November 9, 2020
When I had my cupcake business more than 10 years ago, my carrot cake cupcakes had a cult-like following. The same people showed up to my little stand religiously to buy the carrot cake cupcakes over and over. My friends even started randomly offering to help me with various things in exchange for more carrot cake cupcakes. So naturally, they were high on my priority list of cupcake recipes to adapt for a vegan diet.
Cake recipes are complicated to turn vegan, as they don't usually work by simply replacing a few ingredients. However, the effort was well worth it for these delicious cupcakes made with fresh carrots. They're the perfect treat for a special occasion like Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. But they're also delicious any time of year. Give them a try (and make room for your new favorite carrot cake recipe).
My vegan carrot cupcakes are loaded with walnuts, raisins, and coconut, however if you don't like any of these ingredients, feel free to leave them out. For the coconut, be sure to use finely grated coconut or soft flakes (nothing too stiff). I don't recommend using cake flour for these cupcakes, because it's too light to hold all the add-ins.
Try these topped with my vegan cream cheese frosting. The frosting is made with cashews, vegan butter, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and powdered sugar for a flavor that's really close to traditional cream cheese frosting. I usually make the frosting while the cupcakes are in the oven.
I bring the vegan butter out of the refrigerator (for the frosting) to soften before I start the cupcakes. You'll also want to soak the cashews for the frosting in advance if you don't have a high-speed blender. Use a piping bag with a large tip to pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes. Alternately, you can use an icing spatula to spread a thinner layer of frosting on the cupcakes.
This recipe makes around 24 cupcakes.
Can I use flax eggs instead of aquafaba? No, I don't recommend changing the ingredients in this recipe. Cake recipes can be very sensitive even to small changes in ingredients.
I don't like walnuts (or raisins, or coconut). Can I leave them out? Yes! Feel free to leave out any of these add-ins if you don't enjoy them. You can increase the other add-in ingredients to keep the texture the same, or just leave one of them out without changing anything else.
How much frosting should I make? One batch of frosting will frost 24 cupcakes using the spatula method. Two batches will make enough to pipe frosting on the cupcakes generously, as shown in the photos.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time60 minutes
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Add paper liners to 2 cupcake pans.
In a small mixing bowl, sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix together until ingredients are evenly distributed.
In a large mixing bowl, add sugar, oil, applesauce, aquafaba, vinegar, and vanilla, and mix well.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Don’t overmix.
Use your fingers to press the chopped pineapple. Fold in the carrots, walnuts, raisins, coconut, and pineapple (with juice) to the cake batter.
Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling almost to the top, about 1/4” below the top of the liners.
Bake the cupcakes for 30-33 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 15 minutes or so, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. Top with vegan cream cheese frosting (or your choice of frosting), and garnish with cinnamon or walnuts, if desired.
My carrot cake cupcakes are loaded with walnuts, raisins, and coconut, however if you don't like any of these ingredients, feel free to leave them out.
For the coconut, be sure to use finely grated coconut or soft flakes (nothing too stiff).
I don't recommend using cake flour for these cupcakes, because it's too light to hold all the add-ins.
Carrot cake cupcakes don't stay fresh as long as other varieties of cake, so if you don't plan to eat them all within a few days, I recommend freezing them in an airtight container or freezer bag.
Note: This data should be used only as an estimate. Please see the nutrition section of my terms and conditions for more information on how this data is calculated.
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