Butter, sugar, and flour are my best buddies in the bakery aisle. And I use them constantly.
But it’s been my personal mission as a pastry cook to bake tasty and healthy sweets that anyone can eat, even if you’re following a strict diet.
And I have one more to add:
And it’s absolutely delicious. Read more about it below!
Spicy Almond Flour Cake
With almond flour, coconut oil, and a small amount of sweetener (either honey or maple syrup) the cake base is a healthy option with no gluten, dairy, or cane sugar.
But it will still please your sweet tooth cravings!
The almond flour meal and shredded carrots provide an incredibly moist, delicate crumb. And you’re not missing out on the classic flavors from an assorted variety of spices like cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg.
Looks like someone is going to need to install a bigger spice rack in the kitchen!
If you’re not looking for a gluten-free base, our moist carrot muffins would also work perfectly here!
Whipped Coconut Cream
While we do have recipes for thick, buttery frostings and chocolaty ganache to top a delicious cupcake, the icing used in this recipe is completely dairy free with minimal sugar, yet still creamy and dreamy as ever!
Canned coconut milk is the perfect base for a delicious whipped topping.
It’s a bit of a process to make, yet so worth it!
By refrigerating the cans for at least 8 hours, the water and cream separate. You only want the cream, since the water will dilute the icing too much, preventing it from thickening properly.
Once it is whipped with a bit of sweetener like honey, it has a fluffy and smooth texture that’s just like traditional dairy-based whipped cream.
While you can use it as is, with no other ingredients, I prefer to add gelatin. Adding gelatin to stabilize it makes this fluffy creation thick enough to spread or pipe on your handheld desserts, without losing its shape.
Keep in mind that all canned products are not the same.
You absolutely must get full-fat coconut milk, rather than any low-fat varieties. You want as much fat as possible to get the best results!
If available, you can also buy canned coconut cream, which has the majority of the water already separated from it. However, you should still go through the process of refrigeration – I have found that there is still a decent amount of water that needs to be removed.
All this talk of carrot cake is making me hungry! Let’s head to the recipe now!
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep
Refrigerate the cans of coconut milk for at least 8 hours. The cool temperature gradually separates the water from the cream.
When you are ready to bake your desserts, preheat the oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners.
Step 2 – Make the Whipped Topping
Turn the cans upside down, and open with a can opener. Pour out all of the clear liquid floating on top, and reserve for another use.
Scoop out the white, thick coconut cream on the bottom and place in your mixing bowl. Keep it cold in the refrigerator while you bloom the gelatin.
Bloom the gelatin by sprinkling it over water and allowing it to sit for 5 minutes. Heat in a microwave until liquid, about 10 seconds.
Allow it to sit at room temperature for an additional few minutes to cool slightly. You don’t want to pour hot gelatin into the cold base, because the gelatin may not homogenize with the other ingredients. No thanks, Jell-O lumps!
While on high speed, very slowly and gradually pour the liquid gelatin in a steady stream. Whisk for another 5 minutes, until it has thickened slightly.
Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to finish thickening and setting the icing.
Step 3 – Combine Wet Ingredients
While the icing is refrigerating, prepare your batter.
Mix together the eggs, sweetener of choice, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, and oil on medium speed in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
Step 4 – Combine Dry Ingredients
In a separate bowl, thoroughly mix together the almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Add to the liquid ingredients and mix until everything is fully combined.
Step 5 – Add the Remaining Ingredients
Add the carrots, raisins, and nuts. Mix until everything is fully combined.
Step 6 – Divide Batter and Bake
Using an ice cream scoop or two spoons, divide the batter evenly into the prepared muffin pan. Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cupcakes have risen, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.
Step 7 – Cool, Decorate, and Serve
Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a cooling rack for a few minutes, then remove from the pan and let them cool completely on the cooling rack. Once they are cool, decorate with the prepared whipped coconut cream, and garnish with optional nuts and carrot shavings.
Serve and enjoy this delectable gluten-free sensation!
Sweet Paleo Delights for All to Enjoy!
With butter, cane sugar, and wheat flour nowhere to be seen, anyone who follows a strict diet can enjoy my recipe for paleo carrot cake cupcakes!
You’ll enjoy a flavorful blend of spices, chunks of nuts and raisins, and a fluffy whipped topping with every bite.
Have you ever turned classic desserts into healthier versions? Give us your best ideas in the comment section below!
For more cupcake recipes, we have plenty of cute ones for you:
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Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is a full-time cheesemonger and specialty foods buyer living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.