Baking requests are always welcome, and if the person gets lucky I will actually whip up a batch of whatever was requested pronto. This week I received a request for a healthy version of carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Sounds insanely delicious, right?
Upon digging around I unearthed a healthier version of carrot cake cupcakes from Healthy Food for Living. The lovely Lauren over there at Healthy Food for Living had taken a typical carrot cake cupcake recipe and toned down the amount of fat as well as sugar.
Now before you get all sore thinking we killed the sweetness of these little babies, just wait to taste a batch. You really won't notice much other than the taste of delicious in your mouth.
As this week's request is likely to end up as bribery in the local university office, I decided to make a double batch, mixing mini cupcakes with normal sized ones. As I ended up with a little extra left over, I had these mini bundt pans I recently picked up and decided to make a few for kicks.
One thing you will notice is that I call these muffins as opposed to cupcakes. To me, they taste and feel like muffins, especially with the lessened sweetness. However, the beauty of this recipe is that you can add more sugar to the batter or make the cream cheese frosting sweeter. My modifications to the recipe included adding walnuts, using olive oil as it was all I had on hand, using cinnamon applesauce as opposed to natural, using maple flavor as opposed to extract, and using more maple syrup for the cream cheese frosting. Enjoy!
Carrot Cake Muffins with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
yields about 12 normal muffins
- 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour, sifted
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
- 2 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil, such as canola
- 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar (use 1/4 cup more for added sweetness)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp cinnamon applesauce
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup finely grated peeled carrots, about 2 medium (A microplane grater works best)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 4 oz 1/3-less-fat neufchatel cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3-4 Tbsp pure maple syrup (personal taste)
- 1/8 tsp pure maple extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or coat with canola oil cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the first 7 ingredients (through ground ginger).
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, and eggs. Whisk in the applesauce and vanilla extract.
Stir in the grated carrots.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet and stir just until fully incorporated.
Using a large spoon, divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups.
Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
Allow muffins to cool in muffin tin for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, maple syrup, and maple extract using an electric mixer, until smooth.
Frost muffins once they have completely cooled. Store any uneaten muffins in the fridge.