Masala Chai Carrot Cupcakes with Creamy Cashew Frosting

 
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Straddling the line between an indulgent muffin and a wholesome cake, these deeply spiced gluten free cakes topped with a lavish layer of creamy cashew frosting, make the perfect afternoon treat with a cup of tea.

COMFORT • baking • autumn • winter


 

I love baking and I love eating cake. But one of the not so glamorous parts of dealing with a chronic illness (let’s face it; none if it is very glamorous) is that sugar does not tend to be a friend to my body.

And sure, I could just reduce my cake eating to a minimum. Save it for the occasional birthday or celebration. But somehow, a life without cake feels too dreary to even fathom.

The thing is, cakes don’t always need to be over the top decadent.

Sometimes, you just want something a little sweet to nibble on with your coffee or your afternoon cup of tea. A nice, wholesome, nubbly little cake that looks good enough to serve to your friends but that you wouldn’t question eating for breakfast, if push came to shove. Let’s call it a girl-next-door cake.

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These carrot cupcakes are exactly that. Lightly sweetened with maple syrup, the natural sweetness of the carrot and the raisins take center stage. The warm hit of spice from the cinnamon (don’t be afraid of the amount, just trust me) and the garam masala infuse the cake with an exotic note, which is heightened by the undertone of coconut.  They also happen to be gluten-free.

You could just leave them as is, and you would have a perfectly delicious muffin to enjoy with your morning coffee. But why stop there?

The cashew frosting, creamy and decadent, with a soft, floral sweetness from the honey and a hint of vanilla and lemon, takes these wholesome muffins brazenly into the realm of cake. As Merry Barry, the queen of cakes herself might say, ‘they do look inviting.’

The best part is, that unlike many cakes, there is no hidden price-tag attached to these. No sugar induced comas to contend with or feelings of guilt. Instead of merely wetting your appetite for sugar and setting you up for cravings, you will mop up the last of the crumbs of these cupcakes with a feeling of complete satisfaction. Who said you couldn’t have your cake and eat it too?

 
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Masala chai carrot cupcakes with creamy cashew frosting

Total Time 55 min

 

Serves 12

Dry ingredients

  • 1 cup (150 g) buckwheat or rice flour

  • 1 cup (125 g) almond flour

  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp garam masala

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp salt

Wet ingredients

  • 3 eggs (beaten)

  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) maple syrup

  • 1/3 cup (60 g) coconut oil (melted)

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 cups (300 g) grated carrots

  • 1/2 cup (75 g) raisins

  • 1/2 (75 g) shredded coconut

Frosting

  • 2 1/3 cup (300 g) cashews  (soaked in water for at least 4 hours)

  • 1/2 cup (150 g) honey

  • juice of 1/2 a lemon1/2 cup (150 g) honey3 tbsp milk

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • zest of 1 orange

 

FOR THE CUPCAKES

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and either grease or line 12 muffin cups with liners. 

  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl and stir well.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the melted coconut oil, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla. 

  4. A little at a time, add the dry ingredients to the wet, folding in the flour until a loose batter forms. Gently fold in the carrots, raisin and coconut until just mixed.

  5. Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool for a few minutes in the muffin cups, and then carefully remove them from the pan and place on a rack to cool completely. 

FOR THE FROSTING

  1. Place all of the ingredients except for the orange zest into a high speed blender or food processor. A blender will definitely be able to get the frosting much smoother and creamier than a food processor will, but in a pinch, a food processor will do the job well enough.

  2. Blend until the the mixture is entirely smooth, with no graininess. In a food processor, this will take up to 10 minutes of processing. In a high speed blender, this should take about 3-5 minutes. You will need to stop the machine now and again to scrape the sides back down into the mix.

  3. Once the frosting has reached the level of creaminess you want, it's time to frost your cakes. Spoon a generous layer on top of each cake, making fun swirls with your knife. Top the frosting with a little grated orange zest. 

  4. Any cakes you don't consume immediately should be stored in an airtight container to prevent them from drying out.


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garam masala

buckwheat flour

coconut oil