I’ve CRACKED the code with these vegan carrot cake cupcakes. And it took a long-ass time. But I did it and I hope you try these gluten free cupcakes out. The texture is on point. It isn’t gummy or dry. It’s moist and slightly crumbly (but in a good way). The gluten free flours used are almond flour, oat flour and brown rice flour, which seem to always be my go-to. They don’t leave a weird flavour or texture. These carrot cake cupcakes are topped with a vegan cream cheese frosting that had me licking the bowl (honestly). If you are looking to spruce up your Easter dessert, then these vegan carrot cake cupcakes are it!
Why You’ll Love These Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- The TEXTURE is everything you want in a normal cupcake, and the fact that these cupcakes are vegan AND gluten free with a killer texture is just next-level. No, really.
- These vegan carrot cake cupcakes are the perfect festive addition to any spring dinner and especially Easter.
- I tested this recipe SO MANY times that you can be confident that this recipe is going to turn out. I wanted it to be perfect after testing other people’s gluten free cupcakes that only turned out OK. These needed to be epic!
- Don’t even get me started on the vegan cream cheese frosting. HUBBA HUBBA. It’s so creamy, and has the perfect balance of sweetness and cream cheese. It’s an absolute must with these vegan carrot cake cupcakes.
How To Make Gluten Free Cupcakes
Although testing these gluten free carrot cake cupcakes was quite the process for me, it won’t be for you, because I did the hard work for you!! Start by preparing those flax eggs and melting the coconut oil. Then in a clean bowl, add all the dry ingredients together and whisk. Set it aside and add the flax egg, coconut oil, vanilla, milk, maple syrup and apple sauce together and whisk. The flax eggs and apple sauce act as the binding agents in these vegan cupcakes. Add the wet to the dry and mix until it’s JUST combined.
Then fold in the carrots. A little fun fact about the carrots: if you don’t peel them, the skins will turn green when cooked, so these cupcakes will have little green specks in them . It doesn’t alter the taste of the cupcakes just the look. So if you care, just make sure you peel those carrots.
This recipe makes 12 vegan carrot cake cupcakes and they need to bake for 26-28 minutes in a 350ºF oven. It’s important to let the vegan carrot cake cupcakes cool for 10 minutes in the pan when they come out of the oven. They will still be slightly soft but when you press down on the top, your finger imprint won’t stay. After 10 minutes, move the cupcakes to a cooling rack and let them cool completely before you add the frosting.
The vegan cream cheese frosting is simple to make but you do need hand beaters or a kitchen aid. Simply add the cream cheese, butter and sifted powdered sugar (so there are no clumps) together and whisk until it’s thick but smooth! You don’t want to skip this frosting because it is the perfect pairing with these gluten free carrot cake cupcakes.
How Many Times Did I Test These Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes?
So my process with these vegan carrot cake cupcakes started probably five weeks ago. I knew I wanted to create a cupcake recipe for Easter preferably carrot cake-themed which I thought would be easy after I recently made these epic chocolate cupcakes. I thought I would be able to use the same flour combinations, but I was wrong. Why couldn’t I just sub out the cocoa powder for more of another flour?!
The first test for these vegan carrot cake cupcakes was a huge flop with the inside of the cupcakes left raw on the inside. So I did more research and tested a version with mostly an oat flour base. The texture was way better, BUT they were super dense. So back to the drawing board. Then I tried just an all-purpose gluten free flour blend. I typically stay away from store-bought all purpose blends cause I don’t like the taste they usually produce. To me using a gluten free all-purpose flour blend makes recipes “taste” gluten free. And my goal is to produce amazing desserts that are gluten free but don’t taste gluten free.
and so it continued
The all-purpose flour (surprise, surprise) had a gummy texture and I was not a fan of the taste. So the testing continued. Gluten free flours are a fickle thing and I am still learning. I am no pro, but slowly I’ve been able to understand what typically works and what doesn’t. When you add the vegan element to gluten free baking it complicates it even further.
So all this testing for these vegan cupcakes continued for 5 weeks. I also tested some gluten free and vegan carrot cake cupcake recipes from other bloggers and to be honest, they didn’t turn out. They were super dense. Adam watched me struggle and saw the frustrations build. He also tasted all 9 million versions I tested. And he agrees that THIS final recipe truly is the best! Needless to say, after SO MANY FRICKEN tests the end result isn’t gummy, dense, or gross. It’s the opposite, like a cupcake (gluten free or not) should be.
For More Vegan Easter Recipes, Check These Out
Thank goodness you don’t have to test this recipe for these vegan carrot cake cupcakes a bunch of times to know you will get a good result. I did it for you and I’m thrilled with how they turned out. Super moist, perfectly spiced and sweetened vegan carrot cake cupcakes. Gluten free baking definitely has it’s many ups and downs but when you find a recipe that you can come back to time and time again, you know all the fails were totally worth it to get you where you are now. These vegan cupcakes are going to be the best addition to your upcoming Easter feast. Just do yourself a favour and make these bad boys.
Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flax meal mixed with 6 tbsp water)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
- 3/4 cup oat milk (unsweetened)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup oat flour
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 cup shredded carrots (peeled + added last)
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup vegan butter (becel)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (earth island brand)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a muffin pan with muffin liners.
- Begin by melting the coconut oil and then set it aside.
- Prepare the flax eggs by combining 2 tbsp of flax meal with 6 tbsp of water in a small bowl. Whisk together and set aside for 5 minutes until it thickens.
- Combine all the dry ingredients together (except the carrots )in a separate bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add all the wet ingredients (including the flax eggs and oil) together in another bowl and whisk together.
- Next, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until everything is combined. Then fold in the carrots. NOTE: The carrot skins (if left on) will become green once cooked- it won't alter the taste of the cupcakes but there will be little green specks. So make sure to peel the carrots if you don't want the green specks.
- Fill the cupcake liners up 3/4 of the way and bake in the oven for 25-28 minutes. Mine were perfect at 27. The cupcakes should look brown on top when they are done. They will still be soft but if you touch the top of the cupcakes your finger indent will bounce back.
- IMPORTANT: Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then gently (they will still be a little soft) transfer them to a cooling rack to completely cool before adding the frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Add the butter, cream cheese and sifted powdered sugar to a bowl. Either using hand beaters or a kitchen aid mixer, mix until it is thick but smooth.
- I used a Wilton 2D tip to pipe the cupcakes.
- Cupcakes are best enjoyed within a few days of baking them. Store them in a container on the counter.