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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

Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes

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Impress your family with these easy vegan carrot cake cupcakes that are sweet, moist, and bakery-beautiful! They’re egg-free and milk-free with a simple vegan cream cheese frosting. Kid-friendly, great for a special occasion or any time of year!

easy vegan carrot cake cupcakes recipe on a cupcake stand

I can’t think of a dessert I adore more than vegan carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. They’re packed with grated carrots and crunchy walnuts, then topped with a decadent vegan cream cheese frosting even dairy-lovers can’t resist.

Latest Recipe Video!

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

If you’re looking for the world’s best carrot cake cupcakes, look no further! They’re quick and easy, soft but indulgent, and ready in just 45 minutes. Just remember, these cupcakes disappear quickly. My vegan friends love them!

👩‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy-to-find basic ingredients
  • Perfect treat with wholesome ingredients
  • Silky smooth cream cheese icing
  • Quick and simple
  • Flavor of traditional carrot cake
  • Dairy-free & vegan!
  • Healthier than traditional recipes
  • Perfect for a special occasion!

🥘 Ingredients

This vegan carrot cake cupcakes recipe is made with simple ingredients found at your local grocery store! Find the full recipe and nutritional information at the bottom of this post.

ingredients for vegan carrot cake cupcakes recipe
  • White Whole Wheat Flour: White whole wheat flour is 100% whole wheat flour made from white wheat instead of red wheat. It has all the benefits of whole wheat flour but with a light color, mild flavor, and sweet taste.
  • Baking Soda & Powder: Leavening agents cause the cupcake batter to rise in the oven.
  • Salt: This won’t make cupcakes salty. Au contraire, my friend. A little bit of salt enhances sweetness.
  • Cinnamon: The warmth of cinnamon is key!
  • Vegetable Oil: Oil keeps muffins and cupcakes super moist. I recommend a neutral flavored oil like vegetable or canola oil, but if you don’t mind olive oil in baked goods, then go for it! Coconut oil works great too.
  • Coconut Sugar: The caramel-like sweetness of coconut sugar is divine in these perfect vegan carrot cupcakes! It tastes similar to brown sugar but less sweet. If you like less sugar, reduce to 3/4 cup. You can also use maple syrup if you don’t have coconut sugar.
  • Unsweetened Applesauce: Applesauce binds and moistens the batter. No need for flax eggs or an egg substitute.
  • Vanilla Extract: A teaspoon of vanilla extract for a warm, sweet note!
  • Grated Carrots: Fresh carrots add texture and a natural sweetness. I like to grate them, but if you like more texture, shredded carrots work great too. I use a food processor with a grating attachment but a box grater works great too!
  • Walnuts: Optional, but highly recommended! The bitter and nutty taste of walnuts pair so well with these healthy vegan carrot cake cupcakes with applesauce.
  • Vegan Butter: Butter reduces the tang of the cream cheese a little bit.
  • Vegan Cream Cheese: Use your favorite brand for this recipe.
  • Powdered Sugar: To sweeten the frosting and give it a silky texture.

📖 Variations

  • Mix-Ins: Swap out the walnuts for pecans or add dried raisins or shredded coconut. Sometimes I like to add fresh ginger.
  • Gluten Free Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes: Gluten-free carrot cupcakes are simple! Just swap the white whole wheat flour with a gluten free all-purpose flour blend. I recommend Bob’s Red Mill’s 1:1 All Purpose Gluten Free Flour.
  • Carrot Cake Cupcakes With Pineapple: Add 1/2 cup of drained crushed pineapple. Keep in mind that canned pineapple contains plenty of moisture which can make the cupcakes dense.
  • Vegan Carrot Cake Muffin Recipe: Skip the vegan cream cheese frosting! Enjoy these vegan carrot muffins for breakfast or a healthy snack.

🔪 Instructions

This carrot cupcake recipe takes 15 minutes to prep and 30 minutes to bake. Here’s how to make them step-by-step!

Combine Dry Ingredients: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper liners. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

dry ingredients combined in a bowl

Combine Wet Ingredients: In a large bowl, beat together the vegetable oil and sugar until well combined. Add the applesauce and vanilla and mix again. There’s no need for a hand mixer, but feel free to use one if you prefer.

wet ingredients mixed in a bowl

Mix Batter: Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture and mix until smooth. 

wet and dry ingredients mixed together in a bowl

Add Carrots: Fold in the grated carrots and chopped walnuts.

batter for carrot muffins

Fill Cupcake Pan: Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full of cake batter.

muffin batter in a muffin tin

Bake Cupcakes: Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack.

gluten free carrot cake cupcakes on a wire rack

Make The Icing: To make the icing, beat together the vegan butter, vegan cream cheese, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until silky smooth.

frosting ingredients mixed in a bowl

Frost Cupcakes: Fill a piping bag with the a large star tip. Pipe the icing on top of the cupcake.

carrot muffins being frosted on a wire rack

Garnish with grated carrots, shredded coconut, and walnuts.

healthy vegan carrot cake cupcakes on a wire rack

❓ Recipe FAQs

Are vegan cupcakes healthy?

These vegan carrot cake muffins are healthier than other classic carrot cake cupcakes, but they’re still a treat. They’re made with wholesome ingredients like whole wheat flour, applesauce, coconut sugar, carrots, and walnuts. Whole wheat flour is a good source of protein, fiber, and minerals.

How do I store dairy free carrot cake cupcakes?

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

Can I freeze egg free carrot cake cupcakes?

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. 

💭 Expert Tips

  • Don’t overmix the batter! Overmixed batter equals tough cupcakes, and nobody wants that. So just mix until combined and smooth. Don’t over-beat or fluff. 
  • Spray your muffin liners with a vegan cooking spray. This prevents them from sticking to the liners.
  • Keep in mind that vegan cream cheese frosting doesn’t remain stiff or in place as long as buttercream at room temperature. So if you make 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.
  • Let the vegan butter and vegan cream cheese come to room temperature first. This ensures they will mix together into a smooth icing with no lumps. Refrigerate to stiffen the icing.
  • I usually just use whole wheat pastry or white whole wheat flour. If you’re strict about using only cake flour or plain 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 liquid-y, add more flour. Likewise if it’s too thick, add more applesauce. 
easy vegan carrot cake cupcakes recipe on a cupcake stand

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📋 Recipe Card

easy vegan carrot cake cupcakes recipe on a cupcake stand
Print Recipe
5 from 10 votes

Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Impress your family with these vegan carrot cake cupcakes that are sweet, moist, and bakery-beautiful! They're egg-free and milk-free with an easy vegan cream cheese frosting. Kid-friendly, great for a special occasion or any time of year! 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
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
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

https://youtu.be/IgrpGbttLys

Notes

  • 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

Posted In…

Dessert ·

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!

18 responses to “Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes”

  1. Your images always make me wanna bake something! Loved your carrot cake cupcakes, and I have to say they really are kid-friendly, thanks!5 stars

  2. Love carrot cakes and this version is full of great flavours and much healthier too. Love the garnish on the cakes!5 stars

  3. I am always in search for some healthy desserts and this has been amazing & definitely guilt free to eat! Thank you so much!5 stars

  4. Great recipe – really moist and not too sweet, just a perfect carrot cupcake! Would never know it’s vegan!5 stars

    • Hi Ella! The applesauce is actually a replacement for butter in this recipe to make it healthier! You could also use pureed bananas (but this would give the cupcakes a distinct banana flavor), or pureed pumpkin (which would go well with the carrot cake flavor). Hope that helps!

  5. Finally I’ve found a new carrot recipe that I am really excited to try. These cupcakes look absolutely amazing, and just how I love them!5 stars

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