Monday, November 7, 2011

Carrot cake cupcakes and healthier frosting

We learned to bake and frost cakes recently in class. There was chocolate, carrot and gingerbread. They were all vegan. We made traditional icing for two of the cakes and vegan for the other two. I made a chocolate cake with a mocha filling and covered it with chocolate ganache. Ganache is easy to make, and you can use the leftovers to make truffles! The other two chocolate cakes were made from this Moosewood recipe and they were outstanding.

Carrot is Josh's favorite cake, so I decided to make it over the weekend. I made cupcakes instead of a two-layered cake. The recipe is another one by Fran Costigan.
I've never been a huge frosting fan, so I decided to experiment with frostings that contained healthier whole food ingredients. I had a small bag of cashews to make a maple nut cream, but not enough to ice all twelve. I was looking for more nut butters when I saw tahini. Tahini and molasses seemed to make sense to me. Note: I'm a huge tahini fan, so tasting tahini in the icing doesn't bother me. Plus I think it's perfect with the carrot. It tasted a lot like the Mary Jane candies we'd eat at Halloween when we were kids. Here is a sugar-free frosting recipe from My Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen and a scrumptious coconut vanilla icing from My New Roots.

Carrot cupcakes
Adapted from Fran Costigan
½ cup organic raisins

1/3 cup fresh orange juice

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. cardamom
¼ cup canola or olive oil
¾ cup maple syrup

½ cup almond milk

2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla

2 c grated carrots

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin with melted coconut oil or cooking spray.

Soak raisins in the orange juice for 15 minutes. Drain and reserve two tablespoons of the orange juice.

Sift the next seven (dry) ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Mix the oil, maple syrup, milk, vinegar and vanilla into a smaller mixing bowl, along with the reserved orange juice. Then mix the wet into the dry ingredients. Fold in the raisins and grated carrot. Pour batter into the muffin tin, filling until three-fourths full.

Bake for 18-20 minutes. Test with a toothpick to make sure they're done. Cool completely before frosting.

As you can see this doesn't make a lot of icing. It makes enough to just glaze the top of the cupcakes. I didn't want to take away from the delicious cake itself. 

Maple Nut Cream
1/3 c raw cashews
2 T maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 T almond milk, more if needed

Blend on high in a food processor.

Tahini Molasses Cream
1/4 c tahini
1 T molasses
1.5 T maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 T almond milk, more if needed

Blend on high in a food processor. Add more almond milk if too sticky or dry. If you want it a bit sweeter, add another tablespoon of maple syrup.


Sarah @ Two Blue Lemons said...

How pretty! Mary Jane candies are still my absolute favorite - gotta try it.

la domestique said...

I think your tahini molasses frosting is very clever!

Maƫlle said...

These cakes look so delicious! I love carrot ones, here's a good reason to be vegetarian! ;-)

Unknown said...

Thanks! I hope you like it :)

Unknown said...

Tahini and molasses is a "thing" in Turkey actually. We eat mix those two together and eat it with/on bread after dinner. For breakfast there is a small bowl of that mix between other condiments etc. So assuming that "it would make sense" is right on the spot! Go you. I'm trying the cupcakes now :)

Unknown said...

Irmak - Thanks for letting me know! I love the tahini + molasses combination. Enjoy!

Mike said...

Josh is your hubby right? He loves carrot cake probably more then I do.