Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Dairy-Free Frosting

5 from 1 vote
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Moist and tender dairy-free and gluten-free cupcakes made with a carrot cake twist! Featuring a delicious dairy-free cream cheese frosting, these cupcakes are the perfect treat! 

an up close photo of gluten-free cupcakes topped with frosting and crushed walnuts.

What Makes This Recipe Great

It never hurts to have a killer cupcake recipe in your back pocket. Whether they’re for a birthday, special occasion, or just because, cupcakes are the ultimate treat. My girls absolutely love cupcakes, and I love to make them! And if you love this recipe, you must try my Gluten-Free Cookie Dough Cake

For this recipe, I decided to make dairy-free, gluten-free cupcakes so they’re a bit more allergy-friendly for y’all. The best part? These carrot cake cupcakes don’t taste any different! They’re just as moist, tender, and tasty as the original version, but without any dairy or wheat gluten. Let’s get baking!

Ingredient Notes

recipe ingredients in nesting bowls and labeled

Gluten-Free Cupcakes

  • Gluten-Free Flour Blend: Use a 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose flour. I like Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur brands. These are all-in-one blends that contain xanthan gum which helps the texture and structure of gluten-free desserts and baked goods. 
  • Baking Powder
  • Cornstarch
  • Salt
  • Vegan Unsalted Butter: If you’re not dairy-free, you can use regular butter. Applesauce will also work as a substitute for butter. 
  • Sugar 
  • Brown Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Almond Milk: I used almond milk, but you are welcome to use your favorite dairy-free milk. 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Nutmeg
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Walnuts: Omit for nut-free. 

Frosting

  • Vegan Butter: Use your favorite vegan butter sticks. If you’re not dairy free, you can use regular butter. 
  • Dairy-Free Cream Cheese: I like Kite Hill, but feel free to use your favorite brand. If you’re not dairy-free, feel free to use regular cream cheese. 
  • Pure Vanilla Extract: For a deeper vanilla flavor, use vanilla bean paste. 
  • Powdered Sugar

Step-by-Step Instructions

numbered step by step photos showing how to make this recipe
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a standing mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, around 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides as needed. On medium speed, beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla extract. Beat until just combined.
  4. Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with your mixer on low speed. Beat just until combined, don’t over-mix. Add milk and beat until combined. Add the other half of the dry mix and fold in by hand. This is to ensure you don’t overmix the batter. 
  5. Add the carrots and fold them in using a spatula. 
  6. Fill each paper liner with 3/4 cupcake batter and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Remove the gluten-free cupcakes from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack. Allow them to cool completely before icing.
  8. Use a 2A piping tip and frost each cupcake.
an overhead photo of carrot cake cupcakes topped with crushed walnuts

Frosting

  1. Whip together the butter and cream cheese. Beat until creamy and well-combined. Add the vanilla extract and beat again until incorporated. With the mixer on low, gradually add powdered sugar until completely combined.
  2. Add vanilla extract and beat again until incorporated. With the mixer on low, gradually add powdered sugar until completely combined.
a gluten-free cupcake cut in half to show the middle

Mac’s Pro TipS

Expert Tips

  • Mixer: If you don’t have a stand mixer, feel free to use an electric mixer and a large mixing bowl. 
  • Frosting: Allow the cupcakes to cool completely to room temperature before frosting them. Otherwise, the frosting will not hold up its structure. 
  • Equipment: Besides the mixer, you’ll need muffin tins, measuring cups, measuring spoons, a cooling rack, a whisk, and paper cupcake liners. 

Storage Tips

  • Place leftover gluten-free cupcakes in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • To freeze, wrap unfrosted cupcakes in plastic wrap and then place them in a freezer-safe airtight container or Ziploc freezer bag. Store for up to 2-3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge, frost, and serve. 
half of a carrot cake cupcake showing the middle and frosted top.

Recipe FAQs

Do gluten-free cupcakes taste different?

Depending on the ingredients used, yes, there can be a difference in taste in gluten-free baking. However, this particular recipe tastes almost exactly the same as regular cupcakes! They are moist with a tender crumb, perfect texture and structure, and delicious frosting! 

Is gluten-free flour good for cupcakes?

It really depends on the flour alternative used. 1:1 or measure for measure all-purpose gluten-free flour blends contain xanthan gum, which serves the same purpose as gluten in wheat flour. It helps with the texture and structure of the cupcake. I don’t recommend substituting an alternative flour unless you are a skilled and experienced baker. 

What gluten-free flour is best for these cupcakes?

I always test and recommend all-in-one blends that are a 1:1 swap with all-purpose flour. My favorite brand is Bob Red’s Mill Gluten-Free1:1 Baking Flour. My other favorite all-in-one blends include Cup4Cup Gluten-Free Flour and King Arthur Gluten-Free.

More Gluten-Free Desserts

If you try these gluten-free cupcakes, be sure to leave a star rating and comment below!

an up close photo of gluten-free cupcakes topped with frosting and crushed walnuts.

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Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Dairy-Free Frosting

5 from 1 vote
Moist and tender dairy-free and gluten-free cupcakes made with a carrot cake twist! Featuring a delicious dairy-free cream cheese frosting, these cupcakes are the perfect treat! 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Servings: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients  

Gluten-Free Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour I use Bob Red's Mill Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegan unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • cup walnuts

Dairy-Free Frosting

  • 1/2 stick vegan butter
  • 8 oz dairy-free cream cheese I used Kite Hill
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups powdered sugar

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake pan with liners.
  • Mix Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.
  • Cream Butter: In a standing mixer using the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, around 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides as needed. On medium speed, beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla extract. Beat until just combined
  • Combine: Add half of the dry ingredients with the mixer on low speed. Beat just until combined, don't over mix. Add milk and beat until combined. Add the other half of the dry mix and fold in by hand. This is to ensure you don't overmix the batter.
  • Add the carrots and fold in using a spatula.
  • Fill The Liners: Fill each liner with 3/4 batter and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Frosting

  • Whip together the butter and cream cheese. Beat until creamy and well-combined. Add the vanilla extract and beat again until incorporated. With mixer on low, gradually add powdered sugar until completely combined.
  • Add vanilla extract and beat again until incorporated. With mixer on low, gradually add powdered sugar until completely combined.

Building The Cupcake

  • Remove the gluten-free cupcakes from oven and allow to completely cool before icing.
  • Use a 2A piping tip and frost each cupcake

Notes

Expert Tips

    • Mixer: If you don’t have a stand mixer, feel free to use an electric mixer and a large mixing bowl. 
    • Frosting: Allow the cupcakes to cool completely to room temperature before frosting them. Otherwise, the frosting will not hold up its structure. 
    • Equipment: Besides the mixer, you’ll need muffin tins, measuring cups, measuring spoons, a cooling rack, a whisk, and paper cupcake liners. 
    • Gluten-Free Flour: I always test and recommend all-in-one blends that are a 1:1 swap with all-purpose flour. My favorite brand is Bob Red’s Mill Gluten-Free1:1 Baking Flour. My other favorite all-in-one blends include Cup4Cup Gluten-Free Flour and King Arthur Gluten-Free.

Storage Tips

    • Place leftover gluten-free cupcakes in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
    • To freeze, wrap unfrosted cupcakes in plastic wrap and then place them in a freezer-safe airtight container or Ziploc freezer bag. Store for up to 2-3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge, frost, and serve. 

Nutrition

Calories: 504kcal | Carbohydrates: 83g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 357mg | Potassium: 95mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 68g | Vitamin A: 2894IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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About Me

Mother, wife, cookbook author, recipe creator an open book

Welcome to Healthy Little Peach. I’m Mac, the lady behind the recipes. I believe in living a healthy lifestyle that consists of a mix of healthy whole foods, and full-fat comfort meals. Life is too short not to enjoy good food while maintaining a healthy body and mind. Here you will find gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, keto, and even full-fat comfort recipes. Let’s have fun in the kitchen together!

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