These vegan carrot cake cupcakes are moist and rich and packed with flavor. Topped with a delicious orange buttercream and orange zest.
I’m going to town on the vegan carrot cake cupcakes you guys!
We set a new record in having to do 3 photoshoots to get this one right. We’re no stranger to having to repeat photoshoots, things just do go wrong sometimes. But 3? This was a new record.
Somehow the photos just weren’t working out well at all (the light wasn’t good, our props weren’t contrasting well, colors weren’t meshing properly etc!)
So in the process of testing this recipe (2 times), and then shooting and reshooting (total of 3 times), I have made these cupcakes 5 times in the past couple of weeks.
We are overrun with cupcakes! Not that anyone is actually complaining around these parts. My sister is a BIG fan and comes around to grab a few here and there, and Jaye has his daily cupcake fix, but still, we are overrun! I have an entire shelf of the fridge dedicated to these cupcakes right now.
They’re more like muffins with frosting on though I must say. There is something very muffin-ish about them. See how they look above? Like muffins right? They look like muffins, act like muffins and taste like muffins!
What’s the difference between cupcakes and muffins anyway? Is it just that muffins are usually not frosted and are a tad more wholesome?
Well these guys taste pretty wholesome! With the walnuts and the orange zest and all that carrot goodness, these definitely give you that wholesome muffin vibe.
So you can have them either way. If you want to have them as muffins, just don’t bother to frost them! They are SOOOO good on their own. They don’t actually need frosting at all.
But if you want to turn your wholesome muffins into deliciously frosted cupcakes, then frost the little guys.
But don’t misunderstand me when I say ‘wholesome’. They might seem pretty wholesome and I’m very happy with the ingredient list, but let’s be real, baked goods are not really designed to be health food.
And that’s perfectly okay!
And one of the questions I received about my vegan carrot cake was regarding the relative shortage of wet ingredients. This is because the recipe doesn’t use any added plant milks, so it’s just the oil, flax eggs and vanilla/vinegar etc that provide the wet ingredients.
And yes, this is exactly right! This is because the raw carrots added to it – while seeming like a pretty firm, solid ingredient – are actually also a wet ingredient! Once you add in those grated carrots and the moisture starts to seep out into your batter, it gets to the right level pretty fast.
Nonetheless you end up with a very thick batter here and that’s entirely okay. In fact it’s what you’re going for.
So don’t freak out when it starts out so thick it’s like it’s not going to form into a batter, just stir a bit more and those ingredients will start to merge together and form into a batter. A thick batter, but a batter nonetheless!
However, I always recommend weighing out your flour. It’s the trickiest measurement in baking and for the best accuracy, it’s always worth weighing it out on a kitchen scale.
The frosting gets its delicious orange flavor from fresh orange juice and a little orange extract.
And then you top it off with some orange zest which not only looks gorgeous, but intensifies the orange flavor beautifully!
Storing and Freezing
These carrot cake cupcakes lose none of their moistness or flavor when kept (covered) in the fridge and they last for at least a week, though of course the fresher the better.
They are also freezer friendly (frosted or unfrosted) for up to 3 months!Print
Deliciously moist vegan carrot cake cupcakes topped with orange cream frosting and orange zest. These cupcakes are a lot like muffins, they’re satisfying and nourishing and satisfy all cravings.
For the Cupcakes:
- 2 cups (250g) All Purpose Flour
- 1 and 1/2 cups (300g) Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Nutmeg
- 2 and 1/3 cup (255g) Grated Carrot
- 2 Flax Eggs (2 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed + 6 Tbsp Hot Water)
- 1/2 Cup (120ml) Canola Oil (or Vegetable Oil)
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 cup (100g) Walnuts (chopped)
- 1 Tbsp Orange Zest
For the Orange Cream Frosting:
- 3 cups (360g) Powdered (Confectioners) Sugar
- 1/3 cup (75g) Vegan Butter
- 1 Tbsp Orange Extract
- 1–2 Tbsp Orange Juice
- Orange Zest
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Sift the flour and add to a mixing bowl with the brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix together.
- Grate around 2-3 carrots and weigh them out, then add to the mixing bowl.
- Prepare your flax eggs by mixing 2 Tbsp flaxseed meal with 6 Tbsp Hot Water and allowing to sit for a while to become gloopy.
- Add the flax eggs to the mixing bowl along with the oil, vanilla and apple cider vinegar.
- Mix in together. The batter will be very thick but keep mixing until it starts to meld together and form a thick batter.
- Prepare your orange zest by grating the skin of a whole orange. Get together roughly a tablespoon of zest and add to your mixing bowl.
- Place the walnuts in the food processor and pulse until they’re broken up into small pieces.
- Add the walnuts and mix in.
- Divide the batter evenly between 12 cupcake liners. It’s best to use cupcake liners that are fairly high along the sides for these, or choose muffin liners. This is to avoid ‘muffin top’ that can happen with these cupcakes.
- Place into the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean (or very close to).
- Remove from the cupcake tray immediately and place onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- When the cupcakes are completely cool, prepare your frosting.
- Add the powdered sugar, vegan butter, orange extract and 1 tablespoon orange juice to your stand mixer and starting slow gradually increase speed until the frosting is thick and smooth. If it’s too thick add more orange juice but only as much as needed so the frosting can be piped.
- Pipe or spread onto the cupcakes and decorate with orange zest.
*Based on my vegan carrot cake recipe.
*Nutritional information is based on 1 cupcake (of 12) with a very generous amount of frosting.
*It’s important to use muffin liners or cupcake liners that are go quite high on the sides for these cupcakes as they tend towards a muffin top when baking and without the high cupcake liners, they are harder to remove from the tray.
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Vegan
- Serving Size: 1 Cupcake (of 12)
- Calories: 472
- Sugar: 56.3g
- Sodium: 307mg
- Fat: 18.1g
- Saturated Fat: 2.3g
- Carbohydrates: 76.4g
- Fiber: 2.4g
- Protein: 3.9g
Keywords: vegan carrot cake cupcakes