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These light and fluffy carrot cake cupcakes are topped with a luscious vegan cream cheese frosting, and dusted with walnuts. They’re a simple dessert perfect for birthdays, spring, and Easter!
Carrot cake and chocolate cake are my two favorite cakes! The two really tie for best, because it totally depends on my mood which one I go for.
Most birthdays, however, my family gets me a vegan carrot cake because they know how much I love it!
At our wedding I had a carrot cake at our coffee station. I just love the moist texture, and the tang of the cream cheese frosting!
My entire family loves carrot cake too, lucky for me!
So this year, I wanted to make my own vegan carrot cake cupcakes for our Easter brunch. I figured I’d give it a try before the big day!
We recently moved, and I don’t know a bakery in the area that makes vegan carrot cake, so I figured it was easy enough to make my own.
This recipe is not only easy to make, but it’s also healthy!
Made with white whole wheat flour or spelt flour, it’s high in fiber, and oil-free. These cupcakes are lower in fat and calories, and use less sugar.
Why you’ll love these Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes…
- A healthy plant-based dessert recipe.
- Uses high fiber white whole wheat flour.
- Refined sugar free option (use coconut sugar).
- Moist and fluffy!
- Quick and easy to make!
- Pairs perfectly with cream cheese frosting!
Recipe Ingredients and Notes
White Whole Wheat Flour: To increase the fiber and keeps these cupcakes whole grains, I used white whole wheat flour. It is made from a lighter and milder form of wheat. The color and the flavor exchanges well for subbing for all-purpose flour. You can also use spelt flour, or a 1:1 gluten-free flour mix.
Organic Cane Sugar: With this recipe I recommend using organic cane sugar. You could also substitute coconut sugar for a refined sugar free option. If you live in the Unites States, always use organic sugar to be sure it is vegan. Be aware that the coconut sugar will alter the color of the cupcakes. This recipe calls for less sugar than most.
Spices: Warm spices give this cake batter a depth of flavor. I add cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
Unsweetened Applesauce: Instead of using oil this recipe alls for applesauce. It gives the cake moisture without the added fat and calories.
Shredded Carrots: You’ll need one cup of shredded carrots packed. I use the food processor to quickly shred my carrots!
Walnuts and Raisins (optional): I like a little added crunch in my carrot cake so I add chopped walnuts. You could also add 1/3 cup of raisins if you like.
Tools and Equipment
You need a large and medium mixing bowl to combine your dry and wet ingredients.
I prefer using a spatula to stir and combine ingredients because it makes it easy to scrape the sides of the bowl.
Muffin tin to bake your cupcakes.
Muffin/cupcake liners to line your muffin tin. I like to use the parchment paper ones because they release from the cupcakes with ease.
How to Make Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes – Step by Step
For the Cupcakes:
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin tin with 9-12 liners.
Step 2: In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Set aside.
Step 3: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together applesauce, almond milk, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, and shredded carrots.
Step 4: Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Fold together until just combined.
Step 5: Add walnuts, and gently fold into the batter.
Step 6: Add the batter to the muffin cups about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes.
Step 7: Allow cupcakes to cool for 10 minutes in the muffin tin, then remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
Step 1: Prepare the vegan cream cheese frosting.
Step 2: Place the frosting in a piping bag, and pipe frosting on top of cooled cupcakes.
Be sure cupcakes are completely cool. Keep frosting in the refrigerator until ready to pipe.
Top with a few finely chopped walnuts. Enjoy!
Top Tips for Making Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- For a light and fluffy bake sift flour, baking powder, salt and spices. This also allows for the baking powder and spices to evenly distribute throughout the flour.
- Spoon the flour into measuring cups rather than scooping the flour out of the bag. Flour gets packed down in the bag, spooning the flour helps to ensure that you get the correct amount of flour you need.
- Finely grate your carrots.
- Don’t over mix the batter.
- If the batter seems a little dry, add a tablespoon or two of applesauce.
- Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full and even up the top so that the cupcakes bake evenly. You can also use a measuring cup to ensure they are filled evenly.
- Make sure cupcakes are completely cooled before frosting.
- Prepare the frosting in advance. Keep in the refrigerator, and don’t add to the piping bag until you’re ready to pipe the cupcakes. Leaving the frosting at room temperature will soften the frosting making it more difficult to pipe.
Variations and Frosting Options
Don’t like cream cheese frosting? No problem! You can use a vegan vanilla buttercream. This particular recipe uses coconut cream, and powdered sugar to achieve a good texture.
Skip the frosting! You can leave the frosting off all together if you’re not a fan or are looking for a healthier treat.
A lighter topping…Top with whipped coconut cream if you want something lighter on top.
Leave out the nuts: If you don’t like nuts or have an allergy, feel free to leave the walnuts out.
Add raisins: If you like the added sweetness of raisins in your carrot cake, fold in 1/3 cup of raisins before transferring the batter to the muffin tin.
How to Store and Keep
Store leftover cupcakes in the refrigerator. Since this recipe uses cream cheese frosting it is best to keep them cold. They will keep at room temperature for a few hours, but leftovers should be transferred and kept cool.
I use a cupcake container to keep the cupcakes from getting squashed in a regular glass container. These are also great for when you are taking cupcakes of muffins to a party!
Cupcakes will keep refrigerated for 3-4 days, but I doubt they will last that long!
Check out these other vegan dessert recipes!
If you’ve made this recipe, please comment below and let me know how it turned out. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for more vegan plant-based family recipes your whole family will enjoy!
Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour or spelt flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk or other plant milk
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup shredded carrots packed
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts plus more for topping
- 1 batch vegan cream cheese frosting
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin tin with 9-12 liners.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together applesauce, almond milk, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, and carrots.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Fold together until just combined.
- Add walnuts, and gently fold into the batter.
- Add the batter to the muffin cups about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Allow cupcakes to cool for 10 minutes in the muffin tin, then remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Frosting the Cupcakes
- While cupcakes are cooling prepare the frosting.
- Place the frosting in a piping bag, and pipe frosting on top of cooled cupcakes. Top with a few finely chopped walnuts.
- Nutritional information is an estimate and does not include frosting.
- Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Cupcakes will keep at room temperature for a couple of hours. If they don’t have the cream cheese frosting on top they will keep for longer.