Who’s in the mood for something (relatively) healthy? I recently made gluten-free, vegan Carrot Cupcakes based on a recipe I found in my BabyCakes cookbook. I had to sub out a few things, but these came out really yummy anyway and definitely worthy of a blog post.
For anyone who doesn’t already know about BabyCakes, it’s a very popular vegan bakery in New York, and they also offer some gluten-free and sugar-free goodies. Their cookbook has all kinds of cool recipes, and they use Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour to make a lot of their gluten-free items. I personally don’t care for Bob’s as I think it leaves too much of a garbanzo bean aftertaste, so it’s not a product I typically keep in my pantry.
Instead I decided to use King Arthur’s Gluten Free Multi-Purpose Flour. I picked a box of this up on sale, and since King Arthur is my favorite flour to use when I’m making regular baked goods for other people, I figured I might as well give their gluten-free blend a try. The only bummer about the Babycakes cookbook is that their recipes only list the ingredients by volume, and I really prefer to go by weight, especially since I was using a different flour, but it worked out just fine.
The original recipe calls for rice milk, but I subbed almond milk since that’s what I use. I’m not a fan of rice milk, to be honest. Also, I didn’t have any agave nectar, so I used maple syrup (the good stuff!) instead.
Vegan and Gluten-Free Carrot Cupcakes:
3 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (do yourself a favor and use freshly grated nutmeg!)
2/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water
3 cups shredded carrots (I think I grated 5 carrots to get 3 cups)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line cupcake pans with paper baking cups (this recipe makes 24). I don’t have the hot water pictured because at the time it was still in the kettle, but I promise I remembered to add it.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Add the oil, maple syrup, almond milk, and vanilla and stir until well combined. Then add the hot water and continue mixing until the bater is smooth.
Gently fold in the carrots just until they are evenly distributed.
Put 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cavity (this will almost fill it). Bake for 25 minutes, rotating pans after 14 minutes. I really didn’t want to do that, since opening the oven door lets heat escape and that’s not a good thing, but I followed the directions and the cupcakes came out great.
The cupcakes are done when a toothpick comes out clean and the tops spring back when pressed. I actually baked mine for 30 minutes. Let them cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then place them on a rack to cool completely before frosting.
There is a vanilla icing recipe in BabyCakes, but it calls for soy milk and soy milk powder, neither of which I had, so I used almond milk and some rice protein powder (I know it’s not the same thing, but I had to work with what I had on hand). This icing is interesting because you mix it in the blender, and it’s pretty liquid–in fact, they say you can use it at room temperature as vanilla sauce. It has to chill in the refrigerator for 6 hours before you can spread it on the cupcakes, so keep that in mind if you’re planning to make these.
My icing came out with that distinctly chalky rice protein powder aftertaste, so I’m thinking maybe that wasn’t the best thing to use in lieu of the soy milk powder, but it tastes okay once on the cupcakes. For anyone allergic (or just not wanting to use) soy, I don’t know what would be a better substitute, apart from just using a different icing recipe.
1 1/2 cups almond milk (recipe actually calls for soy milk, which I don’t like)
3/4 cup rice protein powder (I suggest using the soy milk powder as per the recipe or finding something else)
1 tablespoon coconut flour
1/4 cup maple syrup (original recipe calls for agave nectar, which I didn’t have)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups coconut oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Place milk of choice, powder of choice, coconut flour, maple syrup/agave nectar, and vanilla in blender and mix for 2 minutes. Thanks to the maple syrup mine looks more like a mocha milkshake than vanilla frosting.
With the machine running, slowly add the coconut oil, alternating with the lemon juice, until both are fully incorporated. Pour the mixture into an airtight container and chill in the refrigerator for 6 hours.
I didn’t take a photo of it before using it, but it came out rather dry and thick, so I piped it onto the cupcakes since there was no way it was going to spread easily.
Oh, and since the icing didn’t exactly turn out all that great, I only iced half this batch of cupcakes. I left the rest naked, as they make delicious breakfast carrot muffins.