These mini-cupcakes are on the larger side and perfect for an impressive dessert. But because they are so versatile, they can also be served for breakfast or brunch, in which case you’ll probably want to forgo the frosting and garnish.
Luscious Little Carrot Cakes
Makes 24 mini-cupcakes
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:
• 12 ounces vegan cream cheese, at room temperature
• 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more as needed
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/3 cup peeled and grated carrot
• 1 teaspoon brown sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 2-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
• 1 cup peeled and grated carrots
• 3/4 cup raisins
• 1 cup plain or vanilla nondairy milk
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 1/2 cup maple syrup
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two 12-cup mini-muffin tins with paper liners.
2. To make the frosting, put the vegan cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl and stir vigorously until smooth and well blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 24 hours.
3. To make the garnish, put the carrot, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Toss and stir with a fork until the carrot is evenly coated with the sugar and cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate.
4. To make the cupcakes, put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl and stir with a dry whisk to combine. Add the brown sugar and stir with the whisk to combine. Add the walnuts, carrots and raisins and stir until coated with the flour. Stir in the nondairy milk, oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated.
5. Divide the mixture among the prepared muffin cups. The muffin cups will be very full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
6. Put the pans on wire racks and loosen the sides of each cupcake with a knife. Let cool for about 15 minutes. Carefully remove the cupcakes from the pans (you may need to cut the tops apart before removing them from the pans if they have overflowed and fused together). Let cool for about 40 minutes longer.
7. Spoon a generous amount of frosting over the top of each cupcake. Top with a bit of carrot garnish, placed artfully in the center of the frosting. Covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator, leftover mini-cupcakes will keep for about two days.
Note: Use the frosting from this recipe to top a wide variety of cakes and other baked treats.
Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.