Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes + Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Buttercream

I’ve been making it a weekly habit to dedicate to experimenting with recipes, and it’s been simply amazing. I’ve been learning so much (hello, weekly sourdough experiments!) and, not to mention, it’s been incredibly therapeutic.

It was my friend’s birthday this week. He had us over for dinner and cooked us a grand meal. So the least I could do was whip up a sweet treat for him. I decided on carrot cake, which was surprisingly a very good choice because it’s his favorite kind of cake. (I only found his our during dinner, ha!) I also took the gluten-free route because his wife is gluten-free, and I like to challenge myself.

My test run was a success! Cupcakes came out perfect — sweet, moist and flavorful. I paired them up my vanilla bean cream cheese buttercream and fulled them with a salted caramel (recipe courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction). I will admit that they are super decadent, so not something you can sit and eat a whole batch of… because who doesn’t need one of those nights now and then?

Prep Time: 60 minutes Cook Time: 35 – 40 minutes Serves:  20 cupcakes

What You’ll Need

For the cupcakes

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 eggs + 2 egg yolks at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup labneh or greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 crushed pecans

For the buttercream

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar

How You’ll Do It

For the cupcakes

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix all of your dry ingredients together — almond flour, coconut, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg cloves and baking powder. Set bowl aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, eggs, labneh and vanilla paste until combined. Then whisk in both brown sugars.
  4. Next, pour half of your dry ingredients in the bowl. With a rubber spatula, fold in the ingredients until mostly combined. Then pour in the remaining half of the dry ingredients, along with the pecans.
  5. Try not to over mix! Just keep folding until the batter comes together. It should be like a thick pancake batter.
  6. Line two cupcake pans with 20 cupcake liners.
  7. With a medium cookie scoop (should fit approximately 1 1/2 tbsp of batter), scoop one scoop of batter into each cupcake liner.
  8. Once all the batter is gone, take each cupcake pan and lightly tap it onto the counter to even out the batter.
  9. Place pans in the oven and bake for about 35-40 minutes. It may take a little shorter or longer depending on how strong your oven is.
  10. To test readiness, take a toothpick, and insert into a cupcake. It should come out clean. The cupcakes should be golden brown.
  11. Once your cupcakes are ready, take them out of the cupcake pans, and let them cool on a wire rack. (I baked mine the night before and let them cool all night.)

For the buttercream

  1. In stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or a handheld mixer or a whisk), add your softened butter and cream cheese. Whip the two together until nice and fluffy — about 2 minutes.
  2. Once your cream cheese and butter mixture is where you want it to be, add the vanilla and whisk for another 30 seconds.
  3. Add the confectioner’s sugar, and then continue whipping for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  4. When the frosting is ready, it should be thick and hold a stiff peak.

The assembly

  1. Put your salted caramel and buttercream each in its own individual LARGE piping bag. I didn’t use any tips for this one.
  2. When the cupcakes are completely cool, scoop out the center of each cupcake. Don’t go all the way through the cupcake, though. You can do this with a small spoon, which I did, or you can use a corer.
  3. Once all the cupcakes have been cored, squeeze the salted caramel into each cupcake until it reaches the top.
  4. For the frosting, I like to make big and tall swirls. It’s probably way too much frosting, but it looks pretty 🙂
  5. Once all the cupcakes have been frosted, I like to take a small spoon to create a divot at the top of each cupcake. I then take a little salted caramel and full that divot and then sprinkle the cake that I cored. (I don’t like wasting good cake!)
  6. Ta-da! You’re all done. Grab a couple friends who are gluten-intolerant (or not) and enjoy!

3 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes + Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Buttercream

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