{Gluten Free, Vegan} Carrot Muffins


My mother’s copy of The Joy of Cooking is permanently bookmarked at the carrot cake recipe.  It is stupid easy to throw together and its moist, raisin-studded crumb pairs perfectly with a cup of tea.  This cake tastes best at room temperature, as it highlights its moistness and the warmth of the spices.

When making the transition to gluten-free, converting this recipe was a high priority.  I was stunned to find that it simply didn’t work with a gluten-free flour blend.  The cake was flat and oily, not so much moist as mushy.  This has been a common theme in my gluten-free endeavors: gluten creates reliability.  I had previously made this cake dozens of times, hardly bothering to measure my ingredients, and it was perfect every time.  Suddenly, however, the proportions were all wrong.  I abandoned the recipe.

Just recently, however, a bit of inspiration kicked in to revisit carrot cake.  I made some carrot-apple muffins for a co-worker’s birthday, and was extremely pleased with the results.  Light but not falling apart, whole grain without the usual heft, sweet but not too much.  This weekend, I clicked on the oven, got out my wooden spoon, and set to work making some gluten free vegan carrot muffins. 

Muffin recipes convert fairly easily from gluten-filled to gluten-free.  They are quite forgiving and highly substitutable, so have some fun with them.  A few gluten-free muffin tips: Your batter should be thick but easy to stir and drop into your pan.  They bake best in paper liners (I prefer these for their nonstick properties).  In my experience, baking muffins straight in the pan always yields smaller muffins that shrink and become dense as they cool.  The paper liners also assist with another important step: removing the muffins from their pans almost immediately after they come out of the oven.  If left in the pan to cool, they get soggy bottoms.
Carrot muffins can take on a variety of personalities.  I added in 1/4 c. regular and 1/4 c. golden raisins, but you can mix in whatever’s on hand that sounds tasty.  Chopped walnuts, pecans, currants, or a bit of shredded coconut and chopped candied ginger would all be divine. 
As you surely know, muffins are just naked cupcakes.  To dress these up for afternoon tea or a birthday gathering, drizzle with a little lemon glaze or frost with cream cheese icing.
{Gluten-Free & Vegan} Carrot Muffins
Yields 12
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
  1. 3 medium carrots, grated
  2. 1/3 c. maple syrup + 1/4 c. sugar -or- 1/3 c. sugar + 1/3 c. brown sugar for a sweeter muffin
  3. 1/2 c. canola oil
  4. 2 flax eggs*, or 2 real eggs
  5. 1 tsp. vanilla
  6. 2/3 c. milk (I used rice milk, though 2% would be fine)
  7. 1 c. brown rice flour
  8. 1/3 c. tapioca starch
  9. 1/3 c. sorghum or millet flour
  10. 1 tsp. baking soda
  11. 2 tsp. baking powder
  12. 1/4+ tsp. salt
  13. 1 tsp. xanthan gum
  14. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  15. 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  16. 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  17. 1/2 c. mix-ins of your choice (nuts, raisins, etc.)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F, and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. Mix together carrots and wet ingredients (maple syrup through milk) in a mixing bowl with your wooden spoon. Stir in the brown rice flour, then the remaining dry ingredients (tapioca starch through nutmeg). Gently incorporate your mix-ins of choice, if using.
  3. Dollop batter evenly between the 12 cups in your pan. Bake for 24 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Allow muffins to cool in the pan for about 2 minutes. Get a good grasp of your pan with a potholder and use your free hand to quickly move the hot muffins to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  1. *Making a flax egg: Muffins take particularly well to this vegan egg substitute. Mix 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed and 3 Tbsp. water in a ramekin for each egg that you desire to "replace." Microwave on 50% power for 1.5 to 2 minutes until it becomes gelatinous. Allow to cool a minute and mix in where you would an egg.
Wooden Spoon Baking http://www.woodenspoonbaking.com/