Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Santa Claus gets milk and cookies set out for him on Christmas Eve, but what should a host or hostess looking to thank the Easter Bunny offer? I’m no Emily Post, but my guess would be these Carrot Cake Cupcakes.
Carrots have tons of health benefits including improved vision, healthy skin, and prevention of heart disease and cancer. I love eating them on their own (or with a little hummus), but I love them even more in cupcake form. Isn’t everything a little better in cupcake form? Especially when those cupcakes are slathered in sweet cream cheese frosting, and only 159 calories or 4 Weight Watchers Points+ each. The cake in this recipe is perfect. It’s not too sweet (so it’s just the right match for the decadent frosting), it’s packed full of carrots, and the plump, juicy raisins offer little bursts of added flavor throughout.
I’m pretty sure I see some cupcake envy in Santa’s future…
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Yield: 18 cupcakes
- ½ cup raisins
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour (you can use white or regular wheat, this is just my preference)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- ¾ cup reduced calorie “light” breakfast syrup
- ½ cup skim milk
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon orange extract
- 2 cups grated carrots (I just washed and peeled a bunch of carrots and threw them in my food processor to shred them up and then measured out 2 cups for this recipe)
- 8 oz of 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (separate from above – this one’s for the frosting!)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line 18 cups of a muffin tin with liners and set aside.
- Put the raisins in a small bowl filled with warm water and let them sit for 10 minutes to plump.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the oil, applesauce, juice, syrup, milk, vinegar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and orange extract and stir together until combined. Pour the mixture into the bowl containing the dry ingredients and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Add the shredded carrots. Drain the raisins and discard the water. Add the raisins to the other ingredients and stir the batter together until carrots and raisins are incorporated.
- Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared cupcake liners and bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely before frosting.
- While the cupcakes cool, combine the cream cheese and 1 tsp vanilla in a large bowl. Beat with an electronic mixer, adding the powdered sugar in a little at a time until smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes.
Weight Watchers Points Plus:
4 per cupcake (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
159 calories, 25 g carbs, 5 g fat, 3 g protein, 2 g fiber (from myfitnesspal.com)
adapted from Cook 4 Seasons