Monday, November 16, 2009

Healthy Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I love carrot cake, but my family is not fond of the idea of vegetables in dessert. My husband remarked that these were the best carrot cake cupcakes he'd ever had. They are moist and tender and don't fall apart like other recipes that I've tried. Plus, this can be a sneaky way to get your children (or husband) to eat their vegetables! ((wink, wink)) This recipe was originally created by Ellie Krieger of the Food Network, but I tweaked it a little. The original recipe called for nutmeg and eggs.

3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup silken tofu, blended until smooth with a little water
1/2 cup natural applesauce
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups grated carrot
1/4 cup, plus 2 Tbsp. walnuts or pecans, chopped fine

4 oz. low fat cream cheese, such as Neufchatel (I tried Tofutti Cream Cheese and the frosting consistency was too runny. You'll have to find a great alternative...I'm still experimenting!)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with cupcake papers.

Whisk together first six ingredients in a small bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, brown sugar, and tofu until well combined. Add the applesauce, vanilla, and carrots. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients in the medium bowl and mix. Add 1/4 cup of chopped nuts.

Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. I've found that a 1/4 measuring cup works excellently. Bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare your frosting. With an electric hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and lemon zest until smooth. Frost the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle some of the reserved chopped nuts on top.

You will want to store the cupcakes in the fridge. Yield: 12 cupcakes

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