Mini Quinoa-Carrot Cakes or Muffins

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

By Cat, September 2016 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

I have always loved carrot cake; it’s so moist and deliciously sweet, yet contains healthful ingredients like carrots, nuts and fruit. I usually make mine with whole grain flour but this gluten-free version intrigues me (uses quinoa and almond meal). You can make the batter as muffins (no frosting) or as cakes with cream cheese frosting.

See also: 1. Cakes Menu; 2. Muffins Menu; 3. Carrot Cupcakes with Lemony Cream Cheese Frosting

Mini Quinoa-Carrot Cakes or Muffins

This recipe is adapted from one in our local daily newspaper, the Daily Inter Lake, Aug 31, 2016,  originally by Melissa D’Arabian of the Associated Press (1).

For maximum nutrient benefit, sprout your quinoa before making the cakes. See Quinoa (About) for more about this pseudo-grain, and how to sprout it.

This recipe does not include any dried fruit, but if you wish to add some, I recommend Zante currants (tiny raisins), as they are small enough for mini muffins.

Per the original recipe (using sugar, and without dried fruit), each frosted muffin provides 6 g fat, 3 g protein, 8 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 5 g sugar. Not sure if the grams of fiber and sugar are included n the grams of carbs.

Makes 20 mini-cupcakes or muffins.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 1¼ cups finely-milled almond flour
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa (see Quinoa (About) for details)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground pumpkin pie spice  or ground cinnamon
  • 1¼ tsp unrefined sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 farm-fresh eggs
  • ⅛ tsp stevia extract powder (OR ¼ cup Rapadura or white cane sugar, or maple syrup)
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp real almond extract
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice (plus more for frosting; see below)
  • 1 large, ripe banana (mashed well until creamy, about ½ cup)
  • ⅓ cup finely-grated fresh carrot (about 1 carrot), partially squeezed dry in a paper or cotton towel
  • Cream Cheese Frosting (optional)
  • 4 oz (½ cup) cream cheese
  • ⅛ tsp stevia extract powder (OR ¼ cup  Rapadura powdered sugar (or make your own))
  • 1 fresh orange (for 1 – 2 Tbsp juice and zest for optional garnish
  • Equipment
  • Large and small mixing bowls
  • Sifter or small whisk
  • Egg whisk
  • Wooden spoon
  • Mini-muffin tin
  • Paper liners for mini muffins (optional)


  1. Quinoa: sprout quinoa 1 -2 days before making the cakes (optional)
  2. Steam, or cook in water, about 1 cup filtered water for ½ cup quinoa. Bring water to a boil, add quinoa & cover. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 2 min if sprouted, or 15 minutes if not sprouted.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. Prep: squeeze orange juice (and zest if making frosting); mash banana; grate carrot and squeeze dry
  5. Sift or whisk baking powder soda, spice and salt. Mix into almond flour and quinoa in large bowl. Set aside.
  6. Batter: In small bowl, whisk vigorously: oil, sweetener, eggs, vanilla and almond extracts, and orange juice until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. NOTE if using stevia, dissolve it in orange juice before adding to other ingredients.
  7. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and stir with a wooden spoon until blended. Add banana and carrot, and mix well.
  8. Line muffin tin with paper liners, or butter each well.
  9. Fill each well about ⅔ full.
  10. Bake until cooked through (use toothpick to test), about 15 minutes.
  11. Frosting: While muffins are baking, prepare frosting by whisking together cream cheese, stevia or powdered sugar and orang/lemon juice until completely smooth. NOTE: if using stevia, dissolve it in the juice before mixing with the cream cheese.
  12. Cool muffins/cupcakes completely before frosting and/or serving.


  1. Associated Press recipe:
  2. See also

About Cat

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