Gluten Free Carrot Cupcakes
Chef Salima Benkhalti
In Morocco we have a salad made with grated carrots, freshly squeezed orange juice, and lots of cinnamon. My grandma would serve it in small plates alongside many other traditional salads to accompany the main dish (usually a tagine or some sort). This salad has such a distinct flavor and fruity aroma, it has always been a favorite of mine.
It would be totally dishonest to pretend that cupcakes are a traditional Moroccan food because they’re not. That said, something about the flavors and ingredients in this salad are just screaming to be folded into a baked good and topped with frosting, right?!
We’re taking those freshly grated carrots and Spice Tribe’s single origin spices to make a luscious and fluffy carrot cupcake. Then, we’re topping it with orange buttercream frosting made with freshly squeezed orange juice, because citrus season is upon us people!
- 2.5 cups grated carrots (about 5-6 large carrots)
- 2.5 cups gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour (make sure you pick a blend with xanthan gum)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp Spice Tribe Padang Cassia Cinnamon Single Origin Spice
1 tsp Spice Tribe Island Nutmeg Single Origin Spice
- 2 tsp orange zest
- .5 tsp salt
- 1.5 cups brown sugar
- .5 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup oil (I used canola)
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup applesauce
- 1 block of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- .5 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3.5 cups powdered sugar
- .5 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice (1 orange)
- .25 tsp orange zest
For the Carrot Cupcakes
For the Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
- Start by grating your carrots; you can use a standard grater or a food processor with a grating attachment. Next, preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Line your muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- In a small bowl combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest and salt.) Mix together until evenly combined.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients (brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, eggs and applesauce.) Mix together until evenly combined.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and continue mixing until evenly incorporated. Gently mix in the grated carrots. Pour the batter into the cupcake liners, filling each about ¾ way.
- Bake 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of a cupcake. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting.
- Using an electric mixer, beat together the room temperature cream cheese and butter until evenly incorporated. Beat in the orange juice, zest and powdered sugar until a light and fluffy frosting forms. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes before piping onto the cupcakes. Sprinkle with additional orange zest and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Enjoy!
- When it comes to gluten free baking, there are a few tricks you can use to make sure you’ve got the perfect level of moisture in your baked goods. Usually, it’s just a matter of adding in a bit of additional wet ingredients. Here are my favorite moisture enhancing add ins:
- Apple sauce (as used in this recipe) – the applesauce adds both moisture and a subtle sweetness that goes perfectly with the cinnamon and carrots
- Yogurt – this one is great for breads and cakes and has a nice neutral flavor
- Milk, juice, liquids – this one is pretty self explanatory, the more liquid the less dry your baked goods will come out