Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CN – Just because the word “carrot” is in the name, doesn’t mean that carrot cake is a healthy option for dessert. Well, at least not always. My carrot cake cupcake recipe includes beneficial alternatives for the typical, not-so-healthy ingredients in carrot cake.
I use gluten-free flours in my carrot cake and natural sugars; plus, it’s topped with my all-natural and organic cream cheese frosting.
When eating these cupcakes, you can actually feel like you’re doing something good for your body. And you aren’t counteracting the benefits of carrots (like their ability to protect your eyesight and brain function) with pro-inflammatory flour and sugar.
Many carrot cake recipes call for white sugar, white flour and canola oil — ingredients that I choose not to use in my desserts. The truth is that you can stick to healthy ingredients without forfeiting the taste. These carrot cake cupcakes prove just that.
I use two gluten-free flours in my carrot cake cupcakes: almond flour and coconut flour. Almond flour is made from almonds and only almonds, which are blanched to remove the skin and then ground. Instead of using an ingredient like white flour, that could be detrimental to your health, why not choose a flour that will promote your well-being and supply vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium?
Just like almond flour, coconut flour is gluten-free, which is important to me because gluten can irritate the gut, which we know can lead to a slew of health issues. Coconut flour is high in fiber, so its components move through the digestive tract quickly, taking toxins and waste with them.
I also choose to use coconut oil instead of canola oil in my healthy carrot cake cupcakes. I don’t like to use canola oil because it’s a refined, genetically modified product that can cause a number of health issues.
Coconut oil, on the other hand, helps to prevent heart disease and high blood pressure, and it works to protect the liver and kidneys.
How to Make Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Now that we know healthy carrot cake recipes do exist, let’s get into baking these delicious cupcakes. Before you get your batter prepared, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, begin to add your ingredients. I start with the dry ingredients first: almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon and ground ginger.
The cinnamon and ginger really enhance the flavor of these carrot cake cupcakes. And, in case you didn’t know, ginger health benefits include its ability to help relieve indigestion and boost the immune system with its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Instead of sugar, I use maple syrup, which is a great alternative when used in small amounts. The glycemic index score of maple syrup is about 54, compared to a score of 65 for regular cane sugar.
After you add your maple syrup to the dry ingredients, add the remainder of your wet ingredients, eggs, coconut oil and vanilla extract.
Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes so that it all comes together and then fold in ½ cup of grated carrots.
Add the mixture to a lined or oiled muffin pan and bake them for 18–20 minutes. This recipe should make about 12 cupcakes.
Let your muffins cool off when they come out of the oven and then make up the cream cheese frosting.
I make my cream cheese frosting with four simple ingredients: organic cream cheese, coconut milk, maple sugar and coconut flakes. Using a high-powered mixer, mix these four ingredients together until well-combined.
Your carrot cake cupcakes are done and ready to enjoy!
Carrot Cake Cupcakes Recipe
My carrot cake cupcake recipe includes beneficial alternatives for the typical, not-so-healthy ingredients in carrot cake. And the results are delicious!
- 1¼ cups almond flour
- 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1–2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 eggs
- ⅓ cup coconut oil
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ½ cup grated carrots
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8-ounce package grass-fed, organic cream cheese
- ¼ cup evaporated coconut milk or coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons maple sugar
- ½ cup unsweetened, shredded coconut flakes
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- in a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients, except the carrots, mixing until well combined.
- Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes.
- Fold in the carrots.
- Add mixture to a lined or oiled muffin pan.
- Bake for 18–20 minutes.
- While the cupcakes bake, make up the cream cheese frosting. Using a high-powered mixer, mix all ingredients together until well-combined.
- Top with cream cheese frosting.
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