Carrot Cake Muffins – Gluten Free

My husband and I have a birthday pact; every year he buys me ‘flours’ for my birthday and then I make myself carrot cake muffins to celebrate! This year is no exception. Well, except for that fact that I’m turning 60 and setting aside last year’s keto carrot cake muffins recipe in favour of this one (if only just for this special occasion).

Carrot cake muffin with cream cheese frosting on a white plate with walnut halves

I used to treat myself to Dufflet Carrot Cake each year because it’s gluten free and delicious! But we’ve been refined sugar free for years, so this gluten free muffin recipe solves that problem. Instead of sugar, we use Swerve.

Swerve sugar replacement with bowl of chopped walnuts in foreground

Dufflet doesn’t use walnuts or raisins, but I love these additions. Leave them out if they’re not your thing. But if you do use the raisins, be sure to soak them in hot water to plump them up. Otherwise, they’ll soak up all the moisture in the cake batter and you’ll end up with hockey pucks. Canadian hockey pucks at that!

Soaked plump raising and cinnamon in separate bowls


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The trick to tasty carrot cake is adding the cinnamon into the oil, instead of with the dry ingredients. It blooms the spice. After creaming the oil and sugar, beat in the eggs one at a time.
Raw egg in sugar and oil mixture

You can grate the carrots by hand, but I prefer a food processor. In less than 5 minutes, you’re done. The quicker the shredding, the faster I can enjoy my carrot cake muffins! The batter will be pretty thick.

Mixed batter for carrots cake muffins in bowl

I also speed up filling the muffin tins by using an ice cream scoop.

Scooping carrot cake muffins into muffin liners in tin

Bake Muffins

Ready to bake!

12 carrot cake muffins ready to bake in muffin tin

Carrot cake muffins gluten free

While those are baking, I mix the cream cheese icing. The best cream cheese icing uses slightly more cream cheese to butter ratio. I only mix up a small batch, because Hubs prefers these muffins plain. By the way, he hates carrot cake, but loves this recipe. So it has to be pretty good!

Spatula in bowl with cream cheese icing

Before adding cream to cream cheese icing

I also toast some coconut to sprinkle on top.

Coconut in pan

Browned coconut in pan

Toasted coconut

Be sure to watch the pan; it browns quickly so get it out of the pan as soon as that happens so it doesn’t over-brown.

Let cool before icing or the frosting will melt.

Baked carrot cake muffins cooling in tin

Carrot cake muffins out of the oven

Cream Cheese Frosting

A piping bag and tip is best for piping, but because I was only practicing, I scooped the frosting into a Ziploc to save cleaning the bag. The bigger the tip, the more frosting you’ll end up with (of course, I used one of the largest tops in the middle!)

A sprinkle of coconut and a few extra walnuts later. Of course, I bake these the night before so I can enjoy the next day. But I can’t wait until my birthday to taste one.

carrot cake muffin on plate with cream cheese frosting, coconut flakes and walnuts sprinkled on top

On my birthday, after the first few ‘sacrificial’ muffins, I get much better at piping!

Turns out I’m enjoying ‘flours’ and flowers for my birthday in the form of roses on this pretty vintage plate.

Carrot cake muffin on white decorative plate with three walnuts

Just for today, I’m piping that cream cheese icing high! It’s not everyday I turn the big 6-0. Happy birthday to me! I get the most delicious gluten free carrot cake muffins AND a senior discount now! What can I say? Life is good.

carrot cake muffin on plate with walnuts

Carrot cake muffin with mile high cream cheese frosting

Storing Carrot Cake Muffins

You can store these cupcakes in the fridge for up to 5 days. I like to put them right back in this special muffin tin with a lid.

You can also freeze them for up to 4 months. I find the best way to do that is to freeze the cupcakes and frosting separately, or it can go soggy. Put the frosting into a freezer bag and squeeze all the air out before sealing. Then just decorate once defrosted. Alternatively, don’t freeze the frosting at all: make it fresh when you’ve defrosted the cupcakes.

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Carrot Cake FAQs

Why is butter not used in carrot cake?

Oil keeps the batter moist and extends its shelf life in the fridge! But don’t worry, you’ll be adding plenty of delicious butter to the cream cheese frosting.

Why is my carrot cake dry?

If you used raisins, be sure to soak them in water first so they don’t absorb moisture from the batter. Another reason is baking for too long so test them for doneness at the minimum baking time. Before putting your own spin on a recipe, don’t deviate from the ingredients and instructions the first time you use it.

What is the secret to a moist cake?

A neutral oil will help keep carrot cake nice and moist. If you prefer less oil, substitute some yoghurt or sour cream and apple sauce.

Pin Carrot Cake Muffins

This carrot cake muffins recipe is a winner! Pinning is always welcome and appreciated!

pinnable image for carrot cake muffins

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Our recipe category, The Unknown Chef, can be found here.

Carrot cake muffins

Gluten Free carrot cake muffins as good as Toronto's famous Dufflet carrot cake
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Muffins
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 20 muffins


  • 1 Stand mixer or hand mixer
  • 2 Bowls
  • 1 mixing spoon
  • 1 food processor or box grater


Carrot Cake Muffins

  • 1 1/4 cup cup neutral oil such as grape seed oil
  • 3/4 cup cup yogurt we used 3.5% goat milk yogurt
  • 1 cup Swerve sugar substitute
  • 1/4 cup Swerve brown sugar substitute
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups gluten free flour we used Robin Hood
  • 4 cups peeled and shredded carrots (about a one-pound bag)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 6 oz unsalted butter softened
  • 8 oz Swerve powdered sugar substitute
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp 10% cream or milk
  • 1 pinch salt


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and put 20 paper liners into 2 cupcake tins. Soak the raisins in warm water for about 15 minutes. Drain before using.
  • Peel the carrots and shred in a food processor (or you can grate by hand on a box grater). Set aside.
  • In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda to combine. Add carrots (and nuts and raisins if desired). Stir until combined.
  • In another bowl, add the cinnamon and nutmeg into the oil, then the sugars. Cream together in a mixing bowl or with a hand mixer until well mixed. Add yogurt, then the eggs one at a time, and beat until light and well mixed.
  • Mix dry ingredients into wet and stir well to combine.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, fill prepared muffin tins with the batter. Bake until golden and a cake tester comes out clean (about 20 - 25 minutes, depending on your oven).
  • Turn out onto a cooling rack while still warm. Cool fully before decorating.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Combine all ingredients, starting the mixer on low to not cause a powdered sugar explosion. Gradually increase the mixer to medium-high and beat until fluffy and smooth.


  • Pipe or spread icing on with a knife. Add desired toppings like toasted coconut and additional walnut pieces.


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