These gluten-free carrot cake cupcakes are bold, flavorful, and extremely satisfying! My man likes to eat them plain, like a muffin… which also justifies eating these for breakfast… 😀 But if we’re not eating them for breakfast (ha!), I like to dress them up a little with zero-sugar cream cheese frosting and a sprinkle of cinnamon and toasted walnuts on top!
Mmmm…. just thinking about these hearty little cupcakes makes me want to bake more right now!!
So, you may be wondering, what makes these little gluten-free carrot cake cupcakes so fabulous? I’m glad you asked! 🙂 I have tried so many carrot cake recipes and this is why I LOVE this one:
- They are carrot-spice-cake flavorful without being “oily” like some carrot cake recipes (oily carrot cake is a major dislike of mine)
- This recipe is super healthy and hearty so I can feel good about making, sharing, and eating them anytime- without compromising great flavor! (that’s a winning combo in my book!)
- So many variations to tailor the recipe to your audience: Nuts or no-nuts, shredded coconut or carrots only, frosted or plain, etc. But they all taste fabulous!
- 1 Cup Finely Shredded Carrot about 1 medium/large carrot
- 1/2 Cup Apple Sauce Unsweetened
- 1/3 Cup Oil Canola, Melted Coconut Oil, or Melted Butter
- 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 Eggs
- 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
- 2 Tbsp Honey
- 1/4 tsp Molasses optional- gives a deeper "brown sugar" flavor
- 12 Large Medjool Dates Pitted (or 20 small pitted dates)
- 1 Cup Namaste Gluten Free Flour Blend
- 1 Cup Almond Meal
- 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 8 oz Block of Cream Cheese softened to room temperature
- 1/3 Cup Greek Yogurt
- 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
- 1 Tbsp Honey
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Pinch of Salt
- Pinch of Cinnamon and Nutmeg
- *use 1-2 Tbsp of powdered sweetener of choice if the frosting is not sweet enough for your tastebuds I like to stick to natural sweeteners whenever possible
- Preheat oven to 350f.
- Place pitted dates in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes while prepping other ingredients.
- Using food processor or hand-held grater, shred the carrot into fine pieces and transfer to a skillet over medium heat. Sautee carrots with 1 tsp of coconut oil until softened, about 5 minutes. (This step helps the carrots "meld" with the cake batter during baking to create a more cohesive carrot cake texture.)
- In medium bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, almond meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
- In small bowl using an immersion blender, or in a food processor, blitz the soaked dates with 1 Tbsp of the soaking liquid, as well as the apple sauce, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. After a smooth consistency is reached, pour into dry ingredients.
- Add remaining ingredients (eggs, maple, honey, and molasses) to the other ingredients and stir to combine. Batter should be thick.
- Using an ice cream scoop, fill greased cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake in preheated over for about 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Makes 12 Cupcakes
If you avoid dairy, you can either enjoy these cupcakes plain or try using a dairy-free cashew butter or coconut milk frosting recipe with a little cinnamon instead of cream cheese!
These are some other fabulous additions that you may want to try:
- Add 1/2 cup of shredded coconut flakes for more texture and subtle coconut flavor!
- Mix a handful of toasted walnuts into the batter (one of my personal favorites)
- Try adding chopped pineapple pieces or raisins (about 1/4 cup)
Feel free to get creative with your toppings as well! Sprinkle cinnamon and nuts on top of the frosted cupcakes or make your own little carrot toppers for a festive look! However you decide to make your cupcakes, it’s great to know that the ingredients are ones you can feel good about while savoring every single bite! 🙂
Until next time- Bon Appetit!