Baking from a box is pretty easy right? I mean, the idea of having all or almost all of the ingredients already combined is great, I get that. But the more and more I bake from scratch, I’m realizing that by stocking the pantry with a few real food staples is the hardest part of homemade baking. Really, once you’ve made a recipe 2 or 3 times, you don’t even have to measure any more. You know what the consistency should look like. You know what a dipped finger should taste like. I think getting back in the kitchen has many benefits, not just for our physical health (better food), but for our mental health and family togetherness. Let’s make a pledge here and now to spend more time enjoying life in the kitchen.
Life in the kitchen can be pretty sweet, especially when you pull these babies out! The cake isn’t too sweet, so if you’d rather have muffins then go without the frosting and enjoy these lovelies with your morning Jo. The creamy icing on top makes these a perfect treat for the next birthday party or get together.
Real Food Carrot Cake Cupcakes (or Muffins) with Maple Cream Cheese Icing
For the cake (icing recipe follows), makes 12 cupcakes
2/3 cup sugar (I like using pure cane sugar or coconut sugar)
1/2 cup coconut oil (you can get this from Amazon or Tropical Traditions which has fantastic deals from time to time)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour (for GF use this all-purpose gluten-free mix) I used half all-purpose, half coconut flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon chili powder (optional, but it adds a nice flavor)
1 1/4 cup shredded carrots (I used my food processor to shred but you could also use this hand grater), this will be about 3-4 carrots
3/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup walnuts or pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In mixing bowl, combine sugar, coconut oil, vanilla, and eggs. Mix until combined.
In separate small bowl combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger, and chili powder. Mix into wet ingredient bowl. Once combined, add in carrots, raisins, and nuts. Mix well.
Fill lined cupcake tray about 1/2 full with batter and bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the edges are golden. Stick a toothpick in the center and when it comes out clean, remove from oven.
Allow to cool before icing.
Maple Cream Cheese Icing
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 ounces butter, softened
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Add cream cheese and butter to stand mixing bowl and mix until combined, you should start seeing small peaks forming along the bowl. Add maple syrup one tablespoon at a time while mixer is running. Once combined, spread icing onto cupcakes.