Carrot Cake Cupcakes With Easy “Cream Cheese” Frosting {Gluten Free & Paleo}

I wasn’t going to share this recipe until next week but I just couldn’t help myself! How could I put off sharing a rich and moist gluten free carrot cake with an EASY dairy and refined sugar free cream cheese frosting recipe?

I didn’t get near as many pictures as I would’ve liked, but carrot cake is pretty easy to make – especially if you have a food processor to grate the carrots for you 🙂

After you toast the nuts (which I do in the microwave ’cause I’m lazy!) and grate the carrots, you just mix together the dry ingredients, the wet, then stir them together. That’s it!

Here are a few of the pics I managed to get while I was busily baking  🙂




Then, after they have cooled completely, just frost them with my easy cream cheese frosting!

My Frosting:

My frosting uses the flavors of my original cream cheese frosting with the simplicity of my buttercream frosting – it’s a perfect marriage! Not only does it have the taste and texture of “real” cream cheese frosting, but it couldn’t be simpler to make. It almost makes me want to cry!!! I’m sure I will be using this recipe for all sorts of things – cinnamon rolls, yeast free cinnamon rolls, cinnamon roll cupcakes, pumpkin spice muffins……

And if you notice, the recipe calls for almond or cashew butter. I like to add nut butter to my frostings because it gives it depth of flavor and adds a dairy-like texture. I know that cashew and almond butter can be expensive, but now you can buy the Artisana 1.19 oz squeeze packs (this is not an affiliate link) for only $1.49 online and at most health food stores! Or you could even make your own, it’s super easy!

pin for later:

* Here’s the Grain Free Baking Powder Recipe I use.

**I HAVE NOT tested this, but to make a double layer 9 in. round carrot cake, I would probably double the recipe but only use 5 eggs (not 6) and bake in 2 parchment lined and greased pans about 35 minutes or until nicely browned.

5 from 2 votes
Print Recipe

Carrot Cake Cupcakes With Easy Cream Cheese Frosting {Grain, Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Refined Sugar Free}

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 or 9 Cupcakes


  • Carrot Cake Cupcakes:
  • 3/4 C Blanched Almond Flour Honeyville Brand
  • 1/4 C + 2 Tbsp. Arrowroot or Tapioca Flour
  • 1/4 Tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tsp. Grain Free Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Tsp. Sea Salt
  • 3/4 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1/4 C Honey
  • 2 Tbsp. Grapeseed Oil or neutral tasting melted oil
  • 1/4 C Chopped Walnuts or Pecans
  • 1 1/4 C Carrots Grated or Finely Chopped
  • 1 Tsp. Pure Vanilla

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 C Non-Hydrogenated Shortening
  • 1/2 C Non-Dairy Butter or Ghee or omit and add an additional 1/2 C shortening
  • 1/2 C Honey
  • 1 Tsp. Creamy Almond or Cashew Butter
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 Tsp. Salt omit if almond butter has salt
  • 2 Tsp. Pure Vanilla
  • 1 or 2 Drops Vanilla Stevia optional


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line the muffin tin with 8 or 9 muffin cups.
  2. Place the chopped walnuts or pecans in a microwave safe plate or bowl and heat 30 seconds. Stir and repeat until fragrant (about 3 times). You can also toast them in the oven but I find this is easier and faster 🙂
  3. Grate the carrots in a food processor or by hand. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, arrowroot, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, oil, and honey. Then stir in the carrots and nuts.
  6. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry.
  7. Scoop a heaping 1/4 C of batter into the lined muffin tins.
  8. Bake 18 - 23 minutes or until nicely browned.
  9. Cool Completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. Blend all ingredients on low for 30 seconds or until well combined.
  2. Turn speed to medium-high and blend until smooth.
  3. Place in refrigerator 10 - 20 minutes to firm up if needed. Frosting hardens if left in fridge.

Update - You can also add Solidified Refined Coconut Oil 1 Tbsp at a time to thicken as needed without placing in the fridge 🙂

this post is part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays Gluten Free Wednesdays, Whole Food Wednesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Gluten Free Fridays, and Fat Tuesdays


Posted September 10, 2013 by Cassidy in Cupcakes & Frostings, Desserts, Milk & Cheese Substitutes, Paleo / 36 Comments


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36 responses to “Carrot Cake Cupcakes With Easy “Cream Cheese” Frosting {Gluten Free & Paleo}

  1. […] I’ve been working on cinnamon roll cupcakes for quite awhile now. I’ve tried many variations, but this one is definitely the best. In most cinnamon roll cupcake recipes they just sprinkle a cinnamon sugar mixture into the batter, but I like this recipe because it adds softened butter to the cinnamon sugar mixture to give it more of an authentic flavor (cinnamon rolls are drenched with butter!) and just a bit of arrowroot to make up for the extra moisture. Then I topped it with cream cheese frosting. SO GOOD! A cinnamon roll without all the work *You can also use my Paleo Vanilla Cupcake Recipe then skip to step 7! Here’s the link to my Cream Cheese Frosting! […]

  2. Lynn

    HI! I am absolutely THRILLED that I stumbled onto your recipe. I have been looking for a frosting recipe for a long time.

    Just curious, what kind of shortening are you using that is soy free? I am tired of using earth balance to do everything with, so it would be good to know.


    • Cassidy

      Hi Lynn!

      I use Spectrum organic non-hydrogenated all vegetable shortening 🙂 I think you can buy it on Amazon -but it’s expensive. So I get mine at my local health food store, it’s more around 10 dollars there for 24 oz. Hope you like it!!!


  3. The texture of these muffins….I can’t wait! I will probably try to replace some of the almond flour for my tummy, bu carrot cake is one of my favorites!I am featuring your recipe on AFW this week, thanks for sharing it with us!

    • Cassidy

      Thank you so much for featuring me!!! If you successfully replace the almond flour shoot me a comment and let me know what you did!

      Thanks again,

    • Cassidy

      Hi Rebecca,

      I have tried it with 1 C of shortening and with 1/2 shortening and 1/2 butter, so I can’t say for sure. If you made it with all butter it might not be as thick and would probably need to be kept in the fridge and I have no idea how it would turn out with the coconut oil! If you try either of these substitutions leave another comment to let us know how it tuned out 🙂

      Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.


  4. OH, saving this to make for the hubs, he LOVES carrot cake! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂

    Hope your week is great!

    Cindy from

  5. Shella

    Thank you very much for posting this . I made these carrot cake cupcakes this evening, doubling the recipe. I did use a different cream cheese frosting recipe, but yours looks great as well. Anyway, the cupcakes came out incredibly moist and not overly sweet. i was very, very pleased with the texture. I did substitute maple flavored agave for the honey (I just reduced the amount called for by 1/4th) and added some golden raisins for extra texture and subtle sweetness. My husband, a long-time carrot cake lover, was overjoyed with the outcome of these cupcakes. I’m also forever grateful that your recipe does not uses coconut oil. I like coconut oil, but it imparts a very distinct taste into everything it goes into. It’s refreshing to actually NOT taste that. Thank you again!

    • Cassidy

      Thank you for the nice comment Shella – I’m so happy you and your husband liked them! …You probably already know this, but if you use refined coconut oil instead of unrefined it will not have as strong of a coconut flavor. But I agree, it seems like so many gluten and dairy free recipes rely on coconut and sometimes you just don’t want a coconut flavor!

      Thanks again!

  6. Amy Snyder

    I just tried these cupcakes last night and boy was I pleasantly surprised. I did substitute a couple items. I used Agave nectar for the honey, sunflower oil for the grapeseed, and Sunbutter for the almond butter. I did have a question. My frosting didn’t turn out as pretty and fluffy as yours looked. It also looks like it was sweating after I put it on the cooled cupcakes. Any thoughts of what I may have done wrong?

    • Cassidy

      Hi Amy!

      I’m so happy you liked my cupcakes and that your substitutions worked!!!

      I’ve made that frosting several times and I’ve never had it turn out like that??? I always use the spectrum brand of non-hydrogenated shortening and Earth Balance butter, maybe it’s a difference in brands? Maybe you could try adding just a bit more shortening until it reaches the right consistency or even some xanthan gum to thicken it up next time. Let me know if that helps!


  7. Hi! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone!
    Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look
    forward to all your posts! Keep up the superb work!

  8. JK

    yours was my 3rd attempt at a dairy free cream cheese frosting and yours was the winner, by far!! The others had a weird cashew nut flavor or too coconutty flavor. I used agave instead of honey and added cinnamon. Great job!! Thanks for the great recipe.

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