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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

The Best Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes

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Impress your family with these vegan carrot cake cupcakes that are flavor-packed and bakery-beautiful! They’re egg free, milk free, and made all the more delicious with an easy vegan cream cheese frosting. Perfect for Easter!

vegan carrot cake cupcakes with vegan cream cheese frosting on wooden cutting board

These moist, tender, delicious vegan carrot cake cupcakes are one of my favorite treats to make all year round. They’re packed with carrot flavor, crunchy walnuts and the best vegan cream cheese frosting that is so rich that even non-vegans will love these cupcakes!

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In general, I’m a sucker for all carrot cake recipes. There’s just something about the combination of warm spices, sweet carrots in the texture of a cake that is irresistible! And these vegan carrot cake cupcakes take everything I love about carrot cake, and condense it into a beautiful individually-sized dessert!

The best part is, these cupcakes are fully customizable depending on your tastes and preferences. You can even turn them into vegan carrot cake muffins for a grab-and-go breakfast or snack!

Here Are the Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Easy Vegan Carrot Cupcakes

Using the amounts below will make 24 cupcakes. If you’re making cupcakes for an Easter celebration, you’ll want to make one per person, so multiply ingredients accordingly. 

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

For the Vegan Butter Frosting

  • ½ cup vegan butter
  • 1 8-ounce package vegan cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • Grated carrots, shredded coconut, and chopped walnuts for topping

How to Make Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Applesauce

These take 15 minutes or less to prep and 30 minutes to bake. Here’s how to bake carrot cupcakes step-by-step. As you’ll see, it’s super easy! 

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

dry ingredients combined in a bowl

Step 2: In a large bowl, beat together the vegetable oil and sugar until well combined. Add the applesauce and vanilla and mix until combined.

wet ingredients combined in a bowl

Step 3: Add the dry ingredients to the oil mixture and mix until smooth. 

dry and wet ingredients mixed together

Step 4: Fold in the grated carrots and chopped walnuts.

carrots and walnuts added to wet ingredients

Step 5: Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full of batter.

carrot cake cupcake batter added to muffin tins

Step 6: Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Top with vegan icing.

vegan carrot cake cupcakes with vegan cream cheese frosting on wooden cutting board

A Few Notes for Successful Vegan Cupcake Batter

  • To avoid overmixing: Overmixed batter equals tough cupcakes, and nobody wants that. So just mix until combined and smooth. Don’t over-beat or fluff. 
  • To easily make these vegan cupcakes gluten-free: I suggest using a gluten-free baking flour that is pre-mixed to be a 1-to-1 substitute for all-purpose wheat flour.
  • To prevent sticking: Spray your muffin liners with a vegan cooking spray.
  • To test out different flours: I usually just use whole wheat pastry or white whole wheat flour. If you’re strict about using only cake flour for baking (or I even know some people who swear by spelt flour for muffins), just play with your applesauce ratio. If it’s too liquidy, add more flour. Likewise if it’s too thick, add more applesauce. 

Now on to my favorite part – the icing!

How to Prepare Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

If you’ve never had vegan buttercream frosting, you’re in for a treat. For the base, I chose a mixture of vegan butter, vegan cream cheese and powdered sugar, and let me tell you, the combination is ah-mazing! It complements the carrots and chopped walnuts so well. 

Now it is a little bit different than traditional buttercream as it uses vegan cream cheese instead of heavy cream or milk. 

You can’t whip this mixture into a fluffy state like you would with true buttercream as cream cheese just doesn’t work like that. 

So to make the icing, beat together the vegan butter, vegan cream cheese, and vanilla extract until just smooth – not fluffy. Then add the powdered sugar and beat until combined.

vegan cream cheese frosting in a bowl

When the cupcakes have cooled completely, pipe the icing on top and garnish with grated carrots, shredded coconut, and walnuts.

vegan carrot cake cupcakes with vegan cream cheese frosting on wooden cutting board

Keep in mind that vegan cream cheese frosting doesn’t remain as stiff or “in place” as long as buttercream at room temperature. So if you’re making these ahead of time, bake the carrot cupcakes as you normally would but don’t add the icing until ready to serve. 

If you’re serving them at a special occasion that may last several hours (like Easter), you can add some corn starch to the icing to make it firmer for longer at room temp.

Honestly though, these vegan carrot cupcakes can hold their own taste-wise. They’re so moist and delicious that no one will miss the icing! That actually brings me to my next point. 

This one’s for you muffin-lovers…

How to Easily Turn These into Vegan Carrot Cake Muffins

This recipe can easily be adapted to make vegan carrot muffins. And when I say easy, it really is as simple as removing the icing!

There isn’t that big of a difference between cupcakes and muffins to begin with. The main thing is that a cupcake is covered with frosting while a muffin is not. A muffin is also typically denser and drier than a cupcake and often eaten with a fork.

Thanks to the oil, sugar, and applesauce, these cupcakes are pretty dense and definitely muffin material as is. 

So if you prefer vegan carrot cake muffins, you can still use this recipe, just leave off the frosting!

For true-to-size muffins, use a larger muffin tin instead of a cupcake liner.

vegan carrot cake cupcakes with vegan cream cheese frosting on wooden cutting board

A Quick Note on Storing & Freezing for Later

I’ve met people who will never freeze baked goods because they think they’ll end up a soggy mess. But that doesn’t happen with these carrot cake cupcakes. 

You can store them, covered, in the refrigerator for a week. However, this is a great recipe for batch cooking and freezing for later. 

You can store carrot cake muffins in the freezer for about 3 months without losing flavor or moisture. Just make sure to freeze them without the icing – and make the icing right before you’re ready to serve them. Let them thaw in the fridge completely before icing & enjoying. 

I really hope you enjoy these vegan carrot cake cupcakes as much as my family has! Let me know if you have any ideas for alternative toppings? I bet raisins would pair perfectly!

Want more carrot cake recipes?

Or other healthy cupcakes and desserts?

Try Some of These Other Dessert Recipes!

If you have tried these Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

vegan carrot cake cupcakes with vegan cream cheese frosting on wooden cutting board
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes

This is an easy vegan carrot cake cupcake recipe with an equally simple and delicious vegan buttercream frosting. Perfect for Easter or just a dessert for kids! Want carrot cake muffins? Just leave off the icing 🙂
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Baking, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine: American, Vegan
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Calories: 272kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

For The Carrot Cake Cupcakes:

For The Vegan Icing:

  • ½ cup vegan butter
  • 8 oz package vegan cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • Grated carrots, shredded coconut, and chopped walnuts for topping

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the vegetable oil and sugar until well combined. Add the applesauce and vanilla and mix until combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the oil mixture and mix until smooth.
  • Fold in the grated carrots and chopped walnuts.
  • Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full of batter. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • To make the icing, beat together the vegan butter, vegan cream cheese, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until combined.
  • When the cupcakes are cooled completely, pipe the icing on top and garnish with grated carrots, shredded coconut, and walnuts.

Video

Notes

Tips For Making The Best Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes
  • To avoid overmixing: Overmixed batter equals tough cupcakes, and nobody wants that. So just mix until combined and smooth. Don’t over-beat or fluff. 
  • To easily make these vegan cupcakes gluten-free: I suggest using a gluten-free baking flour that is pre-mixed to be a 1-to-1 substitute for all-purpose wheat flour.
  • To prevent sticking: Spray your muffin liners with a vegan cooking spray.
  • To test out different flours: I usually just use whole wheat pastry or white whole wheat flour. If you’re strict about using only cake flour for baking (or I even know some people who swear by spelt flour for muffins), just play with your applesauce ratio. If it’s too liquidy, add more flour. Likewise if it’s too thick, add more applesauce. 
  • Try adding in different mix-ins – raisins would taste great!
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer (without the icing added) for 3 months.
  • Make these into muffins just by removing the icing and serving right out of the oven!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 232mg | Potassium: 136mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 2857IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 1mg

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Indulge your sweet tooth with some of my lightened-up treats. From gluten-free brownies to fruity crumbles, there’s something for everyone. Be sure to check out holiday favorites like my healthy pumpkin pie!

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