Carrot Cake Muffins (vegan & gluten-free)

Close up image of Carrot Cake Muffins. Image shows a muffin on baking parchment, decorated with white frosting and pecans.
Close up image of Carrot Cake Muffins. Image shows a muffin on baking parchment, decorated with white frosting and pecans.


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(This recipe was originally published in 2017 but I’ve updated it to make the instructions more concise, and offer ingredient substitutes.)


When you wake up in the middle of the night thinking about baking, you know it’s a sign you should probably do it. Such was the situation I found myself in three nights ago: awake at about 3am dreamily convinced I needed to make carrot cake muffins.

I’m not sure if I knew carrot cake muffins were a real thing prior to my dream, but I can assure you I do now. And they’re delicious.

I’m particularly proud of the cream frosting because, being someone who stays away from refined sugars, frostings and toppings of any kind can be a bit of a challenge to make. I think I’ve nailed it here, and I hope you do too. This topping is definitely on the creamier, more yoghurty side as opposed to a traditional sugary icing.

Close up image of Carrot Cake Muffins. Image shows a row of muffins on a wire cooling rack. One muffin has a bite taken out of it.

Carrot Cake Muffins: Recipe Tips


Feel free to substitute a vegetable for the grated apple if you don’t have it. I’ve successfully made these muffins with zucchini instead and I couldn’t tell the difference. You could probably also try using beet, but be prepared for the muffins to come out very pink!

If you don’t have brown rice flour, any gluten-free flour blend will work well in these muffins. My personal favourite alternative is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free All Purpose Flour.

You’re also welcome to use pecans instead of walnuts in this recipe if that’s what you have. Both work really well.

Finally, although the frosting is delicious, it’s absolutely not essential to the muffins. They are delicious without it so feel free to skip it if you’d rather just eat them naked!

Close up image of Carrot Cake Muffins. Image shows muffins on a white surface, decorated with white frosting and walnuts.

Carrot Cake Muffins (vegan & gluten-free)

Enjoy these vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free carrot cake muffins topped with decadent coconut cream frosting - they're the perfect healthy snack!
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American, gluten-free, healthy, vegan
Servings: 12 muffins

Ingredients

Muffins

  • tbsp ground flaxseed, mixed with 4 tbsp water and set aside
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • ¼ cup coconut nectar/maple syrup/agave syrup
  • 1 large apple, grated
  • cup grated carrot
  • ½ cup almond or other plant milk (unsweetened)
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • cup chopped walnuts
  • cup raisins

Frosting (optional) - ensure all ingredients are chilled

  • 1 cup coconut cream (Chill a can of high quality coconut milk in the fridge overnight. Use only the hardened cream that separates from the liquid.)
  • ½ cup coconut yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp vanilla essence
  • ½ tsp lemon juice

Instructions

For the muffins

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C and grease a 12-muffin tin with coconut oil.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the flaxseed, coconut oil and coconut nectar for 2 minutes until combined.
  • Add all other ingredients and stir with a metal spoon until combined.
  • Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin tins and bake for approximately 35-45 minutes (until a knife comes out of the centre of each muffin clean).
  • Leave the muffins in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

For the frosting (optional)

  • To make the frosting, chill a large bowl in the fridge for 10 minutes. Also ensure all ingredients have been refrigerated (if ingredients are different temperatures it causes the frosting to curdle).
  • Using an electric whisk, beat the coconut cream in the chilled bowl until thick and all lumps are removed.
  • Slowly add in the yoghurt, coconut nectar, vanilla and lemon juice one at a time, whilst continually whisking until the mixture is light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes total).
  • Refrigerate the frosting until ready for use, then using a spoon or icing bag decorate the top of each muffin with it. Enjoy!

Notes

Store in an airtight container. If frosted, these muffins will need to be refrigerated after a day or so due to the yoghurt and coconut cream content in the frosting. 

Looking for more vegan, gluten-free baking recipes? Why not try my Vegan Berry Sponge Cake, my Salted Pecan Pie or my Chocolate Glop Cream Cake? 

These healthy Carrot Cake Muffins are the perfect vegan breakfast or snack that you'll find yourself making over and over again because they're so tasty! Completely gluten-free and made with whole food ingredients, they're the perfect vegan muffin recipe. #vegan #glutenfree #carrotcake #veganmuffins

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