Carrot Cupcakes with Lemony Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

By Cat, July 2009 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Somehow, carrot cake has always spelled “healthy,” and this recipe, adapted from Fine Cooking (1), is no exception. However, for many people, ‘healthy’ means low fat from vegetable sources, and applesauce to stand in for some of the missing fat, plus sugar to make it taste good.

To me, “healthful” means presoaking your whole grain flour and using minimally processed fats such as rendered lard, homemade butter, or cold pressed olive or coconut oil. Many don’t know this, but fat actually helps your body utilize the energy in the starchy flour, so one should not skimp in the name of “low fat.”

Nuts, naturally high in fat, are also considered healthy, but to reap the benefits of much of the nutritional value of nuts, they should be presoaked and dried before using. Start the presoaking and drying 2 days before using in the recipe. I usually make more than I need, then store the extra in a sealed container for future use. This recipe specifies finely chopped nuts, but I would coarsely chop them before the presoak process, then more finely chop what I need after drying them.

Carrot Cupcakes

I’ve adapted this recipe from Fine Cooking. originally by Ellie Krieger (1). I like the idea of using applesauce with the spice and shredded carrots, and it can also be used to presoak the flour. So here’s my adaptation of this recipe.


  • medium mixing bowl (for presoak and next-day batter)
  • large mixing bowl (for next-day eggs and batter)
  • medium mixing bowl (for next day flour mixture to dredge nuts)
  • small mixing bowl (for frosting)
  • bakers parchment or waxed paper
  • cupcake tins for 12 cupcakes


Pre-soak flour

  • ¾ cup white whole spelt flour *
  • ¼ cup whole barley flour *
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp yogurt or freshly squeezed lemon juice

* or use 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (soft wheat), and add 1 tsp or more water to achieve a batter-texture.

  1. Combine whole grain flours and stir with a fork to combine.  Stir yogurt or lemon juice into applesauce, then stir that into the flour until combined, adding water 1 tsp at a time to achieve a storable batter.
  2. Press a sheet of bakers parchment (or waxed paper) against the dough, making sure the entire surface is covered so that it won’t dry out.  Let rest on counter overnight.

Next day batter

  • ¼ cup finely chopped walnuts, preferably presoaked and dried, plus 2 Tbsp extra for garnishing the frosted cupcakes
  • 2 – 3 carrots (to make 1 ½ cups, shredded)
  • ¼ cup unbleached white flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp unrefined sea salt
  • ¾ cup Rapadura sugar (or ¼ tsp Stevia extract powder plus ¼ cup sugar and 1 Tbsp maple syrup)
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp real vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil or olive oil
  1. If you don’t have presoaked & dried walnuts on hand, start that process 2 days before making the cupcakes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place cupcake liners into cupcake pans, for 12 cakes.
  3. Shred carrots to make 1 ½ cups; set aside.
  4. Sift together white flour, baking soda, salt, spices and stevia (if using); stir in nuts to dredge.
  5. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, maple syrup (if using), vanilla and oil until combined.
  6. Stir in soaked flour mixture with shredded carrots. Stir in dredged nut mixture until just combined.
  7. Spoon batter evenly into 12 cupcake liners, filling each liner ⅔ – ¾ full. If any cups remain empty, fill them with water, about ⅔ full.
  8. Bake in center of oven, until cupcakes have risen and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 – 20 minutes.  Rotate pan at about halfway mark for even baking.
  9. Remove pan to a rack to cool just a bit, then remove cupcakes in their liners to cool completely before frosting.

Lemony Cream Cheese Frosting

This is my adaptation of the frosting recipe that accompanied the original cupcake recipe. Alternately, use  Rich Cream Cheese Frosting Version 1 or 2, which is made with cream cheese and butter; add ½ tsp grated lemon zest for each ½ cup cream cheese instead of the vanilla.

  1. Using electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and lemon zest until smooth and creamy.

Assemble & Garnish Cupcakes

  1. Spread cream cheese frosting over each cooled cupcake.
  2. Sprinkle finely chopped nuts (preferably soaked and dried) over each frosted cupcake.
  3. Best eaten same day they are made.


  1. Fine Cooking recipe, originally by Ellie Krieger (

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