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Carrot Cake with Watercress & Cream Cheese Frosting

Serves: 8

Ready in: 60 mins +

Gluten Free‏ Vegan Friendly

Know your nutrients

878 -
42.2g -
13.4g -
100.4g -
0.41g -
7.8g -
118.6g -
4.5g -
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Looking for an impressive addition to your dessert table or simply as a tea-time treat? A delicious vegan cream cheese icing completes this stunning layered carrot cake, which also happens to be gluten-free! This version has been decorated with edible flowers and chopped nuts, but you could add your own toppings if you'd like.

Carrot Cake with Watercress & Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe: Veggie


For the cake:

3 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp white vinegar
80ml rapeseed oil, plus a little extra to grease the cake tins
60ml golden syrup
235g apple sauce (preferably unsweetened)
200ml non-dairy milk (such as soy milk)
100g dark brown soft sugar
50g caster sugar
160g carrot, grated
a pinch of salt
1½ tsp baking soda
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
170g ground almonds
150g gluten-free flour
30g walnuts, chopped
30g raisins

For the icing:

100g vegan butter (a hard block is better for this than a spreadable tub)
1 x tub vegan cream cheese
500g icing sugar, sieved
30g watercress, finely chopped

To decorate (optional):

edible flowers
chopped nuts


  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Prepare three 15cm loose-based cake tins by brushing the insides with rapeseed oil, and placing a circle of greaseproof paper in the bottom of each.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the baking soda and vinegar, then add in the rapeseed oil, apple sauce, oat milk, sugars and golden syrup, and mix well. Add in the grated carrot and stir thoroughly.
  • In a separate bowl, sieve together the salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ground almonds and gluten-free flour. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet, ensuring they are fully incorporated, then add in the chopped walnuts and raisins, and stir through.
  • Divide the mix equally between the three cake tins. Bake for 40 minutes before inserting a skewer or knife into the centre of each cake. If the skewer comes out clean, then the cakes are baked, otherwise return the tins to the oven and check again after five more minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes before carefully removing the cakes from the tins. Once removed, allow the cakes to cool completely before icing them.
  • To make the icing, take the cream cheese out of the fridge one hour before using it, so that it is slightly softer, and ensure that your vegan butter is soft, too. Use an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment to beat the butter until smooth.
  • Add in the cream cheese and beat on a low speed until fully combined. You may need to stop the machine and scrape down the sides before beating again to ensure that everything is fully mixed. Be careful not to beat on too high of a speed as the mixture may split.
  • Add in the icing sugar, then beat on a medium speed until combined fully, before stirring through the chopped watercress.
  • Once your cakes are cooled completely, use the icing to cover each layer before stacking, finishing with a thick layer of icing on top. Add fresh edible flowers and/or chopped nuts, to decorate, if using.
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