Carrot Cupcakes with Dairy-Free Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting

A touch of pineapple in both the cupcakes and frosting puts a spring in the step of this recipe. For the frosting, several brands of dairy-free cream cheese alternative are now available, but they tend to be slightly softer and less pungent than dairy cream cheese. To compensate and punch up the flavor, this recipe uses a higher ratio of cream cheese alternative and a squeeze of citrus.

Makes: 16 servings
Free of: gluten and all top allergens


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 Notes‚Äù 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 ‚ÄúRecipe Notes‚Äù] 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 the eggs and white sugar, and add 1/4 cup of honey or agave nectar. Increase the baking soda to 1 teaspoon. This makes just 12 cupcakes.

Flour Use: If gluten is not an issue for you, then omit the 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.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° 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