Cinnamon rolls have never really been my thing. I always found them to be too doughy, and have crunchy sugary toppings. I must have been having them at the wrong places because in recent years I’ve discovered how truly divine they can be.
I have yet to truly master the art of gluten-free baking. That being said, these cinnamon rolls have a lot of flour in them so avert your eyes celiacs, there’s nothing for you here unfortunately.
Knowing that they were so gluten-full, I wanted to find a way to bring some semblance of health to them. Hence the addition of carrots! This recipe took a few tries to get it just right but I’m confident that if you follow these steps you’ll come out with a cinnamon-y, dough-y and not healthy tasting treat.
I also used a vegan ‘cream cheese’ frosting instead of the traditional sugar+water drizzle cinnamon rolls gets.
These were fed to my friend’s boyfriend who is NOT the biggest fan of veggies (not even a little fan). I prompted her to tell him they were natural sprinkles but after a few bites he insisted on hearing the secret ingredient. When he found out they were carrots he claimed to have known the whole time…but apparently he ate and enjoyed a whole one before finding out they were carrot based!
I need to make these again so that I can take proper photos for you to see how truly decadent they are. Unfortunately every time I make them I seem to ruin any chance of a good shot by eating them right away (testament to how good they are I guess!)
Don’t be scared by the yeast. It’s really very simple if you follow the directions carefully!
Easy Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls (Vegan)
- Cinnamon Rolls
- 2 cups almond milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 .25 oz package active dry yeast or rapid rise
- 4 cups plus 1/2 cup all-purpose flour divided (I like to sub one cup for whole wheat sometimes)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp himalayan sea salt
- 3/4 cup coconut oil slightly melted
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 4 tbsp ceylon cinnamon
- 2 1/2 cups carrots grated
- 1 cup soaked raw cashews
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp maple syrup more for sweeter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
In a small saucepan stir together the almond milk, sugar vegetable oil over low-medium heat until heated through, don't let it come to a boil.
Remove saucepan from heat and let cool until temperature is warm enough to stick your finger in without burning it but not cold.
Add the yeast to the milk mixture and let is sit for about 3-5 minutes. It'll start to smell yeast-y
In a large mixing bowl combine 4 cups of flour and yeast mixture, stir until combined into a sticky, tacky mixture and let sit covered with a dish towel for an hour.
Remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, remaining flour and 1 cup of the carrots. Knead mixture with your hands for about 5 minutes or until it becomes powdery and smooth.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper
On a clear, clean surface sprinkle about 4 tbsp flour before placing the dough on it. Flour a rolling pin and roll out the dough into as close to a rectangular oval as you can! The more even you roll it out the more uniform your rolls will come out.
In a small bowl combine coconut oil, brown sugar and remaining carrots. Spread this mixture out over the dough all the way to the edges. Sprinkle dough with cinnamon (be liberal here, you can't add too much cinnamon! The carrots will absorb a lot of it so feel free to add loads!)
Start rolling the dough into a log starting one from of the long sides being careful to roll it tightly.
Once in a log lay it seam-side down, and cut into 12-14 servings.
Place the individual rolls down in the lined baking dish and cover with a dish towel to let them rise for another 20 minutes
Remove the dish towel and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes depending on how hot your oven is.
While they are baking, combine all ingredients for the icing in a food processors or blender and blend until smooth. Increase amount of maple syrup for a sweeter flavor.
When rolls are finished baking drizzle with vegan cream cheese frosting while still hot and enjoy!