Vegan carrot cake bars! Naturally sweetened, vegan, and gluten free, these bars would make the sweetest Easter treat.
Baking has been so therapeutic for me lately. On top of not being able to run/do any high impact cardio for the last week, I got really sick to the point that my head was so full of fluid I could hardly hear. I hardly EVER get sick so this was a rare occasion that came at an already not great time. But hey, they say it’s always darkest before the dawn, right!? I’m trying to give all this rough stuff as positive a spin as possible, and looking at it as a time to get all the bad stuff out of the way at once. AND it’ll make me appreciate my typically awesome health once I’m back to my usual self.
All I can say is I’m so grateful for so much support from Joe and my wonderful family – they’re so awesome it’s insane, I’m very blessed. Baking has been a lifesaver lately, too – a process as simple as combining healthy ingredients into a delicious little treat has really helped turn my mood around a lot this past week. BUT enough about all that, on to this perfect Easter recipe!
These vegan carrot cake bars are healthy AND easy. For the base I used a combination of coconut flour and chickpea flour, like I did in these gems. The combination provides the bars the perfect amount of structure but also tenderness. The bars are so soft and melt in your mouth, but they won’t fall apart when you pick them up. To the flour mixture we add finely chopped carrots that are blended with dates and some water – this forms a paste that’ll add sweetness and moisture to the bars.
For the carrots, I don’t have a grater so I simply used some baby carrots and chopped them super fine, then tossed them into the blender. If you like more texture in your carrot cake, feel free to add them just chopped and only blend the dates and water. I’m just not a huge fan of the idea of a chunk of carrot in my bars, but hey, everybody’s different, so go with what you like!
After combining the carrot and flour mixture, I added one cup of unsweetened almond milk to make it more like cake batter. Coconut flour soaks up a TON of moisture, so the almond milk is imperative for the bars not ending up dry. The bars are baked for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees, and while they cool you can make the date frosting! Super simple, just date paste like I use in a lot of other recipes – blend 6 juicy, medjool dates with some water and you’ve got a silky, sweet topping for the bars.
To me the date icing really made these vegan carrot cake bars – it gave the perfect amount of sweetness to the not super sweet bars, and I just love the combination of textures – the firm but tender bars with the silky smooth date icing was perfection. Seriously though, the plan was to try a small bite, and Joe and I ended up standing at the counter and practically destroying an entire pan ourselves. No shame.
I like to play with flavor combinations and toppings, and these vegan carrot cake bars are the perfect canvas to customize to your preference. I tried some plain, one with the date icing, one with date icing and coconut, and I added raisins to some (Joe is a total raisin addict). I preferred the one with the date icing and coconut – the coconut added awesome texture and made the bars resemble the flavors of a typical carrot cake. Naturally, Joe loved the ones with raisins, icing, and coconut. I know some have strong opinions about coconut and raisins in carrot cake, so again, this recipe is so versatile, just go with what you and your family love!
These healthy vegan carrot cake bars would be the perfect addition to your Easter brunch/dessert table! I’ll be headed home for spring break and get to spend Easter weekend with my familia, as Joe is headed to France for work Saturday! Thinking I’ll have to make a pan of these and get the fam’s opinion. They’re tough critics, but with how good these bars were I have a good feeling they’ll be well received. Have a wonderful week, beautiful people 🙂
If you try this recipe, let me know how it goes/what you think! Take a picture and tag me @beamingbanana on Instagram. Happy baking!