Filled with earthy carrots, cozy warming spices, beautiful color, and a decadent creamy frosting, carrot cake is a favorite for a reason. It's sweet enough to feel dessert-worthy, yet loaded with enough veggies and fruit to still feel brunch-worthy. Thanks to all the complex flavors (I love to load mine up with cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, nutmeg, and cardamon), it's more balanced and nuanced than most desserts. Plus it works year-round, seamlessly transitioning between seasons thanks to its diverse flavors. Simply put, carrot cake is an overall winner.
Traditional carrot cake, however, isn't great nutritionally. Of course some are better than others, but many recipes rely upon refined flours, lots of added sugar, oils, and a bunch of heavy dairy. Accordingly, carrot cake has mostly been something I enjoy as an occasional treat. That pattern ends here. With my Raw Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes, you can have carrot cake for breakfast, lunch, or an everyday dessert!
These vegan carrot cake bites are made with a short list of simple, whole-food, raw ingredients. Plus they come together quickly, in less than half an hour, so there's no reason not to make them weekly. I'm beyond excited about this recipe and intend to enjoy healthy carrot cake much more frequently now.
Carrot Cake: A Love Story
An additional reason why I love carrot cake so much: it was our wedding cake! We eloped and got married on the beach, so we just had a tiny cake. But it was more than perfect, filled with an abundance of carrot, lots of cozy cinnamon, and both pineapple and coconut for tropical flair (since we got married on Kaua'i). It was even decorated with edible orchids! We of course had slices during our sunset/moonrise picnic after our ceremony, but we also had a slice in bed the next morning for breakfast, and saved a few slices for desserts the following week.
Needless to say, carrot cake is a very nostalgic dessert for us. I've always wanted to make a healthy carrot cake on our anniversary, but I've just never found a recipe with ingredients I really love. Further, it seems silly to make a whole big cake for two people. So, although we both love carrot cake, it hasn't made a very frequent appearance in the almost ten years since we got married.
This raw vegan carrot cake cupcake recipe solves all those problems. It's a nutritional powerhouse, makes a relatively small batch, and makes single-portion, transportable cupcakes rather than an unwieldy cake. Plus it's all raw, so there's no fussing with the oven, and it's fast and easy to make. Now I can pretend it's always our anniversary and make vegan carrot cake every week!
Do Vegan Desserts Taste Good?
Vegan desserts are often misunderstood and have an (undeserved) reputation of being less tasty than "real" desserts. As with many of my dessert recipes, I'm here to prove that misconception wrong. Desserts don't need to be loaded up with heavy dairy to be delicious. In fact, I'd argue that getting rid of all the fillers (white flour, white sugar, vegetable oil, cream, etc., none of which have much taste) actually yields a dessert with more intense flavors.
In this vegan carrot cake recipe, there are no filler ingredients. Everything is there for a reason, and every item on the ingredient list is packed with flavor. While these cute healthy carrot cake cupcakes might be small, their flavor is mighty! They're loaded with sweet and chewy dates, earthy carrots, crunchy walnuts, fragrant coconut, zippy ginger, and a bunch of warming spices. You can really taste all those beautiful, nourishing ingredients because there's nothing obscuring them. They're topped with a decadent layer of coconut butter, which is tastier (and much better for you) than traditional frosting.
Fast, Easy, and Customizable
These Raw Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes are a breeze to prepare. You'll just add all the ingredients to a food processor and blitz them, then press the mixture into a miniature muffin tin. Top each cupcake with a thin layer of coconut butter and let them set in the freezer. That's it! They take less than half an hour from beginning to end, and you only have one thing to wash.
You'll see in the directions that I suggest using a silicone mini muffin pan for these cute, healthy carrot cake cupcakes since it makes them a breeze to unmold. If you don't have a silicone one, a metal mini muffin pan is fine too, but in that case I'd use mini muffin liners. Only have a regular-sized muffin pan? No problem. Just make a smaller number (maybe 6-8) of slightly bigger cupcakes, again using muffin liners if you work with a metal pan. Because these are a no-bake treat, you don't have to worry about size and cooking time, so feel free to experiment with whatever sizes and shapes you like.
Good news! Because these cupcakes need to set in the freezer before you unmold them, they're by definition a make-ahead dessert. Isn't that great? You can make these healthy carrot cake cupcakes up to a few days ahead of time. Just store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator, then serve them chilled since they'll hold their shape better. They make for a great dessert for a party or even a brunch since all the prep can be done ahead of time.
Let's Talk Ingredients
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Dates. I love the dates from D'VASH. They're super flavorful and have a decadent texture. Use the code ROGUE to get 20% off your order! These have become my go-to dates for cooking, baking, stuffing, and eating plain.
Carrots. The star of this healthy carrot cake recipe! You'll need a cup and a half of finely grated carrots, which will be about two carrots. Use the finest size your grater has, otherwise the cupcakes won't stick together well.
Ginger. As written, the recipe calls for fresh grated ginger. It won't be nearly as flavorful, but you can use 0.5-1 tsp ginger powder instead if needed. I've also made these very successfully using 8-10 cubes of crystallized ginger, which has a fabulous flavor (although note that they won't be raw cupcakes if you use crystallized ginger).
Coconut butter. Creamy dreamy coconut butter is the perfect finish for these vegan carrot cake cupcakes. Look for it in jars in the nut butter section of artisan grocery stores. This is NOT the same thing as coconut oil or coconut cream.
Doesn't this recipe make all your vegan carrot cake dreams come true? It's everything I've always wanted in a carrot cake. These cute cupcakes are jam-packed with nourishing ingredients, very easy to make, no-bake, and absolutely delicious. I'm confident they'll become a near-weekly treat for us.
How will YOU enjoy these Raw Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes? Will you make them for a spring brunch or a summer party? Perhaps have one as a post-workout treat since they're high in protein and healthy fats? Have a few for breakfast since they're just veggies and nuts? Thanks to the nourishing ingredients in these cupcakes, there's no reason not to have carrot cake every day!
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
Disclosure: D'VASH is a long-term partner. I receive free product from D'VASH and take a small commission on sales using the discount code. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Rogue Brussel Sprout running.
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Carrot cake gets a nourishing makeover with these nutrient-packed, protein-rich, adorable Raw Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes. Because carrot cake should be for everyday, not just special occasions, right??
Cut each date open to ensure that the pit has been removed.
To a food processor, add all of the ingredients except for the coconut butter.
Process just until the carrot cake mixture is homogeneous throughout and sticks together when rolled into a ball.
Press the carrot cake mixture into the 12 holes of a flexible, silicone miniature muffin pan. Conversely, if using a metal pan, use mini muffin liners. Press the mixture firmly so that it sticks together well and has an even, flat top, leaving about an eighth of an inch of space at the top of each hole.
If needed, warm up the coconut butter slightly so that it is liquid enough to be drizzled. Spoon about a teaspoon of coconut butter onto the top of each cupcake, adding enough so that the top is completely covered.
Place the mini muffin pan in the freezer for at least several hours or ideally overnight. To remove the cupcakes, gently press upward from the bottom, turning each silicone mold inside-out.
Store the carrot cake cupcakes in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for several weeks.