Carrot Cake with Watercress & Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe courtesy of Watercress.

Carrot Cake with Watercress & Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake with Watercress & Cream Cheese Frosting (vegan and gluten free).

The classic smooth cream cheese filling of carrot cake is given a kick with the addition of watercress.

It complements the sweetness of the carrot cake and nutty texture of the nuts.

It could be one for the Mad Hatter but don’t tell your mother that!

Carrot Cake with Watercress & Cream Cheese Frosting (vegan and gluten free):

Serves 8

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

For The Cake:

3 tsp baking soda

3 tbsp white vinegar

80ml rapeseed oil plus a little extra to grease cake tins

60ml golden syrup

235g apple sauce (preferably unsweetened)

200ml non-dairy milk (we used soy milk)

100g dark brown soft sugar

50g caster sugar

160g grated carrot

1.5 tsp baking soda

Pinch of salt

1.5 tsp baking powder

170g ground almonds

1.5 tsp ground cinnamon

150g gluten free flour (we used Dove’s)

30g chopped walnuts

30g raisins

For The Icing:

100g vegan butter (we used Naturli, a hard block which is better for this than a spreadable tub)

1 tub vegan cream cheese

500g icing sugar, sieved

30g watercress, finely chopped

To Decorate (optional):

Edible flowers such as violas and primulas

Chopped nuts

Carrot Cake with Watercress & Cream Cheese Frosting Method:

1.) Firstly, pre-heat the oven to 180°C.  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.

2.) 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.  Mix together.  Add in the grated carrot and stir thoroughly.

3.) 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.

4.) 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 to the oven and check again after five more minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing carefully from cake tins.  Once removed allow the cakes to cool completely before icing.

Make The Icing:

5.) To make the icing, take the cream cheese out of the fridge one hour before using so that it is slightly softer and ensure your vegan butter is soft too.  Use an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment to beat the butter until smooth.  Then 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 everything is fully mixed.  Be careful not to beat on too high 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.

6.) 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

Carrot Cake with Watercress & Cream Cheese Frosting
Carrot Cake with Watercress & Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake with Watercress & Cream Cheese Frosting:

So what do you think about this Carrot Cake with Watercress & Cream Cheese Frosting (vegan and gluten free)?

Do you also fancy trying it? Because I know I do.

This recipe was created by Keri Astill-Frew who splits her time between being a development chef for The Watercress Company and building her own vegetarian and vegan catering business, V Dorset.

Afternoon Tea Recipes

Keri has worked in top restaurants across the UK including a Michelin star hotel in Lancashire and a variety of fine dining restaurants and gastro-pubs in Dorset and Sussex. 

She is passionate about watercress, both as an ingredient and for its fantastic health benefits and is devoted to developing new and delicious ways for you to incorporate more of it into your diet.   For more information and many more recipes please visit:

The Watercress Company or Watercress.

Recipe Photography credits Lara Jane Thorpe.

Afternoon Tea Recipes

You Might Also Like:

Perfect Egg Mayonnaise And Watercress Sandwiches:

What better way to start the proceedings than with a classic egg mayonnaise sandwich given added piquancy by fresh peppery watercress? More tea vicar! Perfect Egg Mayonnaise And Watercress Sandwiches.

Rare Roast Beef, Wasabi And Watercress Bagels:

For the carnivores try this modern twist on the original sandwich eaten by the Earl of Sandwich back in 1762 who is said to have first put some beef and watercress between two slices of bread so he could eat without interrupting his card game! This more sophisticated version with bagels is a perfect teatime treat. Rare Roast Beef, Wasabi And Watercress Bagels.

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A tangy alternative to the traditional sweet scone served with cream. These watercress And cheese scones are delicious with butter or perhaps topped with a cream cheese. Watercress And Cheese Scones: Afternoon Tea. So tasty.

Chocolate, Orange & Watercress Brownies with Chocolate Ganache Topping:

Chocolate, orange and watercress may not seem the most obvious combination but by golly, it works!  The sharp pepper of the watercress contrasts deliciously with the citrus flavours and bitterness of the chocolate to make a truly mouth-watering treat. Chocolate, Orange & Watercress Brownies. So yummy.

Watercress And Cheese Scones

Afternoon Tea Recipes: Spoil Your Mum On Mother’s Day:

Mother’s Day (22nd March, tomorrow) is the annual opportunity to really treat that special lady and show her how much you care. 

The Watercress Company has worked with development chef, Keri Astill Frew to conjure up something a little bit out of the ordinary so you can splash out on a tea party with a twist. 

From sandwiches or scones to cake or brownies and even a celebratory cocktail featuring watercress to wash it all down, it will be a Mother’s Day she’ll remember! Afternoon Tea Recipes: Spoil Your Mum On Mother’s Day.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I also hope you liked this post?

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Claire Justine
Claire Justine

Hi, I am Claire and I created Claire Justine in 2011. I hope you enjoy reading my posts as much as I love writing them. Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us.

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  1. helenfern
    10 March 2019 / 2:01 PM

    That has got to be the most beautiful cake I’ve seen in a long time. Thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party – Have a lovely week!

  2. 11 March 2019 / 7:26 PM

    This cake is absolutely beautiful and thanks so much for sharing them with us at Full Plate Thursday. Hope you are having a great week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

    • 15 March 2019 / 9:00 AM

      Thanks for hosting and stopping by Miz Helen 🙂

  3. 15 March 2019 / 6:16 PM

    OMG, that is the most beautiful cake. I just want to dig in but it looks to pretty to eat. Just wanted to let you know that you will be featured this week at Over The Moon party.

    Have a great day.

    • 16 March 2019 / 11:29 AM

      Thanks for hosting, featuring and stopping by 🙂

  4. 16 March 2019 / 2:33 PM

    Carrot cake is my absolute favourite.

  5. helenfern
    16 March 2019 / 4:27 PM

    Beautiful cake!! Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe at the What’s for dinner party! Have a great weekend.

  6. 18 March 2019 / 1:30 AM

    Oh My God looks so beautiful and for sure it’s delicious and healthy. You have such a great photos on this!

  7. 19 April 2019 / 8:22 PM

    I’m so excited about this recipe. I recently found out that I’m allergic to eggs and wheat, so this is perfect timing. I’m really excited to try it. Thanks for sharing at the Weekend Blog Hop at My Flagstaff Home. Hope to see you here again next week! –Jennifer

    • 20 April 2019 / 9:12 AM

      Hi Jennifer. Thanks for hosting and stopping by 🙂

  8. 22 April 2019 / 6:18 AM

    Hi, Claire! Just wanted to let you know that your post will be featured next week at the Weekend Blog Hop at My Flagstaff Home! Be sure to stop by on Thursday afternoon to see it. –Jennifer

    • 30 April 2019 / 9:02 PM

      Thanks so much for the feature Jennifer 🙂

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