These Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes are light, fluffy, eggless, & moist while having that ideal cinnamon carrot flavor. Plus, they are topped with the most luscious maple buttercream frosting for a vegan cupcake recipe that is perfect for any occasion!
Right around April, my Vegan Carrot Cake with cashew frosting and Carrot Cake Sticky Buns start to get a lot of love. I think it's partly to do with Easter, but also because carrot cake is one of the best ways to ring in Spring!
This year I really wanted to make a classic carrot cake cupcake! However, instead of a "traditional" cream cheese frosting, I decided to use the maple frosting from my Vegan Pumpkin Bourbon Cupcakes. Let me just say, this was the BEST decision I could have made. Maple+ Carrot+ Pecans together= pure bliss!
Ingredients & Substitution Ideas:
While the full list of ingredients with measurements is in the recipe card, here's a quick recap of what you need to make these eggless & dairy-free carrot cake cupcakes:
- Oat milk
- Can be subbed 1:1 for any plant-based milk like soy, rice, and almond. Just make sure to use a plant-based milk without tons of additives for the best results!
- Apple cider vinegar
- This helps to create a vegan buttermilk and is needed to interact with the baking soda. Can be subbed 1:1 for lemon juice.
- Carrots, grated
- White sugar & brown sugar
- I don't recommend making this recipe refined sugar-free because the brown sugar and white sugar provide a lot of moisture to the cupcakes! If you do try it, you'll want to make sure to use a granulated sugar like coconut sugar/ maple sugar.
- Olive oil
- Can be subbed 1:1 for any liquid oil. I don't recommend coconut oil because it can sieze up and turn solid.
- For oil-free carrot cake cupcakes, just sub for applesauce!
- Vanilla extract/ vanilla bean paste
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder & baking soda
- Crushed pecans
- Vegan butter
- I like using Earth Balance, Miyokos, or Flora Plant butter.
- Maple syrup
- Powdered sugar
Tips to make carrot cake cupcakes
Here are some of my favorite tips & tricks to make the perfect vegan carrot cupcakes every time!
Make sure to peel & finely grate carrots
For this recipe, grating the carrots finely provides extra moisture to the batter. It also makes sure that the carrots get evenly distributed throughout the batter. Just chopping the carrots won't work, so make sure to use a grater. Also, you'll want to remove and discard the exterior skins of the carrots so using a peeler is highly recommended.
Do not over-mix batter
When it comes to cupcakes, one of the problems you may face is a dense/gummy cupcake from over-mixing the batter. Over-mixing cupcake batter can allow too much gluten to form and can actually lead to big pockets of air in the cupcakes too. That's why I recommend JUST mixing until all streaks of flour are gone. A few clumps in the batter is totally okay!
Fill cupcake liners only until ⅔ full
Another really important tip is to make sure to only fill the cupcake liners until they are ⅔ full. Unlike muffin recipes, we want a flat cupcake top that is not domed. Filling each liner with less batter leads to that flat top that makes cupcakes easier to frost. I love using a large cookie scoop to fill each cupcake liner so they are perfectly even.
P.S- I pretty much exclusively use If You Care unbleached cupcake liners since they're also compostable- so I highly recommend them!
Bake without peaking!
Once the batter is ready, pop these vegan carrot cupcakes into the oven and bake them right around 20 minutes. Depending on the temperature of your oven, anywhere from 18-22 minutes is an ideal range. However, don't open the oven door before that 18 minute mark! Doing this can cause the cupcakes to cool down too much before they are cooked and they may actually collapse in the center.
How to make vegan maple buttercream
The best part of this recipe? Mile high frosting, of course! Maple buttercream frosting is not only SO easy to make, but it's incredibly delicious and requires just three simple ingredients.
The first step is to cream the butter and maple syrup together until it's super fluffy. Then, gradually add in the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time and beat together.
Once all the powdered sugar has been added, continue beating the frosting another 5 minutes. You'll notice the frosting will get SUPER airy & lighter in color during these extra 5 minutes, so don't skip it!
FAQ & Expert Tips:
Yes! While I don't peel carrots in some of my savory recipes like my Carrot Cauliflower soup, I always peel them for baked goods! The skin can have a bitter texture after baking so you always want to remove it.
Probably, but I do not know the exact pan that would be a fit. If you do try making this as a cake, the cake pan should be ⅔ full of batter before baking for the best results. Better yet, if you want a cake recipe, try my Vegan Carrot Cake instead!
If the carrot pecan cupcakes are unfrosted they can be stored in a closed container at room temperature for 2-3 days, in the fridge 5-7 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month. If frosted, they must be stored in the fridge or freezer or the frosting will melt. I HIGHLY recommend storing cupcakes in the freezer over the fridge as the fridge tends to dry out the cake.
I truly hope you love these delicious Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Maple Frosting & Pecan crumbles! They are perfect for Easter, Mother's Day, or any spring gathering. Enjoy!
Looking for more vegan cupcake recipes? Check out these SGTO favorites!
Carrot Cake Cupcakes:
- ½ cup (118 ml) oat milk
- ½ Tbsp (7 ml) apple cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup (32 grams) grated carrots
- ¼ cup (52 grams) white sugar
- 2 Tbsp (25 grams) brown sugar
- 1.5 Tbsp (22 ml) olive oil (or any liquid oil)
- 1 tsp (5 grams) vanilla
- ¾ cup (94 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp (1 gram) cinnamon
- ½ tsp (2 grams) baking powder
- ¼ tsp (1 gram) baking soda
- ¼ tsp (1.5 grams) salt
- 2 Tbsp (14 grams) crushed pecans
- ½ cup (113 grams) cold vegan butter
- 1.5 Tbsp (22 ml) maple syrup
- ¾-1 cup (90-120 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
- Additional crushed pecans & cinnamon to top
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a muffin pan with 7 cupcake liners. Finely grate the carrots and set aside.
- Add the oat milk and apple cider vinegar to a small bowl and let sit for 1-2 minutes until milk starts to curdle. This forms the vegan buttermilk. Then, add in the grated carrots, white sugar, brown sugar, olive oil, and vanilla. Whisk together.
- Next, add in the all-purpose flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make sure to add the flour first and pile the other dry ingredients on top so they get mixed in evenly. Mix everything together until all the streaks of flour are gone and you have a thick batter. I highly recommend using a whisk when mixing cupcake batter to avoid over-mixing.Then, gently fold the crushed pecans into the batter.
- Fill the cupcake liners with the carrot cake batter until they are about ⅔ full. Then, add to the oven and bake for 18-22 minutes (for my oven, 20 minutes is the perfect time).
- Remove the cooked cupcakes from the oven and immediately transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Don't let them sit in the hot muffin tin when cooling or they could overcook/become soggy on the bottom.
- Once the cupcakes have cooled, make the maple frosting.
- Add the vegan butter and maple syrup to a large mixing bowl and use an electric/standing mixer to beat together until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Then, gradually add in the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time until the frosting has reached your desired sweetness. Continue beating the frosting another 3-5 minutes until it is super fluffy and becomes light in color.
- Add the maple frosting to a piping bag and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes. Top with additional crushed pecans, a dash of cinnamon, and serve!
- Please see blog post for ingredient substitution ideas.
- If the cupcakes are unfrosted they can be stored in a closed container at room temperature for 2-3 days, the fridge 5-7 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month.
- If frosted, they must be stored in the fridge or freezer or the frosting will melt. I HIGHLY recommend storing cupcakes in the freezer over the fridge as storing in the fridge can dry out the cake.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 7 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 308Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 35mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 1gSugar: 28gProtein: 2g
ShortGirlTallOrder occasionally offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although shortgirltallorder.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.