When I was in high school and was still eating gluten and dairy, I used to always get carrot cake from the school canteen. Mostly on those days when I had that annoying free period right in the middle of the day – where you can’t go to school later but can’t leave early either. So annoying.
So to make myself get through this time of extreme boredom and study, I got myself carrot cake. Bad mel habit #34: eating when bored.
So why did I buy this cake over all the other cakes available at the canteen? Even over the chocolate cake *gasp*?! The cream cheese icing. Call me a fatty, call me obsessed, call me someone who needs to respect the actual carrot cake – probably all true.
The carrot cake part was merely there to hold the icing, as far as I was concerned. The fact that the cake had vegetable (singular) in it was also an added bonus and conscience reliever.
So in honour of my bad school habit of eating cake full of nasties, I wanted to make a gluten, dairy, and refined sugar free version. So you will find them much less sweet than your average cake – just enough sweetness for me, but feel free to add some extra sweetener to suit your taste.
I also thought that I should make them into cupcakes, since I would most likely cut myself massive pieces of a cake version. Although that assumes I am only going to eat one cupcake.
I am happy to say that these cupcakes taste delish all by themselves, even without the icing. Yes, I would happily eat one without it being smothered with cream cheesey goodness. Say what?
They just taste even more delish with this icing – but I try and limit my soy intake these days so I usually just ice them when I’m taking them somewhere to share or for when they are a dessert.
CARROT CUPCAKES + CREAMY FROSTING (GLUTEN +DAIRY +REFINED SUGAR FREE)
makes 10-12 cupcakes
– 4 large eggs
– 1/3 cup rice malt syrup or honey
– 1 tablespoon powdered stevia*
– 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 2 cups almond flour/meal
– 2 + 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
– 3/4 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 2 cups grated carrot
– 2/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
cream cheese frosting:
– 227-250 g (8 oz) dairy free cream cheese (I use Tofutti) – or use normal if you can tolerate it
– 1 tablespoon rice malt syrup or honey
– 1 + 1/4 teaspoons tablespoon powdered stevia*
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 teaspoon lemon juice
– pinch of salt
– 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
*may need to add extra if you are a bit of a sweet tooth
Natvia: you can use any other granulated stevia or sugar substitute in its place, but it may differ in sweetness so adjust to taste and add extra if needed
To make frosting, beat all ingredients except the coconut oil in a medium bowl with electric beaters, until creamy and well combined. While the electric beaters are still running, pour in melted coconut oil and beat until well incorporated.
Place frosting in the fridge while making the cupcakes – the coconut oil will firm up the frosting as it cools.
Preheat oven to 180 C (360 F). Line a 12 x 1/3 cup capacity cupcake tin with cupcake pans.
Place eggs, rice malt syrup, Natvia, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl and beat with electric mixers until combined.
While the beaters are still running, pour in the melted coconut oil and combine well.
Add the almond flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt to the bowl and beat until combined.
Stir in the grated carrot and walnuts.
Divide mixture among the 12 pans.
Bake the cupcakes in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned. A skewer inserted into the middle of a cupcake should come out clean.
Cool completely on a wire rack and store cupcakes in an airtight container.
If you’re icing the cupcakes, it’s best to ice these just before serving as the icing will soften a bit as it comes to room temperature. The frosting keeps well in the fridge so I just have it an airtight container in the fridge, ready to ice a cupcake if I want one.
If you are making the cupcakes to take somewhere and want to ice them in advance, you could always use traditional icing sugar to sweeten the frosting instead of the rice malt syrup and Natvia, if you aren’t worried about the refined sugar. This will firm up the icing so it should hold up better at room temp. Just make sure you get one that is gluten free.
The cupcakes (without the icing) also freeze really well – I usually freeze half the batch when they are just for me.
Now for my favourite part – taste test.