Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Carrot Cake Muffins (gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free, vegan)

Yay for gluten-free carrot cake muffins! I call these healthy little treats muffins, but once frosted they sure seem like cupcakes to me. They are packed full of carrot-goodness, as well as being very moist and light, even without the eggs. What a perfect treat for Mother's day or a Springtime gathering!

I've frosted them here using a Honey-Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below) but if you are dairy-free or vegan then use my Sweet Potato Buttercream Frosting recipe. Just be sure to use white-fleshed sweet potatoes (they have a light-tan skin), and stir in some finely grated orange zest at the end. This recipe is a perfect dairy-free, whole foods replacement for cream cheese frosting (and it looks like it too as long as you use the white sweet potatoes).

The trick to making these egg-free muffins light and fluffy is to add the carrots on top of the whisked dry ingredients, immediately then pour in the blended wet ingredients, and then mix them all together at once. If you stir in the carrots at the end, after your batter has been mixed up, then you will lose some of the trapped air that is formed from the reactions of the baking powder, baking soda, and acid ingredients (applesauce and orange juice). Then you must bake them right away in your preheated oven. Starting the baking process immediately after mixing the batter together helps to trap air and create lift! Both of these steps will help give the muffins the rise and lightness you normally get with eggs.

If you want to add other ingredients such as chopped walnuts and raisins, go ahead. A half cup of each should work well. Also....did I mention that these muffins are Elimination Diet friendly for Phase 2 and beyond (without the cream cheese frosting and citrus of course)! Enjoy!

Carrot Cake Muffins (gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free, vegan)

Serve these tender carrot cake muffins as cupcakes with the honey-cream cheese frosting below or as muffins without any frosting. If you are dairy-free or vegan, then you can use my Sweet Potato Buttercream Frosting recipe. If you don’t have orange juice, are sensitive to citrus, or on the Elimination Diet, then replace the ½ cup of orange juice with ½ cup of water and omit the orange zest. I’ve made them both ways and they are delicious!

Dry Ingredients:
1 ½ cups sorghum flour
½ cup arrowroot powder or tapioca flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 to 3 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 ½ cups packed grated carrots

Wet Ingredients:
½ cup packed pitted medjool dates (about 6 to 8)
½ cup boiling water
2 tablespoons ground golden flax seeds
1 tablespoon psyllium husks
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (or water)
½ cup melted coconut oil, grapeseed oil, or avocado oil
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ to ½ cup coconut sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with unbleached paper liners or grease the sides with coconut oil.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients except the carrots. Then add the grated carrots, but don’t mix together until you add in the wet ingredients.

Place the dates into a small bowl and cover with the boiling water. Let rest for about 15 minutes. Then add to a blender (water and dates). Add the ground flax, psyllium husks, orange juice, oil, applesauce, and coconut sugar. Blend on high until super smooth and creamy. Pour wet mixture into dry and mix together.

Drop batter evenly into muffin cups. With wet hands, gently smooth the tops if desired. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove muffins from pan and let cool on a wire rack before frosting. The muffins will be quite fragile hot out of the oven but once cooled, are the perfect texture.

~Zest your orange using a Microplane grater before you juice it.
~Grind your flax seeds in a coffee grinder that is not being used for coffee or use the Dry Container of your Vitamix. If you use the latter then you'll need to grind at least 1/2 cup at once in order for the seeds to break down into a fine meal.
~Be sure to use whole psyllium husks, not psyllium husk powder.
~Use anywhere from ¼ to ½ cup coconut sugar, depending on how sweet you would like them. I’ve made them both ways.
~If you are following our Elimination Diet then you can have some baked treats on a very limited basis. This recipe would be great if your elimination diet falls on a special occasion. Just be sure to omit the orange zest and replace the orange juice with water. And don't use the dairy-based cream cheese frosting recipe of course! Also...use my Corn-Free Baking Powder in this recipe while on the Elimination Diet. You can find my recipe for that at the end of the Breads and Muffins chapter in The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook.

Honey-Cream Cheese Frosting

This frosting recipe makes enough to generously frost one dozen cupcakes/muffins, with a little extra leftover. For a delicious variation try omitting the orange zest and replace it with ½ to 1 teaspoon raw vanilla powder for a lovely vanilla cream cheese frosting!

2 packs organic cream cheese (8 ounces each)
6 to 8 tablespoons raw honey
2 to 3 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
3 to 4 tablespoons arrowroot powder

Place all ingredients into a small mixing bowl and beat together using an electric mixer.

Other Egg-Free, Gluten-Free Treats:

Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies
Shortbread Cookies
Blueberry-Lemon Scones

To view all of my gluten-free, egg-free baked goods, please click here. At the bottom of each page click "older posts" to get to the next page with more recipes tagged egg-free. :)

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Hi Ali!
    These look so yummy! We have been enjoying your overnight cinnamon muffins from your cookbook this week. My kids are requesting batch after batch.

    I can't tolerate flax or psyllium. I am wondering if in general it's possible to sub an egg back in or is it best to just make different recipes. I have been wanting to ask you this question for awhile.

    Thank you for all your wonderful recipes!


    1. Hi Sara,

      Thanks for the feedback....glad your children are enjoying that recipe! :) The flax and psyllium not only replace eggs, but also the gluten. It might work to replace them with 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum (if you use that ingredient in your baking), and reduce the liquid (orange juice) by 1/4 cup and then add in two eggs. That's just my guess. I don't know if it would work out exactly how I'm imagining it but I think it would. :)

      Let me know if you try it.

  2. This looks wonderful! Any subs for the sorghum flour? My local co-op doesn't carry this, and I don't want to order it online. Thanks!

    1. Hi Alicia,

      You could certainly try brown rice flour in place of the's a little denser and absorbs slightly more liquid so your muffins might not be as light but it should work just fine. :)

  3. Carrot cake is one of my favourite cakes. Originally discovered decades ago in the Cranks cookbook!

  4. Hi Ali

    May I ask if cassava flour / coconut flour or a combo can be used for AIP compliance? Thank you Kay
    P.S. If you have any yeast and egg free cassava flour baking tips PLEASE do share as I really struggle with this flour - dense, gooey results.

  5. Dear Ali can you use an AIP flour/s like cassava / coconut for this recipe instead of sorghum? If you have any baking tips for cassava flour, I'd really appreciate them as I find it results in a dense, gooey disappointment. Thank you

  6. Ah! I really want to make these for my daughter's birthday party tomorrow and no store near me has Whole psyllium husks, only powder :(. Is there any way the powder would work or did you ever find out if the egg replacement would work? Thank you!


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)