Cranberry-Carrot Cake from Vegan Holiday Kitchen--No Oil Version

Cranberry-Carrot Cake

This cake makes a nice change from pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, and its beautiful colors are perfect for a festive Christmas dessert.  I adapted the recipe from Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas, eliminating the small amount of oil in the original. Use her cream cheese frosting, if you like, or simply sprinkle with confectioners sugar for a very low-fat dessert.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Holiday, Vegan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 196 kcal
Author Nava Atlas


  • 8-10 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1/3 cup natural granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or white whole wheat flour)
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons aquafaba (liquid from canned or cooked chickpeas) or plant milk of choice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • Maple-Cream Cheese frosting optional (see recipe in Notes)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts optional
  • confectioners sugar optional


  1. Place the cranberries in a food processor fitted with the blade and pulse on and off until evenly and finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Add the sugar, stir well, and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, flaxseeds, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon. Stir to combine thoroughly.

  4. Make a well in the center and add the applesauce, syrup, aquafaba/plant milk, and vanilla. Stir until the wet and dry ingredients are completely combined, but don’t over mix.
  5. Stir the cranberries and carrots into the batter. Pour into a 9-inch round silicone cake pan. or lightly oiled springform pan (see headnote). Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

  6. If using the walnuts, toast them in a small dry skillet over medium heat until they brown lightly.
  7. Once the cake has cooled to room temperature, release from the pan if you’ve used a springform or other easy-to-release pan and spread the frosting over the top evenly, allowing it to drip over the sides. Otherwise, leave the cake in the pan and simply frost the top.

  8. (If you don't wish to use the frosting, you can sprinkle the top with confectioners sugar or just serve it plain.)

  9. Sprinkle evenly with the optional walnuts, then cut into wedges to serve.

Recipe Notes

Maple-Cream Cheese Frosting

Nava says, "I love this simple frosting on fruit- or vegetable-based baked goods, especially those containing carrots or pumpkin." Makes about 3/4 cup, enough to frost one average-sized cake

Combine the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until creamy and smooth. Use a flexible cake spatula to remove from the container. Spread on cakes or cupcakes once they’ve cooled to room temperature.

Nutritional information does not include frosting or walnuts.

Nutrition Facts
Cranberry-Carrot Cake
Amount Per Serving (1 piece, without frosting or walnuts)
Calories 196 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Sodium 153mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 45g 15%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars 21g
Protein 4g 8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.