1 Bowl Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes | picklesnhoney.com

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

1 Bowl Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes | picklesnhoney.com

Spring officially starts in a few days and I am so pumped! Last week marked the first glimmers of warmer weather, when the temperatures suddenly switched from the teens to the high 30s into the 40s. For many of you I know this is still cold, but for us in Boston, it’s glorious. And although this was a particularly long, cold, and oh-so-snowy winter, I’m having a hard time believing it’s already mid-March. I would say “where does the time go?” but I know most of it went to shoveling and chipping ice.

Aaron and I are now gearing up for our epic road trip, hopefully beginning sometime in May. We want to take an adventure through a lot (and I mean a lot) of the national parks throughout the continental U.S., see some new places and also some old places we hurried through four years ago when we moved from Boston to San Francisco and then back again. We did that first cross-country drive in about 7 days, which meant we saw most of the country via car on the highway—no real way to see the country. For this next trip, it’s less about getting from point A to point B and more about exploring and seeing where that leads us.

1 Bowl Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes | picklesnhoney.com

We put together a tentative list of places we want to see and so far we have about 70 (it’s a lot). Originally, we were thinking we’d do a few days at most stops, or about 5-6 months of travel, and just rent out our condo furnished. Then snowpocolypse happened a few times and caused some water damage that can’t get fixed until warmer weather, so the prospect of listing our place in April for a short-term rental in May seemed less and less likely. We also realized traveling for 5-6 months would put us back in Boston in October/November, just in time for winter. Not great. Now we’re thinking we’ll try to rent out our condo for a year and ideally stay put for a bit somewhere warm and see if we can skip winter altogether. That idea has us very excited.

There are still a lot of what-ifs and to-dos, but we’re committed to making this happen. Both of us are work-focused, risk-averse, practical people and this adventure will take us way out of our comfort zones, in different respects for each of us. Aaron leaving behind a previous business, me taking this blog on the road. Aaron setting his sights on landscape photography, me wanting to get over my fear of the unknown (and also bugs, because I really don’t like bugs). We don’t want to put this trip off to keep working and hustling, because we know this is one of those ‘seize the day’ moments when we’re in between things and semi-settled but not tied down. It’s a re-evaluation of the lifestyle we thought we wanted up until just recently, and also a pre-tirement of sorts. Why wait?

1 Bowl Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes | picklesnhoney.com

With so many things in the works, up in the air, and just coming down from a particularly stressful and trying winter, we find ourselves gravitating towards familiar and comforting foods, with a happy sprinkling of desserts. Carrot cake is that comforting treat for me. The cake part took me less trials than expected to perfect, but the vegan cream cheese frosting was surprisingly tricky. I kept ending up with more of an icing than a frosting, which is still delicious, but I was going for fluffy and the ability to pile it high. Version #5 finally hit the mark, using a combination of vegan cream cheese and buttery spread instead of all cream cheese. As a result, the frosting has a subtle buttery flavor that’s hard to resist, in addition to holding its shape so you can go equal amounts cake to frosting if that’s your thing.

1 Bowl Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes | picklesnhoney.com

These vegan carrot cake cupcakes are simple to bake and you only need 1 bowl. This recipe is also more wholesome than most and uses light spelt flour, lower-glycemic coconut sugar, coconut milk, and a small(ish) amount of unrefined coconut oil. I used the coconut milk to replace much of the oil that’s standard in most carrot cake recipes, all without compromising texture or flavor.

With a rich cream cheese frosting, a light crumb, and lots of texture from the carrots, walnuts, raisins, pineapple, and coconut, these are vegan carrot cake cupcakes you’ll want to make again and again.

1 Bowl Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes | picklesnhoney.com


Carrot Cake Cupcakes

1 Bowl Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes | picklesnhoney.com

Carrot Cake Cupcakes


Serves: about 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 27 mins

Total Time: 47 mins

Easy Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes with a rich vegan cream cheese frosting, a light crumb, and lots of texture. These are cupcakes you'll want to make again and again.

1 Bowl Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes | picklesnhoney.com

Carrot Cake Cupcakes



For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup light spelt flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely grated carrots
  • 2/3 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded dried coconut
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, plus additional for decorating
  • 1/4 cup raisins

For the frosting:

  • 5 tablespoons vegan cream cheese (pour off any liquid on top before measuring)
  • 5 tablespoons vegan buttery spread
  • 2 cups vegan powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cuisine: Vegan Servings: about 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 mins Cook Time: 27 mins Total Time: 47 mins

Easy Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes with a rich vegan cream cheese frosting, a light crumb, and lots of texture. These are cupcakes you'll want to make again and again.


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake tin with 12 liners.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Add in the coconut sugar, coconut milk, coconut oil, and vanilla and mix until smooth. Stir in the carrots, pineapple, coconut, walnuts, and raisins. Portion the batter into the cupcake liners. I like to use an ice cream scoop to measure evenly.
  • Bake for 27-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  • While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting. Clean out the large mixing bowl you used to make the cupcakes and add the vegan cream cheese and buttery spread. Use an electric hand or stand mixer to beat the cream cheese and buttery spread, then mix in 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar at a time. Beat until smooth and creamy, then stir in the vanilla. Spread a layer of frosting on top of the cupcakes and garnish with chopped walnuts. Enjoy!

Copyright © 2021 Amanda Maguire for Pickles & Honey

Leave a Comment

  1. Sounds like an amazing adventure in the making! Can’t wait to see how it plays out—thrilled for you both!

  2. Shana says

    Can’t wait to follow the adventure! That’s so exciting!

  3. Kate says

    Oh my gosh, you are basically going to be living my dream! This is great – I can live vicariously. Certainly cheaper than hiring a private jet to get me there 😉 I’ve been on a bit of an inadvertent (Invisalign-induced) starvation diet lately, and one of the things that my brain keeps conjuring up in my sleep to torment me is carrot cake cupcakes, with mountains of cream cheese frosting. Obviously my brain is so clever that it telepathically convinced you to post this recipe. I’m gonna pat myself on the back for that, and go and try to find out if my silly town even stocks vegan cream cheese so I can make a few hundred of these. *fingers crossed*

    1. Amanda says

      My fingers are crossed that your town has vegan cream cheese, Kate! I’m excited to blog on the road and share our adventures. I’m also anxious for what that will do to the recipes I share (“how to make a vegan dinner from a gas station store” comes to mind) but we’ll figure it out!

  4. Caitlin says

    what an exciting trip. i cannot wait to hear more details. also- i didnt know there was a difference between icing and frosting. (and also, carrot cake is my favorite.)

  5. I cannot express how excited I am for you guys for this trip! It is going to be amazing and I am a teensy bit jealous but know I will get to live through your pictures and stories so it will be okay! Haha. Please please do reach out if you need any tips on places at NPs here in the west, we’ve camped and adventured to quite a few! AND – Ahhhh skip that winter and make it a year long journey! That sounds THE BEST. Way to go challenging yourselves and jumping into the unknown and taking a risk. So. Pumped. For. You! (Juts pack lots of these yummy cupcakes, and s’mores. Don’t forget the s’mores. They are a camping food group.)

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks, Jessie!! I will almost certainly be reaching out to you soon to get your input on places to see in the west! We have a loooong list and I’m sure we’ll keep adding/refining as we go. Good reminder on the s’mores! Aaron would agree that they are a (camping) food group.

  6. Good luck with your road trip planning – that sounds so amazing. Maybe someday me and the Mr. can do that too. These cupcakes also look wonderful. What brand of vegan cream cheese do you use?

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks, Michelle! I used the vegan cream cheese from TJ’s, but other brands should work. Just be sure to pour off any liquid on the top when you first open the container to keep the frosting from being too thin.

  7. Rosanna says

    What a great adventure! Traveling, exploring new places, is how we grow as individuals. There’s so much to see and so many people to meet out there, that if we don’t travel how will you know? I think you need to pursue this dream and continue blogging from a gas station, side of the road, mountain top, etc… BTW, these cupcakes look divine! Can’t wait to make them!.. Thanks for all you do Amanda!

    1. Amanda says

      Thank you for the very sweet and wise words, Rosanna! I feel the same way about exploring new things/places being key to growth. One thing I’ve realized in the last few years is that you really don’t know until you just do something!

  8. Kait says



    Omg I’m so fucking happy for you and yay!!!!!!! *squee*

    …and now back to prepping to teach tomorrow’s class on sexological anatomy and physiology. dfkajds;lfji43jrf;kls


    OMG actually a PS thought – I hope you end up somewhere the beau has to travel since we’ve decided I’ll go with him on longer trips and then we can rendezvous and veg-out in various parts of the country. How amazing would that be?

    Done now for reals. xox

    1. Amanda says

      I LOVE your enthusiasm! It’s contagious. <3 I'll share a loose itinerary before we leave. It would be awesome to meet up!!

  9. Jeni says

    I can’t wait to follow along on your adventure. It sounds like it will be amazing! And these cupcakes look so delicious! Carrot Cake is my favorite cake and your recipe sounds divine!

    1. Amanda says

      Thank you, Jeni! I hope you treat yourself to some carrot cake cupcakes soon!

  10. Just made these! And they are deeeeelicious! I’ve eaten three before they could even cool down. *hehe* At the rate I’m polishing them off, I may have to make a second batch to bring to my family dinner tonight. Excellent recipe! Love all of the mix-ins.

    1. Amanda says

      That’s awesome, Courtney! I also had to have one warm out of the oven…for quality control, you know. 😉

  11. Ashlae says

    Amen to road trips that are less about arriving and more about enjoying the heck out of the journey. I feel a little embarrassed to say that we’ve seen more of Europe than we have of North America, and I’m thinking that’s going to need to change pretty soon. Can’t wait to see where your adventures take you! Zion is at the top of my list. But should your journey bring you to the Rockies, let me know. 😉

    OH! And these cupcakes! I was looking for a carrot cake recipe and am so happy I stumbled upon these. They’re getting made tonight. Except I’m going to be halving the recipe because the last thing I need is an entire batch of cupcakes hanging around. HA!

    1. Amanda says

      Zion looks incredible, doesn’t it?! We were originally thinking we’d head south first allll the way down to Florida and cut across to New Orleans, Austin, etc but now we’re planning to head west first so we can hang out in SoCal or somewhere WARM for next winter before making our way east again. Colorado is definitely on our list of stops!! We’d love to see the Great Sand Dunes, Gunnison and San Juan National forests…I’ll reach out once we have a more finalized plan!

      And I hope you love the cupcakes! Very smart to halve the recipe. I should do that instead of constantly trying to convince friends/family they need half of a cake. 😉

  12. Kay says

    Hello! I’m new to your blog and I’m always looking for new recipes to try. My niece recently decided to become a vegan and her birthday is coming up soon and I wanted to surprise her with your carrot cupcakes. Can you tell me what kind of vegan cream cheese you use? I have read so many things on different brands, and was curious on what kind you are using in your recipes. Also, your blog is wonderful! I have enjoyed seeing the different recipes and I’m going to try some of them for myself.

    1. Hi Kay! Thank you so much for the kind words. <3 That's wonderful that you're planning to bake your newly-vegan niece some carrot cake cupcakes for her birthday--I hope she loves them! I usually buy Trader Joe's vegan cream cheese, but Tofutti also works well, and my husband likes the Kite Hill brand (it's a bit more expensive). Just make sure you pour off any liquid from the top of it before measuring since that can make the frosting too thin. 🙂 Happy baking!

  13. Michelle says

    I love your carrot cake cupcakes! Can I assume these have to be kept refrigerated?

    1. Thanks, Michelle! I typically refrigerate mine. If it’s chilly where you live (and it is in Boston right now), they might be okay at room temperature for a couple of days.


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