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Healthy Carrot Cake Cupcakes

What is the difference between a cupcake and a muffin? I’m not sure, but these delicious little carrot cake cupcakes (muffins?) are pretty exciting for a few reasons… Not only do they taste as good as any carrot cake I’ve ever had, they’re so much healthier than a typical carrot cake drenched with oils and processed sugars. Plus, they’re full of vitamins, fiber, and omega 3’s. And if that wasn’t enough, they’re actually moist and fluffy (always a challenge with eggless baking). Oh! And I created a totally bizarre and healthy cream-cheese-like icing from tofu that works perfectly with these cupcakes (more on that at the bottom).

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Makes 9 cupcakes (or a 8×8 cake)

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons flax seed
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 ½ cups spelt or whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup Sucanat (unprocessed sugar)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 ½ cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350º F

Step One

Make the flax ‘eggs’. Did you know you can create an egg substitute by using 1 tablespoon ground flax seed with about 3 tablespoons warm water? This acts as an effective binding agent in baked goods. Just whip the flax and water with a fork and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until thick. For this cake, we need about 3 flax eggs, or 3 tablespoons flax and 1/2 cup water. Whip this together and set aside.

Step Two

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, Sucanat, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Gently mix the ingredients until well combined.

Sucanat is a type of sugar that is unrefined. The cane juice is simply heated and cooled to form dark brown crystals that retain their molasses and vitamin content. The flavor is stronger, but it is much more pure and whole than refined white or brown sugar. If you’re going to be baking with sugar, Sucanat is the ideal choice.

Step Three

In another bowl, pour in the flax ‘eggs’ and mix with the applesauce, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, carrots, walnuts, and raisins. Then, gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well combined but do not over mix.

Step Four

Transfer the batter to cupcake liners or a lightly-greased cake pan. Bake at 350º F for about 35 minutes until the tops turn golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before attempting to remove them.

Carrot Cake Cooling

Carrot Cake Cupcake Tofu Icing

Tofu Cream Cheese Icing

Right out of the pan, these make great carrot cake muffins. But a healthy tofu-based icing kicks these cupcakes to a whole other level, and it’s so easy to whip up in under 5 minutes. This icing recipe is light and mildly sweet as written, which is perfect for my tastes, but you could easily add more sweetener or oil for a richer icing.

Tofu Icing Ingredients:

  • 8 oz firm silken tofu
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Splash of soymilk as needed

Combine all ingredients into a blender with a few teaspoons of soy milk and blend until creamy. Give it a taste and adjust any ingredients to your liking. Allow to chill for at least 30-60 minutes before icing the cupcakes.

Carrot Cake Split

15 Comments

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  1. Dear ,One Ingredient Chef, This is so good ! Oh my YUM ! Anyway I love your concept of one ingredient ,less is more and the more natural the better and always vegan of course! So happy I found you on facebook and i love your recipes . I will be making these often and banana would be good also. Talk to you soon! I tell everyone about you and will be sharing these delicious treats!

    • Hey Kathy, Thanks! I’m glad the One Ingredient concept resonates with you and I appreciate your support! 🙂

      • I can’t tell you how happy I am to have found your site. I love how you put simple vegan recipes together. You have a gift! I don’t like to use banana in anything except banana bread or smoothies. Like you, I typically use ground flax or chia as a binder.
        Cheers to your continued success in the kitchen!

  2. I can not WAIT to try these!!! The tofu icing is brilliant. I typically do a cashew base so I’ll be interested in how the fu comes out. I will most likely replace the flax seed with that mila I was telling you about because flax is a phytoestrogen and GMO in many areas (which I’m bummed about because I really loved it). I can’t wait to check out more of your recipes!

    • Thanks Dawn! The tofu icing is pretty cool, I hope you like it! I’m sure mila/ground chia would be a fine replacement for flax ‘egg’.

  3. Chef,

    Can you substitute the Sucana with Raw Stevia? Also, can you substitute the Flaxseed (eggs) for EnerG (egg substitute)? I can’t wait to give this a try. My birthday is coming up and this is what I want to serve to my guest.

    Thanks!

    • Hi Gail, yes you can definitely substitute EnerG – I’ve used that for similar recipes and I’m sure it would work. As far as the Stevia, you probably can if you have had experience baking with it in the past and you like the taste, but of course, you will need a lot less stevia since it’s much more powerful. Good luck!

  4. Hi, I have discovered your site just last night and was riveted! Great work. I ‘d like to ask where does one find this sugar substitute? I am located in Lebanon now and use homemade molasses a lot (grape, date, carob, apple and fig). I was just thinking ahead for when I get back to the US.

    • Hi! I don’t know about abroad, but here in the States, sucanat is pretty easy to find in most healthier grocery stores. Although, it’s not exactly a sugar ‘substitute’, it is still sugar, just a little less refined than normal. Any kind of natural brown sugar, coconut sugar, etc. would likely work fine.

  5. Hi Andrew,

    I am planning to bake those little carrot babies for Sunday lunch when my in laws are visiting, but my brother in law is Caeliac, would you advice me in which flour would be best for turning this into GF? Buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, chickpea?!?!?!
    Thanks a million!

    • Hi Bianca! Hmm, I don’t have a ton of experience with GF baking and IDK what you guys have in England, but my first choice would be Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour, which is a blend that works well in baking. Otherwise, maybe brown rice? It’s always tough to get GF flours to work the same.

      • Tks a lot Andrew, will try with brow rice flour as I have loads at home. I also have chickpea flour, but I find it gives a very chickpeay taste (what a surprise!) in baking, I am saving it for your super omelete recipe though. Maybe tomorrow I will check Whole Foods and find a good all purpose GF.
        Guess what is it for dinner tonight? Lentil loaf, such a staple at home!

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