These Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes are a grain-free recipe and packed with carrots, walnuts, raisins, and warm spices. These deliciously moist cupcakes are naturally sweetened with maple syrup, and you would never know they are completely grain-free. Top them with a creamy dairy-free cream cheese frosting for a healthy treat!
What Are Carrot Cake Cupcakes?
These healthy grain-free carrot cake cupcakes taste exactly like an indulgent carrot cake, but are made with healthier ingredients like almond flour and pure maple syrup. They have all of the usual suspects: carrots, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, and nutmeg. They are topped with a delicious and creamy vegan cream cheese frosting that is also sweetened with maple syrup.
Speaking of which, are you on team raisins in carrot cake’? There seems to be strong opinions about this when I talk to other people about their carrot cake preferences. I am team RAISINS all the way, they add a great sweetness and texture to the cupcakes, in my opinion. If you haven’t tried it yet, I highly suggest it! Some people like to add pineapple, but I much prefer the raisins.
- almond flour – using almond flour keeps these cupcakes grain-free, and the natural fat content in almond flour helps keep them moist
- grated carrots – we can’t have carrot cake without the carrot! Make sure you grate/shred your carrots yourself, this makes a big difference in texture. Pre-shredded carrots are dry.
- chopped walnuts – I love the crunch that the walnuts add to these cupcakes
- raisins – I’m always on team raisins for carrot cake, I love the sweetness they add without having to include more added sugar
- coconut oil – this neutral oil is perfect for baking recipes, but you could also swap the oil for unsweetened applesauce
- maple syrup – using a liquid sweetener helps these cupcakes stay moist, and the flavor of maple is perfect for these cupcakes!
- eggs – eggs help our cupcakes stay nice and fluffy, set them out ahead of time to get them to room temperature
- cinnamon & nutmeg – adding warm spices is crucial for carrot cake
- baking powder & salt – the usual suspects in most cake recipes
- dairy-free cream cheese – we are keeping these completely dairy-free with this cream cheese frosting that is made with Tofutti cream cheese
How to Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, eggs, maple syrup, and coconut oil. Whisk until there are no clumps.
Next, add the carrots, walnuts, and raisins. Use a wooden spoon to stir it all together until evenly combined.
Spray your muffin tin with non-stick spray, then spoon the batter into the muffin tray, filling them 3/4 of the way full. Then bake for 20-23 minutes, until you can insert a knife in the center and it comes out clean.
While the cupcakes are cooling, make the cream cheese frosting. In a medium size bowl, combine the vegan cream cheese, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Use a hand mixer to whip the frosting until it is smooth and creamy.
Use a small spatula to smear about 1 tbsp of the frosting on each cupcake.
How can I make my cream cheese frosting thick?
You obviously have to have cream cheese frosting when you make carrot cake. This vegan cream cheese frosting is so perfect with these cupcakes, and you can’t even tell that it is dairy-free. I used Tofutti dairy-free cream cheese, and it is definitely my favorite brand to use for this. It is creamy, thick, and has a really great traditional cream cheese flavor. I used maple syrup to naturally sweeten it, and to have similar flavors as the cupcakes.
What kind of carrots should I use in the recipe?
My best advice for any carrot cake recipe is to use whole carrots and shred them yourself. Do not use pre-packaged shredded carrots because they will be dry, resulting in dry cupcakes. And of course we always want MOIST cupcakes!
What is the best way to grate carrots for carrot cake?
The easiest way to grate carrots for this recipe is to use a box grater. Use the side with the larger grates, and you will end up with perfectly grated carrots every time. Just be careful and always pay attention when you are grating, you don’t want to grate your finger!
What spices do I use in carrot cake cupcakes?
I like to keep my carrot cake spices pretty simple and only use cinnamon and nutmeg. There are some recipes out there that add other spices like ginger and cloves, which you are absolutely free to add if you want that extra kick! But I personally love the simplicity of cinnamon and nutmeg.
How do you store gluten-free carrot cake cupcakes?
These cupcakes will stay the most fresh and moist if you store them in an airtight container in the fridge. They will last up to 5 days.
How do you make sure they stay moist?
The best way to keep these cupcakes moist is to shred your carrots yourself. They will hold their water content, and aren’t already dried out like pre-shredded carrots can be. Using a liquid sweetener like maple syrup, and the addition of coconut oil also help them stay soft and moist.
Can you use applesauce in the cupcakes?
You can replace the coconut oil with unsweetened applesauce in this recipe and it works perfectly! It is a great substitute if you are trying to reduce your oil intake in your diet.
Is it possible to add pineapple in the carrot cake cupcake?
I know there are a lot of carrot cake recipes that add pineapple, but I have personally never tried it in this recipe. I like the simplicity, and I want to be able to taste the carrots over everything else.
Is a dairy-free option available?
These healthy carrot cake cupcakes are completely dairy-free! If you follow the recipe exactly, and use a dairy-free cream cheese, then you won’t have to make any substitutions to make it dairy-free!
This recipe is perfect for your Easter menu if you are looking for an easy cupcake dessert for your friends and family!
Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- 1½ cups almond flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1½ cup grated carrots
- 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/3 cup raisins
Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 (8oz) package of dairy-free cream cheese (I used Tofutti)
- 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, eggs, maple syrup, and coconut oil. Whisk until there are no clumps.
- Next, add the carrots, walnuts, and raisins. Use a wooden spoon to stir it all together until evenly combined.
- Spray your muffin tin with non-stick spray (if you aren't using cupcake liners), then spoon the batter into the muffin tray, filling them 3/4 of the way full. Then bake for 20-23 minutes, until you can insert a knife in the center and it comes out clean.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, make the cream cheese frosting. In a medium size bowl, combine the vegan cream cheese, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Use a hand mixer to whip the frosting until it is smooth and creamy.
- Use a small spatula to smear about 1 tbsp of the frosting on each cupcake.
Looking for more cupcake and muffin recipes?
- [Grain-Free] Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes
- Gluten-Free Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
- Chocolate Chunk Raspberry Almond Muffins
- Chocolate Banana Protein Muffins