Gluten free carrot cake cupcakes, loaded with fresh carrots and topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Perfect for Easter, or any time!
Especially as springtime approaches and Easter is around the corner, a spot on recipe for gluten free carrot cake is a must. This recipe is for gluten free carrot cake cupcakes instead of a full carrot cake, and for good reason.
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.
Plus, we do already have a recipe for secret-ingredient gluten free iced carrot cake right here on the blog that is as moist and tender as can be.
The 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, moist and tender—but never ever oily. Cakes made with oil instead of butter can be very moist, but can become oily if the ingredient proportions aren’t just right, or if the method isn’t proper. Not this time.
Making carrot cake with oil instead of butter makes these carrot cake cupcakes quite easy to convert to dairy free as well as gluten free. Just use a nondairy milk, like almond milk.
A nondairy cream cheese alternative plus shortening in place of the butter should work quite well for the frosting. If the frosting seems too soft, just add a bit confectioners’ sugar until it reaches the proper consistency.
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) neutral oil (like vegetable or canola oil)
4 eggs (200 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) milk (any kind), 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, plus more as necessary
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. Add the grated carrots and chopped nuts to the dry ingredients, and mix to combine.
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. The batter will be thick, but soft.
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 cupcakes comes out with no more than a few moist crumbs attached (about 20 minutes). Remove the tin from the oven from the oven and allow the cupcakes 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 light 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 thicken the frosting enough to hold its shape when scooped with a spoon. Spoon or pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes.
This recipe was originally published on the blog in 2013. The photos and text were updated. Recipe and method remain unchanged.