I’ve got a yummy, not at all healthy, from-scratch, classic cake recipe here today. Carrot cake! WITH my go-to salted caramel! AND it’s GLUTEN FREE! Can you tell I’m excited?!
Though I stay away from desserts most of the time, I LOVE carrot cake (and, let’s be real, coconut cake and chocolate cake as well)! When Easter was coming this year, I knew I just needed to participate in eating carrot cake. I was making some carrot cake cupcakes for church, and decided to experiment with some gluten free flour for an additional batch.
This is a version of the carrot cake recipe that my mom has always used, and it’s amazing! She makes her icing differently for cakes, but my recipe stands up well on cupcakes. And I added a salted caramel drizzle…because, why not?!
If you have a large (12-14 cup) food processor, the cake batter can be mixed up completely in that. You will need to chop up or grate the carrots in a food processor or blender, and the nuts need to be finely chopped. Once those are chopped, you can use a mixer to finish the batter.
Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- 2 c sugar
- 1.5 c oil (I used vegetable)
- 4 eggs
- 2 c King Arthur gluten free all purpose flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1.5 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 3 c grated carrots (about 12-13 whole)
- 1 c nuts (I used toasted pecans)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a food processor, chop the nuts until finely chopped. Remove and wipe out the food processor, then add the carrots and chop until finely grated (very small pieces). Measure the carrots to make sure it equals 3 cups, tightly packed.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a mixer, beat sugar and oil together. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Add carrots, then nuts.
Pour the batter into a muffin tin lined with cupcake liners. Fill 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 16-18 minutes.
Once cool, top with Spiced Cream Cheese Buttercream & a drizzle of the Salted Caramel.
Spiced Cream Cheese Buttercream
- 1.5 blocks cream cheese, softened
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon (add more if desired)
- 1/2 tsp ground clove
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- most of a bag of powdered sugar
- 2-3 Tbsp cold heavy cream
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add the butter and repeat.
Add the salt, spices, and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing fully and increasing the speed to medium. Mixing it thoroughly gives fluffier icing. Continue adding sugar and mixing until the icing is still soft, but will stand if piped onto a cupcake.
Add the heavy cream and mix at medium speed for another minute or two.
Salted Caramel (You’ll just need about 1/3 or 1/2 of this recipe for the cupcakes. Save the rest for another cake, pour it over ice cream, or use it as an apple dip!)
- 1 c sugar
- 1 Tbsp corn syrup
- 1/4 c water
- 1/2 c heavy cream, heated until warm
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
In a heavy saucepan, stir together the sugar, syrup, and water until the sugar is completely moistened. Heat, stirring constantly with a heat-proof spatula, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbling. Stop stirring completely and allow it to simmer undisturbed until it turns a deep amber color.
Immediately remove it from the heat, and slowly and carefully pour the warm heavy cream into the caramel. It will bubble and steam profusely. Stir the mixture until smooth, scraping up the part that tends to stick to the bottom of the pot.
Stir in the butter and salt. Allow the sauce to cool for a couple of minutes, then stir in the vanilla.
Let cool substantially before tasting. The caramel sauce will be VERY hot.
Once cooled completely, store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
To assemble the cupcakes, pipe some of the buttercream onto cooled cupcakes. Make sure the caramel is at room temperature, and drizzle some of the sauce over the buttercream.
Enjoy! (Even if it is well past Easter)!