These easy vegan carrot cake cupcakes are the perfect spring dessert recipe. Perfectly soft and full of flavor! One bowl for fast cleanup!
Carrots aren’t the first thing you think of to put into a cake (or cupcake in this case), but that doesn’t mean that the sweetness from the carrots doesn’t do something amazing once you do. If you have never had vegan carrot cake cupcakes, then you are in for a treat here (pun intended).
For many, spring holidays, like Easter, are the prime time to make carrot cake or cupcakes because they are in season. But that doesn’t mean they are only a spring treat. These vegan carrot cake cupcakes are perfect year round.
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What ingredients do you need to make dairy free carrot cake cupcakes ?
In order to make this vegan carrot cake cupcake recipe you’ll need 14 ingredients! Most of them are pantry staples, making this a great recipe in a pinch. You’ll need a few more, depending on the frosting that you choose.
Full amounts of each ingredients is listed In the printable recipe card below.
The ingredients that you need for these vegan carrot cake cupcakes are:
- carrots – obviously we need carrots for carrot cake cupcakes. You can use baby carrots or large carrots. We find large carrots easier to grate/shred, so we would recommend those as well.
- flour – All-purpose flour because we wanted this recipe to be as accessible as possible for everyone.
- dairy free milk – Using milk instead of water adds more flavor into the recipe. We have tried this with both oat and almond and there’s not much of a difference honestly. Use either unsweetened plain or unsweetened vanilla flavored milk, but you don’t want any sweetened milk in this already sweet recipe.
- apple cider vinegar – Since there are no vegan buttermilks on the market, we use acid to mix with the dairy free milk to make a vegan buttermilk. Acid helps tenderize gluten and therefore making a softer cake.
- brown sugar – Brown sugar is what we are using for moisture and sweetness. If you want to learn more about why your sugar may not be vegan, you can learn more by clicking on the link.
- maple syrup – just a different type and a liquid sweetener for more moisture
- oil – You want to use a neutral oil – canola or vegetable. Oil helps the moisture in your cake but also helps by slowing down the formation of gluten that yields a very tender and fluffy cake – isn’t that what we all want!
- vanilla and almond extracts – extracts help to build flavor levels and we are using both vanilla and almond here to really play off the carrots for an even better taste
- salt – this helps enhance the flavor and while you may be tempted to reduce or omit, we encourage you not too
- baking powder and baking soda – added to cake for leavening purposes
- cinnamon and nutmeg – warming spices that are added to enhance the flavor of the cupcakes even more
Substitutions and Variations:
- flour – If needed you can use a gluten free 1:1 flour blend here
- apple cider vinegar – white vinegar or lemon juice would also work for this recipe
- brown sugar – granulated date or coconut sugar could be used as a replacement.
- maple syrup – just a different type and a liquid sweetener like agave or date syrup could be used
- oil – melted, but not hot, vegan butter can be used as a replacement
- vanilla and almond extracts – you can replace the almond extract with vanilla extract only
- pecans or walnuts – nuts are a great addition if you can have them to carrot cake cupcakes
- raisins – while not everyone likes them, some people love them in carrot cake, so they are an optional ingredient
We don’t recommend making any other changes. Please note that while we say these are substitutions, they have not all be tested and making any changes to the original recipe will affect the outcome.
Frequently Asked Questions for Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes:
All of the ingredients have a purpose in making the most decadent and moist cupcakes – from the oil to the acid and leavening agents – they all give the perfect chemical reaction for the best cupcakes that are not dry.
Also – you really want to make sure that you don’t over mix. The longer you mix, the more gluten forms and leads to more dense cupcakes.
By adding some acid to your batter, you are creating a vegan cake that is moist and delicious. It helps to break down the tough gluten strands, yielding in the most delicious vegan vanilla cupcake recipe. Don’t skip this step!
Yes. You can make this oil free. Replace the full amount of oil for applesauce. It is very important to know that using applesauce does lead to a more dense cupcake.
The flour and almond extract are the two key ingredients to look at. There is dairy free milk in this recipe, which we encourage you to just use any safe non-dairy milk for.
With the flour, replace with a gluten free 1:1 flour blend. And then for the almond extract, just replace with more vanilla extract. Omit the nuts as well.
What are other dairy free desserts recipes that I can make?
Whether you are having a dessert bar of deliciousness at your next get together, or you just want to have even more amazing dairy free desserts at the ready, we recommend you trying out some of these delicious non-dairy desserts (all are vegan):
- Dairy Free Brownies
- The Best Dairy Free Lemon Pound Cake
- Triple Chocolate Dairy Free Cookies
- Dairy Free Chocolate Cake
- Perfect Dairy Free Apple Pie
- Dairy Free Cinnamon Rolls (could be breakfast or dessert)
Pin these vegan carrot cake cupcakes for later!
Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- 1 ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 ¼ cups dairy free milk (300ml)
- 1 cup brown sugar (200g)
- 1 cup vegetable oil (225g)
- ½ cup maple syrup (165g)
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups shredded carrot (180g)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (regular or 1:1 Gluten Free Blend) (360g)
- 4 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans) optional (125g)
- ½ cup raisins, optional (80g)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177C). Line cupcake pans with liners. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add apple cider vinegar and dairy free milk. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to curdle. Once ready, to the same bowl, add in brown sugar, oil, maple syrup, vanilla and almond extracts, and carrots. Whisk together.
- Then, into the same bowl, add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Whisk just until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX.
- Add nuts and raisins, if adding. Fold until just combined.
- Place in cupcake wrappers until ½ full.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- While baking make frosting below or choose another option from the post.
- Let cool to touch and then use frosting of choice to decorate.