I’m back! Sorry it’s been quiet around here again. I’ve been away from my kitchen and computer and was beginning to get baking withdrawal symptoms. Anyone else get that? The NEED , not just the want, to bake something?
Anyway, I hope these make up for my absense… These cute little cupcakes are 100% vegan, wholemeal, gluten-free, naturally sweetened and coloured and so so delicious!
The cupcake itself is adapted from the carrot cake in Flying Apron’s Gluten-Free & Vegan Baking Book with a few minor alterations.
It’s topped with a frosting made from cashew and coconuts, to create a sort-of-but-not-really cream cheese taste. Ok, so the topping isn’t really much like cream cheese at all but it’s the nearest I could come up with and it tastes amazing anyway!
My favourite part though is the cute little handmade marzipan carrots… I’ve experimented with vegan (and raw) marzipan decorations in the past. In my Christmas Pudding Bites and Raw Chocolate Easter Egg Nests I used a raw marzipan recipe, very similar to the one below and some spirulina powder, tumeric and freeze dried strawberry powder for colouring.
For the orange colour in this recipe, I used carrot juice, concentrated down with some arrowroot powder for a vibrant but not too runny colouring, it worked wonderfully!
Sorry for the long recipe below, I promise it’s not too complicated or time consuming though! And if you’re wondering where to get brown rice flour, it’s available at most health food shops.
You can also make your own at home by grinding brown rice! Chickpea flour is available in most supermarkets or Asian food shops.
These cupcakes are:
- 100g / 1 cup brown rice flour
- 90g / ¾ cup gram flour aka chickpea / garbanzo bean flour
- 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- A pinch of salt
- 120ml / ½ cup coconut oil, melted (can also use olive oil)
- 240ml / 1 cup water
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 carrots, grated (equaling about ½ cup full)
- 75g / 1 cup dessicated coconut
- 150g / 1 cup of pecans or walnuts, chopped into small pieces
- 150g / ½ cup raisins
- 170g / 1 cup cashew nuts, soaked overnight and drained
- 2 tbsp coconut flour
- 60ml / ¼ cup coconut milk (or other dairy-free milk)
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 60ml / ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 60ml / ¼ cup carrot juice
- 2 tsp arrowroot powder
- 3 heaped tbsp ground almonds
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or more, if needed
- (optional) cocoa powder
- Fresh rosemary sprigs or parsley leaves
- Preheat the oven to 170c / 350f and line 2 muffin tins with 20 paper cases.
- Combine the brown rice flour, gram flour, baking powder, spices and salt together in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, water, maple syrup and vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Once mixed, fold in the grated carrot, dessicated coconut, nuts and raisins.
- The batter will be quite thin but don't worry! Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cupcake comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool fully before adding the frosting.
- Whilst the cupcakes are baking, make the coconut cream cheese frosting by simply mixing all the ingredients together in a high powered blender or food processor. Make the mixture as smooth as possible. You may need to add a little more liquid to get your blender going but don't add too much as you need a thick mixture.
- Once blended, keep in the fridge to cool and thicken some more until later.
- You can use shop-bought natural orange food colouring but if you would rather make your own... take 1 tbsp of the carrot juice and mix it in a cup or small bowl with the arrowroot powder until smooth. Pour the rest of the carrot juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, whisk in the arrowroot mixture and stir until thickened and concentrated. Lower the heat and cook for a further couple of minutes and then remove from the heat and leave to chill in the fridge.
- To make the marzipan, stir together the ground almonds and maple syrup in a bowl until it forms a firm but malleable dough. Add a tsp of the carrot juice and arrowroot mixture at a time until you have the desired colour. Add more ground almonds as needed to make the dough firm and smooth (not sticky.)
- Now you have orange marzipan! Roll a thumb-sized piece of the marzipan into a small ball and then into a sausage shape, tapering at one end to create a carrot shape. Use a sharp knife dipped in cocoa powder to create lines around the carrot.
- Finally, flatten the top of the carrot slightly and pierce it with a rosemary sprig or parsley leaf.
- Once the cupcakes are fully cooled, pipe the chilled frosting on top. Adorn with the marzipan carrots and serve!