Sometimes, you just need a treat.
Or at least, that’s what I decided this weekend. So I made carrot cake cupcakes. (And subsequently forced them upon my co-ed soccer team. They didn’t seem to mind.)
Besides, springtime is coming soon, and what’s more springlike than carrot cake? It’s perfect for Easter, of course, but who wants to wait that long? Especially when clementines can still be found in the store right now? Let’s fake spring until it’s time, and make some cupcakes today.
Now, yes, the frosting is not dairy-free. I will share with you links to make an alternative “cream cheese” style base for your frosting. (I promise; it’s delicious. I made it multiple times when I was dairy-free and shared with family and friends, who were none the wiser.) But if you can eat dairy, the mascarpone makes this frosting creamy and decadent. It’s the perfect compliment to carrot cake, and more especially so with the addition of clementine.
These cupcakes are easy to make and remain moist and tender. I opted to add raisins, pecans, and clementine zest to my cake – you can leave any of these out if you wish, but I find the combination of these make the cake memorable and special. After all, if you’re going to go through the trouble of making a treat, what you want is special, right?
Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Clementine Mascarpone Frosting (gluten-free)
For the cupcakes:
1/3 c sweet white rice flour
1/3 c superfine brown rice flour (I like this brand)
1/3 c tapioca flour
1 t gelatin (I like this brand)
1/2 t baking soda
3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t kosher salt
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1 t freshly grated zest from clementine (or orange)
1/2 c granulated sugar
3 T brown sugar
1 1/2 c grated carrot
1/2 c finely chopped pecans
1/4 c raisins
1/4 c coconut oil, melted
2 eggs at room temperature
1/2 t apple cider vinegar
1/4 c almond milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with 12 liners. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, add the flours, gelatin, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest, sugar, and brown sugar. Mix on low speed until all is combined and the brown sugar no longer has lumps.
In a separate medium bowl, combine the carrots, pecans, and raisins. Add about a tablespoon of the flour mixture to this bowl and toss to coat. Set aside.
In a third small bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, eggs, apple cider vinegar, and almond milk until frothy. Add this to the flour mixture and mix on low until combined. Add the carrot mixture and mix until everything is evenly combined.
Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin tin. Bake at 350 for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with few crumbs. Remove and allow to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting:
1 T butter or vegan buttery sticks
A pinch of salt
1 1/2 T clementine juice
1/2 t fresh zest from a clementine
2 c powdered sugar
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone cheese, butter and salt until creamy. Add the clementine juice, zest and a cup of the powdered sugar and beat again until smooth. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and mix on low until combined. Turn to medium speed and beat for another minute or until creamy, adding additional powdered sugar as needed to achieve desired thickness. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes.
Serve cupcakes as is or garnished with clementine slices.
Makes one dozen.