These gluten-free carrot cake cupcakes are properly named. They’re not cake, but they’re the same thing except they’re in cupcake form. And there’s good reason for that. Am I the … more
These gluten-free carrot cake cupcakes are properly named. They’re not cake, but they’re the same thing except they’re in cupcake form. And there’s good reason for that. Am I the only one who always has a stash of gluten-free cupcakes in her freezer at all times? Don’t answer that (do answer that).
Something I’ve found is that I often have a need to make gluten-free cupcakes. Well, strike that. Not so much a need to make them as a need to have them. They’re better than cake in so many, many ways (not that I don’t love gluten-free cake). But cupcakes are easier to store, easier to force just a few on friends and neighbors (and my husband’s coworkers), easier to have on hand at a moment’s notice (birthday in school tomorrow!), easier to pare down a recipe, and way easier to make cute without spending a ton of time on them.
And anyway, Easter is only days away and there’s the Easter Bunny and bunnies love carrots so carrot cake is traditional for Easter, and then there are always kids since they’re the ones who care about the Bunny and kids love cupcakes. Anything you can hold in your hand seems kid-friendly.
About these cupcakes: the cream cheese frosting is mostly cream cheese, and very little butter. I usually make a cream cheese frosting with less cream cheese and more butter, but who wants to use less than a whole 8-ounce package of cream cheese for a recipe? Not me. It makes for a softer frosting, one that isn’t as stable at room temperature, but the cream cheese flavor is a bit more obvious and frankly it makes for a prettier presentation.
The other secret to making these truly stand-out little carrot cakes? You beat the oil with the eggs and milk until very well-combined and frothy before adding them to the dry ingredients. This way, the cupcakes are light and fluffy, and never ever oily. Cakes made with oil instead of butter can be very moist, but easily cross-over into being oily. Not this time.
And they’re very heavy on carrots, which means that you get 24 cupcakes out of just 2 cups of gluten-free flour, instead of some odd number like 15.
Don’t forget to sprinkle them with a wee bit of ground cinnamon at the end. Such a dramatic presentation! I know you’ve been looking for the ultimate gluten-free carrot cake recipe. The search is over:
For the Cupcakes
2 cups (280 g) high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar
3 cups (270 g) peeled and grated carrots
1 cup (110 g) chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup (112 g) vegetable oil
4 eggs (240 g, out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz.) milk, at room temperature
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 cups (288 g) confectioners’ sugar
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease or line two standard 12-cup muffin tins, and set them aside.
Make the cupcake batter. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and granulated sugar. Whisk to combine well. Add the brown sugar, and whisk again to combine, working to break up any lumps in the brown sugar. In a separate, medium-sized bowl, place the grated carrots and chopped nuts. Add a tablespoon of the dry ingredients to the bowl of carrots and nuts, and toss to combine. Set both bowls aside.
In a separate, medium-sized bowl, place the oil, eggs, vinegar and milk, and whisk to combine very well. The mixture should be become pale and frothy. Working quickly, create a well in the center of the bowl of dry ingredients, and pour in the oil and eggs mixture. Mix to combine well. Add the carrot and nuts mixture to the batter, and mix until just combined. The batter will be thick, but not stiff.
Bake the cupcakes. Fill the wells of the prepared muffin tins about 3/4 of the way full with batter, and shake the pan back and forth to distribute the batter evenly in each well. One at a time, place the muffin tins in the center of the preheated oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out with no more than a few moist crumbs attached. Remove the tin from the oven from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining muffin tin.
Make the frosting. While the muffins are cooling, make the frosting. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a handheld mixer), place the cream cheese and butter. Beat on medium speed until soft and fluffy. Add the salt, and 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar. Mix on low speed until the sugar is absorbed. Then, turn the mixer to high speed and beat until the frosting is thickened and fluffy. Add more confectioners’ sugar as necessary to achieve the desired thickness. Cover the bowl and place the frosting in the refrigerator to chill until stiffened slightly, about 15 minutes. Either spoon or pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. If not serving the cupcakes right away, keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up a copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy! I’ll help you make everything quick & easy & gluten-free!