Carrot cake has always been a favorite of mine, so I decided to give it a healthier makeover today with these vegan and gluten-free carrot cake muffins.
They’re made with gluten-free oat flour, which gives them a heartier texture than a traditional cupcake, but they’re also a bit more moist and chewy than your average muffin. These healthy muffins are loaded with nutrient rich ingredients, including fresh pineapple, shredded carrots, unsweetened coconut, coconut oil, and oat flour to leave you feeling satisfied all morning long. They’d make an excellent addition to your next brunch!
While many gluten-free recipes require that you mix multiple flours and starches to create a gluten-free flour blend, I prefer to work with only one flour in a recipe. Otherwise it just sounds too complicated and overwhelming to me!
What I love about these carrot cake muffins is that they are:
- Gluten-free, made with only one flour
- Naturally sweetened with coconut sugar
- Super moist
- and easy to prepare!
The result is a muffin that’s easy to whip together, but the trade-off is that the texture is a little different than you might expect. Oat flour has a slightly gummy and doughy texture, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing (particularly since this recipe is egg-free, so you don’t have to worry about under-baking them), but it’s not the crumb you might expect when you bite into a traditional muffin. I’d recommend you make a batch to taste for yourself before baking them for crowd, just to make sure you like them as much as I do.
Since these vegan carrot cake muffins aren’t as light and fluffy as a standard cupcake made with white flour and sugar, I felt that a crumble topping was more appropriate, but you can skip it and serve these on their own, or top them with your favorite frosting, if you prefer. Perhaps you might enjoy them with my Creamy Cashew Frosting or Coconut Whipped Cream?
I added a light drizzle of a quick lemon and cashew glaze to give these muffins a little extra zip, but it’s totally optional. Because the glaze won’t set the way one would if it were made with powdered sugar, be sure to only add it right before serving so that the muffins won’t get soggy.
Vegan & Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Muffins
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free oat flour
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teapsoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
- 3/4 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup finely diced pineapple
Crumble Topping (optional)
Cashew Glaze (optional; contains nuts)
- 1 tablespoon cashew butter
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Water , as needed to thin
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line a standard muffin tin with 12 baking cups. (I used reusable silicone baking cups.)
- In a large bowl stir together the oat flour, coconut oil, coconut sugar, applesauce, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add in the vinegar and stir quickly-- you should see the batter get slightly fluffier from its reaction with the baking soda.
- Fold in the coconut, if using, carrots, and pineapple. The batter will most likely be thicker than traditional muffin batter, but that's okay! Use a 1/4 cup to scoop the batter into the 12 muffin cups.
- To prepare the crumble, stir together the flour, sugar, coconut, cinnamon, salt, and oil. Use you fingers to sprinkle the mixture evenly over the 12 muffin cups, the gently press the crumble down into the batter to help it stick.
- Bake until the tops feel firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool completely before serving.
- If you'd like to add a little extra flair to these muffins and don't need them to be nut-free, prepare the cashew glaze by stirring together the cashew butter, maple syrup and lemon juice. Add water one teaspoon at a time until just thin enough to drizzle over the muffins. Use a spoon to drizzle a teaspoon or so over each muffin right before serving.
- These muffins are best stored without the cashew glaze on top, and will last a week when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Per Serving: Calories: 247, Fat: 13g, Carbohydrates: 29g, Fiber: 4g, Protein: 3g
As you can see, these muffins are not like the over-sized bakery muffins that you might have come to expect. Because they are so nutrient-dense, I’ve chosen to keep them on the smaller side, so they won’t rise over the tops of your baking cups much. I think the portion size is perfect this way, but feel free to experiment on your own if you’d prefer to make larger muffins. (You’ll probably need to adjust the amount of ingredients as well as extend the baking time.)
As always, please leave a comment below if you make any substitutions. I haven’t tested this muffin recipe with any other flours or sweeteners, so you guess will be as good as mine. When you share your variations in the comments below, we will all benefit from your experience!
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