Gluten Free Carrot Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting (Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free)
If you love carrot cake but don't want to make a full cake, make carrot cupcakes! These carrot cupcakes are adapted from my layered carrot cake, they are a bit lighter without all the add ins. They are secretly gluten free, low FODMAP friendly and refined sugar free but no one will know! These will be a crowd pleaser at any Easter brunch.
Why you will love these gluten free carrot cupcakes!
1. They are moist, full of flavor with shredded carrots and all the warm spices, topped with a cinnamon frosting. Like the best carrot cake in cupcake form.
2. Secretly gluten free, dairy free, and optional to make refined sugar free frosting. No one will know these are healthier carrot cupcakes!
3. Just a whisk needed to make these cupcakes fluffy and soft!
4. I can bet even non-carrot cake fans will love these cupcakes!
5. Topped with a sweet cinnamon frosting, what is not to love?
INGREDIENTS IN GLUTEN FREE CARROT CUPCAKES:
Baking Powder and Soda
Coconut Sugar, or Granulated Sugar
Avocado Oil, or Neutral Oil
Crushed Pineapple, optional
Sprinkles or Crushed Nuts for Topping
Powdered Sugar or Powdered Sweetener
Dairy Free Butter Stick
SUBSTITUTIONS AND SWAPS:
1. A substitute for the gluten free flour has not been tested. Oat flour may work here but I cannot guarantee the same results! Almond flour will create too much moisture as these cupcakes are already very moist.
2. If you do not have all the spices on hand, you can add in the cinnamon and then 2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice in place of the nutmeg, cloves and ginger.
3. Maple syrup can be replaced with honey or coconut palm syrup.
4. Coconut sugar works perfectly here and keeps the cupcakes lower glycemic, but any granulated sweetener should work. Keep in mind cane sugar is a sweeter than coconut sugar, and any artificial sweeteners and monkfruit are a lot sweeter. I also like to use granulated maple sugar, it has a great flavor.
5. I use avocado oil since it is a healthy oil and keeps its nutrients at high temperatures. I do think melted refined coconut oil will work in replacement. Or any neutral oil. I do not suggest olive oil.
6. Crushed pineapple is optional for a sweet flavor and a little acidity to complement the carrots. You can find organic crushed canned pineapple with just juice and pineapple as ingredients, I like this brand. You can also use fresh pineapple and chop it finely. If you prefer no pineapple, you can sub with more shredded carrots or just omit completely!
HOW TO MAKE GLUTEN FREE CARROT CUPCAKES
(see recipe card below for full recipe instructions)
First, mix together all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Then, mix together the wet ingredients including the strained finely shredded carrots and optional pineapple.
Add cupcake wrappers to a muffin pan. Fill each cavity 2/3 the way up with batter. It should make 14-16 cupcakes.
Cook in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs and tops bounce back. Let cool fully on cooling rack.
Prep the frosting by whipping together all ingredients in a large bowl with a hand mixer or stand mixer.
Transfer frosting to a piping bag and pipe onto each cooled cupcake. Option to top with sprinkles or crushed nuts!
TIPS FOR MAKING THE PERFECT CARROT CUPCAKES:
1. To measure flour in cups, it's important to not scoop the cup into the flour bag. This will give you too much flour and the cupcakes will become dry. Instead, fluff the flour up in the bag with a fork and spoon the flour into the measuring cup. Scrape the extra flour off the top of the cup with a knife. That will give you a good cup of flour!
IF USING PINEAPPLE: The pineapple must be crushed, not sliced or chunked! And must be strained from its juices before adding to the batter. If you only have chunked pineapple on hand, or cutting up a fresh pineapple, throw into a blender and pulse a few times so it's finely chopped.
2. Carrots must be strained of its juices or the cake will be too moist. I use a paper towel to strain before adding to the batter.
3. Make sure cupcakes are done by testing with a toothpick, a few crumbs should come out and the tops of the cake should bounce back when gently pressed.
What kitchen tools are needed to make carrot cupcakes?
A muffin/cupcake pan
Shredder or grater for carrots
Paper towel or cheesecloth for straining carrots
Hand mixer for the frosting
Can cream cheese frosting be used instead of the cinnamon frosting here?
Yes! These cupcakes have a traditional frosting with cinnamon added, but my carrot cake uses a cream cheese cinnamon frosting. Use this frosting recipe if you prefer cream cheese frosting on the cupcakes.
Can gluten free carrot cake be made as a layered cake?
Yes, my gluten free carrot cake recipe is similar, but altered a bit for a layered cake. Use this recipe for the cake.
Why squeeze and strain the carrots and pineapple?
This is to ensure the cake does not come out too wet. Because no one wants a wet sticky cake! The carrots and pineapple hold a lot of moisture and the water will settle into the cake when baked. To squeeze out the moisture, I place 1/2 cup at a time inside a double paper towel and gently squeeze and strain. This can also be done with a cheesecloth or nut milk bag.
If the pineapple isn't added in, does it have to be replaced?
You can omit the pineapple completely and not replace it, or replace with 1/2 cup more carrots, or even shredded apple. Again this must be strained out before adding to the batter! If you choose to use pineapple, I use organic canned pineapple, ingredients just pineapple and juice.
Note for those with histamine intolerance: baking/cooking lowers the histamine level in pineapples!