These vegan carrot cake cupcakes are so full of flavour, perfectly spiced and with crunchy walnuts and topped with a creamy frosting. If you love carrot cake, then you’ll absolutely love this recipe!
Carrot cake always seems to be a little bit divisive. I suppose that’s to be expected when you add vegetables to a sweet dessert, but it’s something I absolutely love.
I’ve been making carrot cake for years, and I know what I like. There has to be a bunch of warm spices, there has to be walnuts for crunch, they need to be super soft and MOIST (sorry but it’s the truth, there is no other word) and the cakes need to be balanced with a sweet frosting.
That is exactly what this recipe delivers. Plus it’s super easy (which yes I say about all cupcake recipes because I do believe they are one of the easiest baked goods to make).
The key to the texture of the cake being soft and moist is actually due to the same reason these cakes are vegan. The combination of using vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to create lift in a way that would usually be done by the eggs, as well as using oil instead of butter creates the perfect texture.
These cakes are so good, they would be perfect for Easter celebrations, weekend lunches with friends, or any celebrations you might have coming up. It’s such a classic recipe that you really can’t go wrong with.
Like all of my vegan cupcake recipes, we’re using basic ingredients here that will give us the most delicious tasting cake with a soft and moist texture.
- Almond milk – this is always my preference when baking but any dairy free milk will work so use your favourite.
- White vinegar – adding this to the almond milk creates a vegan buttermilk substitute which is essential to the texture of these cupcakes.
- Plain flour – or all purpose flour in the US.
- Bicarbonate of soda – also known as baking soda in the US, this is going to react with our ‘buttermilk’ and create a soft, light texture.
- Baking powder – to give the cakes rise.
- Ground spices – we are using both cinnamon and nutmeg for the best flavour. You could use all cinnamon but the addition of the nutmeg is so good!
- Canola oil – or any light tasting oil, this keeps the cupcake soft and moist.
- Brown sugar – for flavour, sweetness and yes also keeps the cakes soft and not dry.
- Vanilla extract – always, to enhance the other flavours.
- Grated carrot – it wouldn’t be carrot cake without carrots!
- Chopped walnuts – IMO carrot cake isn’t complete without walnuts. You could also use pecans or leave them out depending on your tastes.
For this recipe, you’ll need a few bowls, a whisk and a spatula. I also like to use a cookie scoop to transfer the batter easily into the muffin tin as I find it much less messy, but a spoon works fine.
Start by making your vegan ‘buttermilk’ substitute by mixing together the almond milk and white vinegar. It will start to curdle and look a bit funky but that’s ok! Set it aside while you complete the next 2 steps.
In another bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients. This is important because it ensures that the leveners – the bicarb and baking powder – are evenly distributed through the flour which will mean a better result to your cupcakes.
In your main mixing bowl, whisk together the canola oil, brown sugar and vanilla extract until combined.
Make the batter by gradually alternating the addition of the dry ingredients and the milk mixture to the oil and sugar mixture, whisking between each addition. Only mix until just combined though as overmixing will result in dense cupcakes.
Transfer the batter to the prepared cupcake/muffin tin and bake for about 20 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Let the cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
Storing and freezing
These cupcakes store in the fridge really well and will last 4-5 days but are of course best when fresh. Just make sure to keep them covered in an airtight container to prevent drying out.
If I plan on eating them within 1-2 days, I usually just store them in a cool, dry area in my kitchen.
If you want to freeze these cupcakes you can do that frosted or unfrosted and they’ll last approx 3 months.
If I know I’m making them ahead of time for an event, I’ll usually freeze them unfrosted, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and let them defrost overnight in the fridge. Then when ready to serve, I’ll make a fresh batch of frosting and no one will ever know they are not freshly baked!
More vegan cupcake recipes:
Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 ¾ cups plain flour
- ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups grated carrot approx 2-3 carrots
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- 1 batch
vegan vanilla buttercream or vegan cream cheese frosting
- Extra walnuts chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a muffin tin with 12 patty cases.
- In a small bowl combine white vinegar and almond milk. Milk will split which is fine. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- In a large bowl, whisk together canola oil, brown sugar and vanilla until combined.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the oil and sugar mixture, alternating with the milk until cupcake batter comes together, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Spoon mixture into patty cases ensuring they are only ¾ full before placing them in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until lightly springy to touch. Let cool completely before frosting.
- Make a batch of vegan vanilla buttercream or vegan cream cheese frosting and add to a piping bag with your favourite tip attached. Pipe generous swirls of frosting on each cupcake and top with more chopped walnuts and a sprinkle of extra cinnamon.
Nutritional information is provided as a guide only and is calculated using automated online tools, therefore we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe.