These cute little Vegan Carrot Cupcakes with vegan Cream Cheese Frosting are light, moist and fluffy. They are studded with raisins and nuts and deliciously spiced with fresh ginger and cinnamon.
Vegan Carrot Cupcakes
Carrot cupcakes may not be the healthiest way to get your daily veggies, but they certainly are the most delicious, hands down.
Especially these vegan carrot cupcakes with a smooth, decadent vegan cream cheese frosting. It's just like eating the most scrumptious vegan carrot cake, in a portion-controlled size.
I've been making these carrot cupcakes for years--they were among the first desserts I veganized--and they've always been a big hit with family and friends. And as crowd-pleasing as they are, they are also really easy to make.
It takes under 10 minutes to stir up the batter, in one bowl. Rinse out the bowl and use it to make the delicious cream cheese frosting, which also comes together easily and effortlessly.
The cupcakes are a moderately healthy dessert, what with the hefty dose of veggies involved, but you can make them healthier by using wholegrain flour and cutting down on the sugar in the frosting. Read more about that in the tips and substitutions section below.
Easter might seem an obvious time to make these cupcakes, although I make them year-round, for my little bunny, Jay, and my kid at heart, Desi.
What you'll love about these vegan carrot cupcakes
- They're delicious. Be warned, it'll be hard to stop at one.
- They're easy to make. It's a perfect project to make with your children. Get older kids to help with grating the carrots and mixing the batter. Little ones can help frost -- and taste, of course.
- The ingredient list is quite simple--you probably have most of these things in your pantry or refrigerator, and there are no crazy ingredients.
- You need just one bowl to mix up the batter. Then rinse the bowl and use it for the frosting, making cleanup a breeze.
- They are much lower in fat than a traditional carrot cupcake would be.
For the carrot cupcakes:
- Unbleached all purpose flour
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Vegetable oil
- Nondairy milk
- Apple cider vinegar
For the vegan cream cheese frosting
- Vegan cream cheese
- Vegan butter
- Powdered sugar
- Pure vanilla extract
- Walnuts for sprinkling (optional)
Tips and substitutions
- Begin by grating the carrots using the large holes on a grater or in the food processor. You need 1 ¼ths packed cups, which would be two medium-small carrots or one large carrot.
- When making any cake, you will usually start out by whisking all the dry ingredients together. In this case the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. You can use whole wheat pastry flour if you want to make these whole-wheat--it works amazingly well.
- Once your dry ingredients are whisked, add all of the wet ingredients in, including the carrots, ginger (I use fresh ginger, but use powdered ginger if that's all you have available), sugar, vegetable oil, nondairy milk and apple cider vinegar.
- Stir in the raisins and the chopped walnuts. Toast the walnuts slightly before adding them to the batter. You don't have to use raisins and walnuts--one or the other is fine too.
- You can substitute the walnuts with pecans.
- The batter for these cupcakes is quite thick, but that's okay. The carrots will express more moisture. Use an ice cream scoop or a cup measure to portion them out into the cupcake pan.
- Bake the cupcakes for 25 minutes, then make sure that a toothpick in the center comes out clean before removing them from the oven.
- Let them cool thoroughly on a rack before frosting. Adding frosting to a warm or hot cupcake will result in a gooey mess.
- The frosting is really easy to make--mix all the ingredients and whisk them until smooth. I use 2 cups of confectioners' sugar for a very sweet frosting, which Jay loves, but you can cut it down to 1 ½ cups for a still delicious but not-as-sweet frosting.
- I use 3 tablespoon vegan butter in the frosting, but you can cut that down as well to just 1 tbsp.
Looking for more vegan cakes?
- Vegan Lemon Blueberry Cake
- Gluten-Free Vegan Skillet Cornbread Cake
- Vegan Blueberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake
- Vegan Lemon Yogurt Bundt Cake
Vegan Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the carrot cupcakes:
- 1 ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour, or a mix)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoon fresh ginger (finely grated. Or use ½ teaspoon dry ginger)
- 1 cup sugar
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 1 ¼ cup nondairy milk
- ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 ¼ cup carrots (finely grated)
- ½ cup walnuts (lightly roasted then chopped)
- ½ cup raisins
Make the carrot cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.
- Add the sugar, vegetable oil, nondairy milk, vinegar, carrots, ginger, walnuts and raisins and mix until everything is just incorporated.
- Line a 12-cup cupcake tin with liners. Divide the batter equally among them.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
- Cool thoroughly on a rack before frosting.
Make the vegan cream cheese frosting
- Using a hand mixer or a whisk, beat together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and confectioner's sugar until smooth and creamy.
- Frost the cakes. You can sprinkle on some chopped walnuts over the frosting or serve just as.