If you ask me, one of the most underrated desserts is carrot cake. You hear the name and it just screams health food, but in reality, carrot cake is delicious and not quite a healthy dessert. It’s a great spring time dessert, or really anytime year round, but when I look for recipes, they always contain a ton of added sugar, and dairy frosting. The last time I tried dairy, I broke out majorly across my back and all over my face, so I know that even once in awhile it doesn’t work for me. Hence the vegan version of these cashew frosting carrot cake cupcakes.
My whole desire for carrot cake started around Easter time, but being we can’t really go to the store for just a thing or two, I had worked with what we had in the pantry. Not only that, but I wanted something healthy. Not often can you call a dessert healthy, but this one I would classify as healthy. Lower in sugar, contains a vegetable, and a serving of healthy fats in the nuts, not many other good desserts can make those claims.
What you’ll love about these vegan cashew frosting carrot cake cupcakes?
- A classic dessert is now vegan. Skip the cream cheese frosting and make this cashew frosted version.
- Less sugar. Coming in under 1.5 cups for the whole recipe, you can make these with a little less guilt.
- Healthy – how many desserts can say they contain any form of vegetable? This one does!
- A great use for extra carrots. If you ever end up with more than you need (for example with a massive Costco bag) use up some in a decadent dessert.
How to make these carrot cake cupcakes?
- Start by grating the carrot. Take care to prevent any cuts.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Combine the ground flaxseed and water in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Add the carrot and brown sugar.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients, reserving the almond milk only if needed to get a runny batter. This should be a similar consistency to cake batter, so if it’s really thick or doesn’t run when you tilt the bowl, add it.
- Line a muffin tin with disposable or silicone liners. If you don’t have liners, generously grease each muffin spot.
- Fill them 3/4 full with batter. Repeat until all batter is gone. It should make 12.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes. Remove from the oven when they are done, you should be able to remove a toothpick cleanly.
- Cool to room temperature.
Make the cashew frosting
- Prior to baking, soak the cashews. It’s best to soak overnight, but at least 4 hours. If you start with warm or hot water it can speed up the process.
- Drain the water from the cashews, and mix all ingredients together in a food processor or high-speed blender.
- Blend until smooth, it may contain some small pieces of nuts, but you want it as smooth as possible.
- Scoop all frosting out into a bowl and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Using a piping bag or a spatula, frost the cupcakes. Serve or store at room temperature for 2 days, or up to a week in the fridge.
Vegan Carrot Cake with Cashew Frosting
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups grated carrot
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ¼ cups brown sugar, packed (or sub coconut sugar)
- 2 tbsp flaxseed, ground
- 6 tbsp water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp distilled vinegar
- 1/4 cup almond milk if needed for the batter to thin out
- ¼ cup almond milk
- ¾ cup cashews, soaked at least 4 hours
- 1.5 tbsp maple syrup
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon
- Soak the cashews in warm water. Ideally, you will leave them overnight, but at least 4 hours.
Make the Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Grate the carrots, take care not to cut yourself.
- Prepare the flax egg by mixing together the flaxseed and water in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
- Add the carrot and brown sugar.
- Mix the remaining ingredients in. Wait to add the almond milk as you may not need it. If your carrots release a lot of liquid it should work without, but generally, we need to add some.
- Allow the mixture to sit for a couple of minutes. At this point, grease or line a muffin pan with liners.
- Scoop the batter into the liners going about ¾ full, leaving enough room for them to rise.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes (when a toothpick comes out clean).
- Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before frosting.
- Once the cupcakes are cooled, spread or pipe on to cupcakes.
- Once frosted, they can be kept for up to 1 week in the fridge, or 2 days at room temperature.
Did you make these cupcakes? I’d love to hear what you thought of them in the comments below.