Carrot Cupcakes with Dairy-Free Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting

A touch of pineapple puts some zing in the step of these divine, allergy-friendly Carrot Cupcakes. In this recipe, you’ll find the pineapple makes an appearance in both the cupcakes and frosting

For the frosting, several brands of dairy-free cream cheese alternatives are now available. However, they tend to be slightly softer and less pungent than dairy cream cheese. To compensate for that difference, and to punch up the flavor, this recipe uses a higher ratio of cream cheese alternative and a squeeze of citrus.

A note on substitutions: I used eggs in my Ingredients list, but those of you avoiding eggs will find easy substitution choices below in the Recipe Tips. These Carrot Cupcakes can also be made with wheat all-purpose flour, if you and your family aren’t following a gluten-free diet.

For another fun recipe option, see our Carrot Patch Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes: 16 servings
Free of: gluten and top allergens (see egg sub)

Ingredients for Carrot Cupcakes

  • 1 cup (250 mL) brown rice flour (superfine if possible)
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) potato starch
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) white sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) grapeseed, coconut or canola oil
  • 2 eggs [See Recipe Tips below for egg substitute]
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups shredded carrots

Pineapple “Cream Cheese” Frosting

  • 4 oz (113 g) dairy-free cream cheese alternative
  • 2 tbsp palm shortening, coconut oil [see Recipe Tips] or dairy-free margarine
  • 1 tbsp drained, crushed pineapple or 1 1/2 tsp (7.5 mL) pineapple juice
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups (250 mL+) sifted confectioners’ sugar

Recipe Tips

Egg Substitute: Omit eggs and white sugar, and add 1/4 cup of honey or agave nectar. Increase baking soda to 1 teaspoon. Makes just 12 cupcakes.

Flour: If gluten is not an issue for you, omit brown rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch and xanthan gum, and instead use 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour.

A Note on Coconut       Coconut is technically a fruit. While most allergists do not consider it a tree nut, if you are nut allergic, ask your doctor if coconut is safe for you.

Instructions for Carrot Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degees F. Line 16 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together: brown rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt.
  3. Using a hand blender, in a separate mixing bowl mix: brown sugar, white sugar, pineapple, oil and eggs. Or whisk for 1 minute.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the mixing bowl, then stir with a wooden spoon just until the ingredients are combined. Stir in the shredded carrots.
  5. Pour batter evenly into the prepared muffin cups; they should be 2/3 to 3/4 full.
  6. Bake the cupcakes 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. To make the frosting, with a hand mixer, beat the shortening, oil, or margarine with the cream cheese alternative until soft and well-combined. Beat in the drained pineapple (or pineapple juice) and lemon juice, and slowly blend in 1 cup of the powdered sugar. If a sweeter icing is desired, beat in up to ½ cup of additional confectioners’ sugar. Chill the frosting in the refrigerator as the cupcakes cool.
  8. Once thickened, give the frosting a quick whip. The consistency will be slightly softer than a buttercream. Frost cupcakes and serve.

is a contributing editor to Allergic Living magazine and the author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance and Casein Free Living, and founder of