Vegan Healthier Carrot Cake (with hidden wild herbs)

  reading time: 3 min

Bright yellow daffodils are popping up here in Northern Germany, the trees are starting to don their greenish spring coats, and the air is beginning to smell like pollen. And, of course, the first wild herbs like goutweed, dandelion and sorrel are spreading everywhere!

This carrot cake recipe is moist, wholesome, and packed with carrots, nuts, and aromatic spices. It came about because I wanted to create a healthier, but still absolutely delicious alternative to
my scrumptious easy vegan carrot cake with cream cheese frosting from last year. "Healthier" meaning three things in this case:

1) it contains significantly less sugar and less fat
2) it uses whole-grain flour and lots of carrots
3) and, most importantly for me personally, it comes with the benefits of hidden wild herbs!

What wild herbs, you ask?

This cake hides the young tender goutweed leaves, also known as ground elder
(Aegopodium podagraria). If you want to learn more about this herb, jump over to my recipe for vegan Dutch apple pie with goutweed flowers where I talk some more about its health benefits and also how to identify it (namely, using the 3 x 3 rule). For example, ground elder leaves can be confused with the young leaves of actual elder, which are poisonous!

The reason why I got the idea to put goutweed leaves in this cake is because their flavour is often described as similar to carrot greens. In this cake, the flavour of the ground elder is very subtle and barely noticeable.

To make this cake even healthier, feel free to skip the frosting!

VEGAN CARROT CAKE with hidden wild herbs

Preparation time: 1 h (+ cooling time)
Main ingredients: carrots, spelt flour, hazelnuts, sugar
difficulty level: easy
serves: 10-12 (1 bundt cake)
suitable for: vegan, lactose-free, wheat-free, yeast-free, egg-free


275 whole-grain spelt flour
125 g ground hazelnuts (I use a blender to grind them into flour; feel free to sub for ground almonds or even walnuts)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
, or more
contents of 1 cardamom pod, crushed

a pinch of salt (e.g. kala namak for that "eggy" taste)

150 g raw cane sugar or coconut blossom sugar
400 g carrots (about 4 medium-sized carrots)
125 g vegan margarine

4 tbsp soy flour + 4 tbsp water
2 handfuls of young goutweed leaves

optional topping:
1/4 of this vegan cream cheese frosting
edible flowers, e.g. daisies


Pre-heat oven to 180°C / 350°F.

Grease and flour a bundt cake pan. Set aside.

Prepare your "vegan eggs" by mixing 4 tablespoons of soy flour with 4 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Set aside.

Wash and finely grate the carrots, using a grater of a food processor. If using organic carrots, you can leave the skin on. If not, you may want to peel them first.

In a mixing bowl, beat the margarine and sugar until fluffy and lighter in colour. Add the "vegan eggs" and beat again.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: whole-grain spelt flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir well to combine, using an electric hand mixer or a stiff spatula. The batter will be relatively dense and moist.

Transfer the batter into the greased and floured bundt pan, and bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes at 180°C / 350°F.

When a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean, remove the cake from oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes minutes before gently inverting onto a cooling rack.

If you like, you can whip up a frosting (I used 1/4 of my vegan cream cheese frosting recipe from last year, and added a small spoonful of plain vegan yogurt to make it a little more runny), and garnish with edible flowers, such as daisies, dandelions or violets.