Healthier carrot cupcakes are moist, flavorful, and healthy, with a fresh frosting!
This week’s pick for Craving Ellie in My Belly was Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, chosen by Leanne over at Enjoying my Favorite Things. I’m very glad she picked this recipe because I don’t think I would have ever made it otherwise. These cupcakes were awesome! Moist, flavorful, and healthy! They perfumed the entire house with the warm scents of nutmeg and cinnamon while they were baking in the oven. The frosting contrasted the cupcakes perfectly: smooth, sweet, tangy, and fresh.
Sara from CEiMB and several Food Network reviewers mentioned that when you exclude the frosting from this recipe, these cupcakes are really more like muffins. They’re not as sweet and cake-like as regular cupcakes. I frosted half and left the other half as muffins and either way they still turned out delicious. I happen to have a sweet tooth so the frosted ones won me over, but the un-frosted ones make a yummy and quick breakfast!
I’m very much looking forward to every single one of this month’s CEiMB picks: Stuffed Turkey Burgers, Grilled Thai Beef Salad, and Chicken Sate with Spicy Peanut dipping sauce. Yum and yay!
Side note: I used regular whole wheat flour and these were still soft and moist.
How to make Healthier Carrot Cupcakes
Yield: 12 cupcakes
- 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cupnatural applesauce
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups finely shredded carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts
- 4 ounces 1/3 fat cream cheese (recommended: Neufchatel)
- 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
Sift together the first 6 ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, brown sugar and eggs until well combined. Whisk in the applesauce, vanilla and carrots. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in 1/4 cup of the chopped walnuts.
Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
With an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and lemon zest until smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts. The cupcakes should be stored in the refrigerator for about 3 days.
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