These raw carrot cake bites with cashew cream cheese frosting are vegan, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free for a wholesome and delicious dessert everyone can enjoy. A fan-favorite, I think you're going to love them.
Today we are going to explore the world of RAW desserts.
Back when I started this blog, I became a bit of a raw dessert connoisseur. Raw desserts can be a bit intimidating for beginners. I know this first hand; I used to be terrified of them. However, as anyone will tell you, they are surprisingly simple to make.
In 2012 I started experimenting with raw desserts and I was amazed at how a few simple ingredients could create endless flavor combinations with the most decadent and delicious tastes and textures. Better yet, there is quite a lot of room for trial and error since you can test and taste as you go. This is obviously different than most baking allowing even beginners to make incredible raw desserts.
Throughout the years, my raw desserts have been some of my most popular recipes. Such as:
- Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake Bars
- Mint Chocolate Ice Cream
But my most popular raw dessert recipe to date (and the 2nd most popular recipe on this blog next to my vegan blueberry muffins) are these Raw Carrot Cake Bites. Made with a base of walnuts, carrots, and dates, these cake bites are packed with flavor and nutrients for a dessert we can feel GREAT about biting into.
Recommended Ingredients and Equipment
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Medjool Dates - Make sure to use Medjool dates over regular dates; they are juicier and sweeter than normal dates giving this cake both a deliciously moist texture while sweetening naturally.
- Unsweetened Shredded Coconut - This is sometimes called desiccated coconut. Make sure to use unsweetened.
- Spices - You will need a blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt
- Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting - This is a combination of raw cashews, raw agave nectar, vanilla extract, lemon juice, salt, and coconut oil.
For this recipe, I highly recommend a Vitamix. These blenders can be pricy, but my Vitamix is, by far, the most used gadget in my kitchen. Most other blenders are simply not powerful enough to create a cream out of cashews.
You will also need an 8x8 baking pan, a food processor, an offset spatula, and a sharp knife. (<<affiliate links)
Check out the full list of my recommended kitchen tools and gadgets.
How to make Raw Carrot Cake Bites
Like I said earlier, raw desserts can be quite simple to make. There is a lot more room for trial and error and there is a seemingly endless combination of flavors and textures with just a handful of basic ingredients.
Step One - Shred the Carrots
By hand or in your food processor, shred the carrots. You want 2 ½ cups of shredded carrots for this recipe which is about 3 large carrots.
Step Two - Carrot Cake Base
To make the carrot cake, start by blending together the dates and walnuts in your food processor. Blend them until the walnuts and dates have broken down into a uniform crumb; it should sticks together when pressed between your fingers.
Once we have our base, we add the carrots, coconut, spices, and salt. Process again until all the ingredients are well incorporated into a uniform cake.
At this point the cake base will be quite soft; it sets up in the freezer. Transfer the cake to a prepared cake pan and freeze.
Step Three - Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting
To make the cream cheese frosting, throw everything into the blender, liquids first, except the coconut oil. Blend until silky smooth and then, with the motor running, slowly add the coconut oil until it is completely incorporated.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have a high-powered blender, you can soak the cashews for about 6 hours ahead of time and they will blend up fairly well.
Step Four - Frost the Cake
The cream cheese frosting will be quite pourable at this point. Pour it onto your chilled cake. Using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top then wrap the cake plastic wrap and freeze for at least 2 hours to let the cake set up.
Serving and Storing
Serving - Keep the cake in the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving. When you are ready to serve, pull the carrot cake out and let it thaw 10-20 minutes (depending on how frozen it is) before slicing. Slice with a sharp hot knife, cleaning it off between each use for clean cuts. The cake should be served immediately. It will soften if left out too long at room temperature.
Storing - The uneaten cake should be stored in the freezer. Tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and store it for up to 2 months.
More Raw Dessert Recipes
- Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake Bars
- Mint Chocolate Ice Cream
- Coconut Cream Pie
- 3-Ingredient Pecan Pie Tartlets
Raw Carrot Cake Bites
- 2 ½ cup shredded carrots, about 3-4 large carrots
- 1 ½ cup raw walnuts
- 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch of salt
Cashew Cream Frosting
- 1 cup raw cashews
- ¼ cup water
- 3 tablespoon maple syrup or raw agave nectar*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- juice of ½ lemon
- pinch of salt
- ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
- walnuts and extra cinnamon, for finish
- Line an 8x8 baking dish (or equally sized pan) with parchment paper letting the edges hang over the sides of the pan.
- By hand or with a food processor using the grating attachment, shred the carrots. Place them in a large bowl and set aside. Clean out the food processor and switch to the blade attachment. Blend together the walnuts and dates into a uniform crumb; it should sticks together when pressed between your fingers. Add carrots, coconut, spices, and salt and blend again, scraping down the sides as needed, until the carrots are fully incorporated.
- Press the cake into the prepared pan, smooth over the top, and place in the freezer while making the cream cheese frosting.
- To make the cream cheese frosting, combine cashews, water, agave nectar or maple syrup, vanilla, salt, and lemon juice in a high-powered blender. Blend until silky smooth. Add coconut oil and blend to combine. Pour onto the chilled cake and smooth the top. Cover in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 2 hours.
- When ready to serve, remove the cake from the freezer. To release it from the pan, pull up the sides of the parchment paper. Top with walnuts and dust with cinnamon. Let it thaw 10 minutes at room temperature.
- With a hot, sharp knife cut cake into 2 x 2-inch pieces. If the cake is very frozen, let it thaw an additional 15 minutes before serving.
Absolutely amazing and easy to make!!! The frosting is to die for!
Natalie Baker says
This was really easy to make and SO delicious!! I followed the recipe as-is, and these came out perfectly. I can't wait to play around with the recipe. Thank you for sharing!
Melinda Muyargas says
This was a hit for our New Year's lunch! Thanks!
Chelsea Rager says
Sara, this recipe is CLASSIC! All the flavors you could want in the right portions. I’m used to sticking with the crowd and only try recipes with large numbers of reviews.. just because I get scared to mess up and if a lot of people have made it, I feel safer lol. I’m SO glad I was mysteriously inspired to try yours because it’s going to be around in my kitchen for a while, maybe forever. Thank you!
This was an amazing dessert. I used regular whole dates as the supermarket didn't have mejool today when I went. I think it turned out great, I wonder how moist it would have been if I had used the correct dates! Not having a high powered blender was a bit cumbersome as I was scraping the sides way more than I would have wanted and then gave up and just used the batter a bit chunkier. Its still very good. I love the frosting!
Madeleine Raphael says
Delicious recipe! And easy! I used organic cashew butter instead of raw cashews as I could not find. I’m planning a family dinner and wondering how far ahead I can make this dessert and leave in freezer?
Renee S says
Hi! I was looking for your vegan carrot cake recipe but it’s no longer on the site. Can you direct me to it?
Sarah McMinn says
It's back up! https://www.mydarlingvegan.com/vegan-gluten-free-carrot-cake/
Lisa Arseneau says
I'd like to know about substituting coconut as well...
Sorry if this is a stupid question. Do the dates need soaking first?
Not if they are Medjool dates.
Sounds delicious and easy enough to make.
My daughter is allergic to nuts. Is there any other way to make the cake without the walnuts and cashew nuts?
Unfortunately no. Pretty much all raw desserts rely heavily on nuts.
I substitute the nuts for pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds!
Hello, can I sub the agave for coconut sugar since I cannot eat it. thanks!
Julia Rodriguez says
Wow!!! Your carrot cake recipe is absolutely delicious! Super addicting.... I am in love with the cashew cream frosting– great icing on the cake 😉
michelle boyer says
I can’t wait to make these! And share this recipe! I have made your Blueberry Muffins~ to die for. Passed that recipe along too!! Thank you so much!! God bless too 😀
I don’t like coconut is there something I could substitute or should I leave it out?
My son is anaphylactic to cashews, is there another type of nut I could substitute to make the icing?
Macadamia nuts would work.
Are dates the ONLY fruit that is ever used in recipes? I don't like them and feel I miss out on so many good recipes because of that. Is there anything else one could use as a substitute?
check out raw kristina’s colorful cupcakes ... i’m sure you could use more dried mulberries and maybe a few dates for the stinky consistency (and you’ll never taste them!)
verry delicious cake and specially the cream
I made this yesterday!!! And it was amazing! My partner loves it very much! 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing The recipe . 🙂
So glad to hear that!
Can I use honey or maple syrup instead of dates? And how much? Thank u!
I'm sure you could but I haven't tried it with the liquid sweeteners so I don't know how much. I would try about 1/2 and see if that texture works. Let us know how it goes!