Everything you love about carrot cake but in a cute little vegan carrot cake cupcake! That makes them even easier to make and bake and decorate. Even if you are just starting your vegan baking journey, you can make this knock-out recipe in no time.
The spices in this recipe are really what makes these cupcakes outta this world good. Cinnamon, ginger, and cloves combine to create a warm and cozy flavor. The cupcakes are sweetened with brown sugar, which adds a subtle sweetness to complement the spices perfectly.
If my family had to choose a favorite dessert I make, there is a strong argument for this vegan carrot cake recipe.
Topped with a cool and creamy dairy free and nut free frosting, this easy carrot cake is soon to be your favorite, too!
These vegan carrot cake cupcakes are perfect for any special occasion and are sure to be a crowd please. Make it for Easter, Thanksgiving, Birthdays, or anytime you want! They are a great vegan dessert that everyone can enjoy, whether they are plant-based or not!
Why You’ll Love these Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- Soft and moist cake filled with lots of carrots, raisins, pumpkin seeds, and spices
- Easy to mix up by hand
- No vegan cream cheese in here, we make the tangy frosting with a secret ingredient
- Dairy free, egg free, nut free recipe
These ingredients are super easy to find in the grocery store. Now, I’ll be the first to admit, this is a long list of ingredients. However, the cake that it makes is so dang good, you won’t mind the few extra dirty dishes.
- Flour: Regular all purpose flour works great in this cake.
- Carrots: The star of the show! I find I get the best results when I purchase whole carrots and grate them by hand. Using the fine grate side helps to not only evenly distribute the carrot in the batter, but also gives more carrots in every bite!
- Baking Powder + Soda: Both are used to help lift this heavy cake up.
- Spices: Cinnamon, ginger, and cloves all make an appearance for a really warming cake that compliments the carrots beautifully.
- Oil + Applesauce: These help to keep the cake moist and provide a subtle flavor. Use a neutral flavored oil and an unsweetened applesauce.
- Sugar: Both brown sugar and white sugar are used.
- Flaxseeds: These help to hold the cake together.
- Vanilla: I love the flavor vanilla gives to just about everything.
- Dairy free milk: Used to help moisten the cake. I recommend soy milk, coconut milk, or oat milk. Rice milk can work but I find that rice milk sometimes makes things gummy. If you use rice milk, add 1 tablespoon less of applesauce.
- Raisins + Pumpkin Seeds: Raisins are a classic addition to carrot cakes and I love them in these cupcakes! You can use dark or golden raisins. Pumpkin seeds take the place of nuts in this recipe to give it a little crunchy texture in the body of the cupcake.
For the Frosting, you will also need:
- Apple Cider Vinegar: The secret ingredient! This is what gives the frosting a little “tang” in place of the cream cheese. Most dairy free cream cheese is made with nuts, so I developed this recipe as a way around that.
- Vegan Butter
- Powdered Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
I’ve made these with chopped pumpkin seeds In place of nuts. However, if you aren’t allergic to nuts, feel free to replace them with chopped walnuts.
Also, I make these with a touch of vinegar in place of cream cheese. However, if you want you can totally make a vegan cream cheese frosting by replacing half the butter with your choice of vegan cream cheese. Make the frosting recipe as written.
Make sure to check out the recipe card below for the full recipe and ingredient list.
First up, grate the carrots! You want the carrots to be small and evenly distributed throughout the cakes.
Tip! Using grated carrots as opposed to shredded carrots makes for a more evenly distributed carrot throughout the cake.
Now, into a medium bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients of flour, the baking powder and baking soda, salt, and all the spices. Give this a quick whisk and set aside.
Next, it’s time for the wet ingredients! Into a large bowl, whisk together the carrots, oil, applesauce, both brown and white sugar, flax seeds, and dairy free milk. If you are using pumpkin seeds and raisins, now is the time to add those as well. No need to make flax eggs as it mixes into the wet mixture.
Then, add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix it well! I switch to a spatula at this point as the batter will be really thick.
Transfer about a quarter of a cup of cake batter into each paper lined baking cup. These will be filled up basically to the top.
Tip! I find that parchment paper cupcake liners work the best and stick the least to these cupcakes.
Bake the cupcakes for 25 to 27 minutes. They take longer to bake than some other cupcake recipes because they are so thick with carrots!
The cupcakes are done when they have shrunk in the pan a little and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake pulls out clean.
Let them cool for 10 minutes in the hot trays before removing them to a cooling rack and finish cooling.
Carrot Cupcakes Frosting
In a large bowl with a hand mixer, or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, cream the vegan butter on high speed for about 3 minutes. You want this to get light and fluffy. It helps if the vegan butter (and cream cheese if using) is at almost room temperature. You don’t want the butter super soft, but it should be soft to the touch.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix it together again, first on medium and then on high speed again. The frosting should be soft and fluffy when finished.
How to Store
Fridge: Keep frosted cupcakes in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
Countertop: Unfrosted cupcakes can be left on the countertop in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Freezer: These baked, cooled, and frosted cupcakes can be frozen and kept in a freezer safe container for up to 2 months. Allow them to thaw on the countertop for a few hours before serving after being frozen.
More Cupcake Recipes
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- Mixing bowls
- Mixing spoons
- Hand grater
- measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- cupcake tray
- cupcake liners
- Hand mixer or stand mixer
- Piping bag + Tips (optional)
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- ½ cup oil
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup carrots grated
- ½ cup applesauce unsweetened
- ¾ cup dairy free milk soy milk or coconut milk or oat milk recommended
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds rough chopped
- 1 cup vegan butter
- 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons dairy free milk
- ⅛ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Line a cupcake tray with paper liners, or spray with a neutral flavored cooking oil. Set this aside.
- Mix the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Set this aside.
- Mix the wet ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients: Grated carrots, oil, dairy free milk, brown sugar, white sugar, ground flax seeds, vanilla, and applesauce. Add the raisins and pumpkin seeds if using.
- Combine. Using a spatula or large wood spoon, combine the dry ingredients into the wet. Mix this well to ensure everything is evenly distributed.
- Bake. Pour about a quarter cup of batter into each lined cupcake tray. That should fill them almost to the top. You should get about 12 to 14 cupcakes. Bake for 25 to 27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center pulls out clean.
- Cool. Remove them from the oven and allow the cupcakes to cool in the hot trays for about 10 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to fully cool. Don’t frost hot or even warm cupcakes! You want these to be room temperature when you touch the bottom of the cupcake.
- Make the frosting. In a large bowl with a hand mixer, or in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, first cream the vegan butter on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes. You want this to get light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and add the powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, 2 tablespoons of dairy free milk, and the apple cider vinegar. Mix on medium until everything is combined before mixing on high for another 3 minutes. Give it a taste and adjust if needed.
- Decorate. Decorate the cupcakes with a Wilton 1M tip to get similar results to the photos in this post. You can also use any other large frosting tip for different swirls. Or, if you want to go simple, use a spoon or knife to spread frosting on top. Sprinkle some more chopped pumpkin seeds on top and enjoy!
- How to Store
- Keep frosted cupcakes in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
- Unfrosted cupcakes can be left on the countertop in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- These baked, cooled, and frosted cupcakes can be frozen and kept in a freezer safe container for up to 2 months. Allow them to thaw on the countertop for a few hours before serving after being frozen.