Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Vegan Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (Wheat or Gluten-Free)

Back from Spring Break!  We were away the last two weeks of March and spent the most glorious Spring Break ever as a family of 5.  I am still trying to get back into our family routine now that we are home.  

We spent 7 days in Cancun, Mexico at the very family friendly all-inclusive resort, Crown Paradise Club Cancun.  We read some mixed reviews from Tripadvisor.ca before leaving and made the decision to have fun, no matter what.  We lowered our expectations of the resort and raised our expectations to have the best time as a family.  With this new outlook, we had an AMAZING time!

We had our belated Easter over the weekend.  For dessert, I thought it would be nice to have a Spring/Easter themed carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. 

Since I am still gluten-free, dairy and egg-free, I turned to my trusty Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World cookbook.  Previously, I was able to make gluten-free vanilla cupcakes from this book as well.  

To fit our allergies and "less sweet" palate, I made a few changes:

  • Used Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All-purpose Baking Mix + 1/4 tsp xanthan gum in place of all-purpose flour
  • Replaced and reduced the white granulated sugar with organic coconut sugar
  • Used a combination of soy milk and lemon juice (didn't have soy yogurt)
  • Reduced the liquid amounts to reflect the decrease in sugar content  
  • Reduced the confectioner's sugar in the cream cheese frosting

For the vegan "Cream Cheese" Frosting, I used Tofutti brand soy cream cheese.  I didn't like the frosting at all when freshly made.  It was way too sweet for my liking.  I gave it another chance by letting the cupcakes sit in the fridge overnight for the flavours to develop. Because I cut down the icing sugar (confectioner's sugar), the frosting was very soft.  Too soft to pipe, so I simply spooned it on each cupcake.  

This batch yielded 12 medium-sized cupcakes. 

Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, Wheat or Gluten-Free
makes 12 medium cupcakes

2/3 cup all-purpose flour or your favourite gluten-free flour blend (I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free All-purpose Mix + 1/4 tsp xanthan gum)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2/3 cup sugar (I used a heaping 1/2 cup organic coconut sugar)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I used 1/4 cup canola oil)
1/3 cup soy yogurt (plain or vanilla) (I used 1/4 cup soy milk + 1 tsp lemon juice= "buttermilk")
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup finely grated carrots
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/4 cup Earth Balance margarine, softened
1/4 cup vegan cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar (1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, will further decrease to taste next time)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used 1/8 tsp Mexican vanilla, really strong stuff)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line muffin tin with 12 paper liners.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together sugar, vegetable oil, yogurt and vanilla.  Sift in the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices) and mix until smooth.  Fold in carrots, walnuts and raisins.

Fill the liners two-thirds full.  Bake for 26-28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted through the center of one comes out clean. Note:  I usually check my baked goods about 5-10 minutes before the estimated time done, since every oven is different.  I thought mine were done around 20 minutes.  My toothpick came out clean, but I could have baked them a few minutes longer.  

While cupcakes are baking, cream together vegan margarine and cream cheese until just combined.  Add the confectioners' sugar in 1/2 cup batches and whip with a handheld or stand mixer.  Mix until smooth and creamy, then mix in vanilla extract.  Keep tightly covered and refrigerated until ready to use.  

Once fully cooled, top generously with cream cheese frosting.  

- Adapted from PopSugar: Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe

They turned out very moist, dense and soft.  When I sat down to finish this plate, I had 3 "little vultures" hovering me for every last crumb!  These are "kid-tested" and "approved"!   

Now that we are back home, my mind wanders back to Cancun periodically... Can you imagine why?  


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  1. Your cupcakes look awesome! I have Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World as well; my faves are the Mexican Chocolate ones.

    Did you eat vegan at the resort? I'm going there with my boyfriend and his family, and I'm the only vegan in the bunch, but I can't seem to find any information about vegan food options there. Thanks!

    1. Thanks! That vegan cupcake book is so good! I haven't tried Mexican Chocolate as cocoa/chocolate gives me eczema. :( I'm not vegan, but I am dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, chocolate/cocoa-free and no red meat.

      It depends on the resort you are going to. Lots of selection for salads, oil & balsamic vinegar, oatmeal, and fruit galore! In my suitcase, I packed my own brown rice protein powder, oatmeal, little drink boxes of Asian soymilk & coconut water, lots of nuts, dried fruit, ground flaxseed, small jar of virgin organic coconut oil, natural peanut butter and brown rice cakes. I kept the nuts/flaxseed/coconut oil/soy milk/coconut water in my hotel room's little bar fridge. I knew that if I didn't have enough protein, I could have some nuts, nut butter or protein powder. We were so lucky that the hotel's breakfast buffet even had a smoothie station. I had my daily green smoothies there too (brought my own coconut water)! Have lots of fun! :)

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