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Carrot cake cupcakes with cashew cream frosting — a vegan’s dream come true

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
Image: Brandi Bidot/SheKnows

Vegan carrot cake muffins with maple-cashew frosting recipe

Yields 12

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

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. 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.
  3. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, making sure there are no clumps and the batter is fairly smooth.
  4. 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.
  5. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 1 hour.
  6. Once cooled, top each muffin with cashew frosting.
  7. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a candied cashew, if desired. Serve immediately, or keep chilled until ready to enjoy.

More vegan dessert recipes

No-bake vegan lemon tarts
Creamy vegan cheesecake
Easy vegan citrus meltaways

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