutely delicious !!! Thank-you for sharing this wonderful recipe!
Oh my, an orange cardamom glaze sounds incredible!
I just made yourr carrot banana bread recipe, the recipe called for ginger but didn’t say fresh or powdered so I grated fresh, also the recipe saod to mix the flour, baking powder and things togethwr but said to sift them all together and I wasn’t sure if you meany sift the coconut and nuts too so I jist miced everything together without sifting, if it doesn’t rise as high I will know for next time
Hi Mildred, it is meant to be ground ginger so it gets mixed with dry ingredients!
This bread is SUPERB!!!
I always tend to loosely follow recipes and this was no exception…although I admit to following this one much more closely than any other recipe.
I used a blend of coconut and buckwheat flours, added in chopped dates, extra carrots, extra extra pecans and a little extra maple syrup, milk and vanilla extract (as the batter became a bit too sticky to work with) . Baked absolutely perfectly in about 42 minutes…simply spectacular, entirely LOVE this recipe!!!
I’m so glad to hear it worked with your changes. Thank you for the review!
I just made this and it came out pretty good, I haven’t had carrot cake since I’ve been vegan and was excited to try this one but sadly I have to admit it was not as good as others but it also may be because I didn’t make the icing I just ate it plain. The main issue is that i continuously put a toothpick to check if it was ready and it kept coming out with bits of batter meaning it was raw. I kept adding time but the toothpick kept coming out the same way. It got to the point where I had baked it way past the time the recipe called for so I just took it out and hoped that as it cooled it would get tougher. I didn’t cut it until the next day and luckily it worked, the loaf was not raw but the bottom part was kind of tough I guess because I overbaked it. The taste was pretty good but didn’t really taste that much like carrot cake and it kind of had a weird after taste although it’s not too noticeable. However my family still ate it and enjoyed it.
Sorry to hear you had trouble with the recipe, Elizabeth. Cooking time will always vary depending on your oven. It’s possible you took it out too early. Also, repeatedly opening the oven causes it to lose heat which will ultimately extend the cooking time.
As far as the flavor, this recipe is not intended to be a carrot cake. It is a banana carrot bread- kind of a fusion between banana bread and carrot cake. Either way, I’m glad your family enjoyed it!
I am lactose and egg intolerant so was keen to try out this recipe but I’m super disappointed with the result :( The bread is quite dense and raw in a lot of places even though I cooked it for double the time suggested (because every time I checked with a skewer it came out wet). Even after the long cooking time it was still not coming out dry so I had to cut my losses. Not sure where I went wrong!!
Hi Phoebe, Did you give the loaf time to cool completely before testing it after my suggested cook time? If not, it might seem wet but it really just needs to time to set. If you doubled the time then it was definitely overcooked. Sorry you had trouble!
Thank you for your reply – I left it for almost two hours to cool before icing (which was delicious by the way!!) but since I cooked it for way too long it makes sense why it never turned out properly. I’ll give it another go and see whether or not it works :)
This recipe looks amazing! Do you use fresh ginger and chop it up or do you use ginger powder?
Sorry for the confusion, Renate! I use ground ginger (powder). Thank you for pointing that out!
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I haven’t made cake of any kind since becoming vegan, but I might just try this one out! It looks delicious!
But, since you wonder about the Easter bunny, I can tell you that he has a lot more to do with the origin of the holiday than you would think! Well, maybe not the mascot himself, but rabbits in general, as well as eggs. Easter was originally the pagan celebration of the arrival of spring and named after the goddess of fertility (aka Ishtar, Astarte, Esther, etc.). Rabbits and eggs were the symbols of the goddess (for obvious reasons), and these symbols managed to survive, along with the name, when the holiday was adopted and repurposed by the early Christian church (well, most of them) to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, which had happened around the same time of year.
So, now you know. :)
So interesting! Thanks for sharing, Amanda! :)
Made this for my B-day recently. I tweaked the recipe a bit and substituted the maple syrup with some dates, the pecans with walnuts (since I had both on hand), added some flax seeds and about a cup of oats and some water. Even the non-vegans loved it ^^ should have made a second one. Great, great recipe!
I’m so glad to hear it worked out with your substitutions! Thanks for the feedback, Lizzy!
Wow! I just stumbled across this looking for ways to use up some carrots and I’m glad I did. I just made this and it’s amazing! Super moist! I need to find a place that sells cashews at a reasonable price before I make the glaze. You don’t need it though! It’s so good! Thanks!!
Your banana carrot cake looks so scrumptious! I have to try! I love your food photography too. May I ask wich filter you used. I’m desperately trying to find that filter wich makes the orange so vibrant. Somebody told me VSCO Agfa 400 and I tried it on the VSCO app for mobile devices, but it wasn’t the right thing.
Would be great if you could give me some advice.
Greetings from Germany, Pat
I use VSCO Ektar 100 but that’s in Lightroom. I’m not sure if it’s available on mobile devices or not. I hope that helps! :)
hey Sarah, thank you so much for your reply. Yes, I was planning to use the filter in Lightroom…I‘ve only tried some VSCO on the app for free to check it out before I decide wich package I‘ll buy. I hesitated because it’s pretty expensive and most of the rest I will probably never use anyway. So thank you very much for your tip, that’s so kind. Keep up the great work! Much love, Pat
Yes, I had a hard time deciding as well. I bought package 5 and the options are pretty good but I’ve heard great things about the other ones as well. Such a tough decision. Best of luck to you!
This looks delicious! I found it while searching for the vegan cream cheese frosting recipe. I am trying to eat lower fat, do you think this bread would turn out using apple sauce instead of the oil?
thank you for sharing!
Hi Cathy! I haven’t tried replacing the oil with applesauce so I can’t say for sure. I worry it might change the texture a bit but it could still be good. Please let me know if you give it a try!
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Hi, this is my second time making this recipe. It’s delicious and everyone enjoyed it! I would like to know if the cashew frosting can be stored in the refrigerator? Thanks.
Yes it can! You can store it on it’s own for up to 5 days if sealed in a container. :)
This Banana Carrot Bread was delicious! As was the cashew cream cheese icing! Thank you! I did want to ask- my icing was not as white as yours pictured. It tasted delicious, but was more of a creamy color. Did I not blend it long enough? Thank you!
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An awesome recipe!!!The cake came out very soft with the right texture and sweetness.I substituted 1/2 cup spelt with flour with quinoa.would def be making this again!!!
Ah, just made a double batch this morning and so glad I did! It’s so delicious!
I substituted tahini for the coconut oil and honey for the syrup. Also used canned coconut milk. Added the nuts, coconut and chopped dates. No frosting needed.
I thank you and my family thanks you for all you tasty recipes. We couldn’t live a day without them!
You’re too kind, Karen! Thank you so much for all of your wonderful reviews. :)
Thanks for another great recipe! This was delish! I modified it slightly by substituting the coconut oil with 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce and lowered the maple syrup also to 1/3 cup. I grated the carrot in the food processor on the fine grate blade then chopped them with a knife to make them smaller bits. I also did cover the loaf half way with aluminum foil and left it in the oven turned off for an additional 10 minutes to be sure the middle was cooked and it turned out perfect. I used a silicone loaf pan. For the icing this is personal preference but I would caution with starting out with a whole juiced lemon, maybe mine was just a big juicy one but it was overpowering. Next time I will start with adding 1 tsp and tasting before adding more. I did “fix” it by adding 1/8 tsp baking soda and an additional Tbsp maple syrup and it was delicious.
Thanks so much for the feedback, Dianna! I’ll be sure to make note of that for the lemon juice in the icing so that others can avoid that problem.
hi! can i use regular all purpose flour in this instead of spelt?
Yes that will work!
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Hi Sarah, I made the cashew cream cheese icing, it Definitely had nice flavor. But not sure what I did wrong, it certainly didn’t look like yours. My icing was an off white color and was gritty, not smooth. I used a high power Professional ninja blender. Any tips for me?
Hi Maria- sorry you didn’t have good results. I don’t think the Ninja is near as good as a Vitamix or a NutriBullet. That’s likely why yours was so gritty.
This is my absolute favorite recipe!! I’ve made it so many times in my house hold, everyone loves it. Thank you for sharing.
I accidentally forgot the milk and thought I totally ruined it and it turned out perfectly! I’ve had some bad luck in the past with mushy loaves in n the inside but not this time! Is this a surprise?
Hey, Can you substitute the banana with anything? A friend of mine is allergic to bananas.
Hi! Sometimes you can get away subbing applesauce or pumpkin puree but I haven’t tested it so I can’t say for sure. You might want to try searching for a banana-free recipe so that you don’t have to experiment!
Followed this recipe exactly and it is wonderful..moist and delicious. Keep in mind the cashew cream cheese icing will be a little brown in colour if you opt to add cinnamon. I added the cinnamon and loved it. The next time I will make two loaves and double the icing as it will be easier to mix it in my Vitamix with double quantity.
Thank you so much for the review, Rebecca! I’m not sure if you have a NutriBullet but I find that works better for smaller quantities like this recipe. But it’s always good to have extra to share! :)
So good! I’ve made cashew cream icing before, but none tasted near as good as this. I didn’t have 6 hours to soak the cashews so boiled water and poured over them and allowed to soak for about an hour or two. I also didn’t have lemons on hand, but used a tiny bit of apple cider vinegar instead and it was delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe.
I’m so glad to hear that! Thank you!