As a lover of all things sweet, I love carrot cake the most. There is something about the combination of fresh carrots, pineapple, sweet raisins and crunchy walnuts blended into a cake (and don’t forget that heavenly frosting) that just makes me smile. While most of us can enjoy cake anytime, we must also think of those who are dairy-free or vegan.
This recipe is completely plant-based and free of eggs and dairy, including the frosting, which is made from a combination of cashew cream and vegan cream cheese sweetened with a little bit of pure maple syrup. These carrot cake cupcakes will really rival anything you might try from a bakery — they are just as flavorful and moist as non-vegan versions, and whether or not you’re vegan, I know you’ll love these.
Vegan carrot cake muffins with maple-cashew frosting recipe
Prep time: 20 minutes | Inactive time: 3 hours | Bake time: 20 minutes | Total time: 3 hours 40 minutes
For the frosting
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 2-1/4 cups organic powdered sugar
For the cupcakes (dry ingredients)
- 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup oat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
For the cupcakes (wet ingredients)
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup or agave
- 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup finely grated carrots
- 1/2 cup fresh pineapple, finely chopped
- Candied cashews
- Ground cinnamon
For the frosting
- To a large bowl, add the cashews and hot water. Cover, and let the cashews sit for a minimum of 2 hours to soften. (You can also do this step ahead of time.)
- Once the cashews have soaked, drain them, then add them to a food processor along with the lemon juice and the 1/4 cup of water, and blend on high until very smooth.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor, and blend the frosting until it is very thick and creamy. Transfer to a bowl, and chill until ready to use.
For the cupcakes
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- To prepare the muffins, add all the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl, all the wet ingredients to a second mixing bowl, and mix both dry and wet ingredients well.
- Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, making sure there are no clumps and the batter is fairly smooth.
- Spoon the batter into each muffin cup, filling about 3/4 of the way full. Bake the muffins for 18 – 20 minutes or until the centers of the muffins are completely baked.
- Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 1 hour.
- Once cooled, top each muffin with cashew frosting.
- Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a candied cashew, if desired. Serve immediately, or keep chilled until ready to enjoy.