carrot cupcakes (gluten-free)

One of my favourite things for Easter is carrot cake with lots and lots of cream cheese frosting. I've never tried my hands at a gluten-free version until this past weekend and I was so happy with the results - you never know with gluten-free sometimes. I saw this cake on Pinterest and instantly fell in love with the idea. So cute, right? I thought they looked more "au naturel" without their wrappers on. They almost look like little mini cakes. I would love to make these for an Easter party or brunch!

photos by me

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from Gluten-Free on a Shoestring)

For the cupcakes:
2 cups (280 g) high quality all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 tsp xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar
3 cups (270 g) peeled and grated carrots (use carrots with their stems on and make sure to cut them off
        before peeling and put aside)
1 cup (110 g) chopped walnuts
1/2 cup (112 g) vegetable oil
4 eggs at room temperature, beaten
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz.) milk at room temperature (can be non-dairy -  I used almond milk)

For the cream cheese frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tbsp (28 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 1/2 cups (288 g) confectioner's sugar

For the toppings:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
carrot tops from the cupcake batter carrots

1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Grease or line two standard 12-cup muffin tins and set them aside.

2. In a large bowl place the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and granulated sugar. Whisk to combine well. Add the brown sugar and whisk again to combine, working to break up any lumps in the brown sugar.

3. In a separate, medium-sized bowl, place the grated carrots and chopped nuts. Add a tablespoon of the dry ingredients to the bowl of carrots and nuts, and toss to combine. Set both bowls aside.

4. In another separate, medium sized bowl, place the oil, eggs, vinegar and milk, and whisk to combine very well. The mixture should become pale and frothy. Working quickly, create a well in the center of the bowl of dry ingredients, and pour in the oil and eggs mixture. Mix to combine well. Add the carrot and nuts mixture to the batter, and mix until just combined. The batter will be thick, but not stiff.

5. Fill the wells of the prepared muffin tins about 3/4 of the way full with batter, and shake the pan back and forth to distribute the batter evenly in each well. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

6. While the muffins are cooling, make the frosting: In the bowl of your standard mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a handheld mixer), place the cream cheese and butter. Beat on medium speed until soft and fluffy. Add the salt and 2 cups of confectioner's sugar. Mix on low speed until soft and fluffy. Add more confectioner's sugar as necessary to achieve the desired thickness. Cover the bowl and place the frosting in the refrigerator to chill until stiffened slightly, about 15 minutes.

7. Using a knife, spread a generous dollop of frosting on each cupcake, sprinkle with chopped walnuts and insert one carrot top. If not serving right away, leave the carrot tops off and keep frosted cupcakes in a sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Add the carrot tops just before serving.

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