Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

by Deliciously Organic on April 11, 2011

carrot cake

I’m thankful for my friends. The true ones. The ones who stick with me no matter what. The ones who are honest, sometimes brutally so, but completely honest. The friends who aren’t afraid to look at you and say, “What do you think you’re doing?” Brutal honesty (spoken in love) makes me laugh, and I’ve had friends through the years who’ve loved me enough to call me out when I needed it most.

For many months I was struggling with the white balance in the food photography for this blog (white balance is basically making white look white – my whites continued to look yellow). I wrote my good friend Helen and pleaded, “Helen, I don’t know what to do! I’ve followed everything you’ve said to do and yet I can’t get the balance right. I think there’s something wrong with my camera.” Her reply, “Sweetheart, there’s nothing wrong with your camera. It’s you.”

I read the response, laughed and appreciated her honesty. Helen was right. It was me.

Karin and I have been friends for years. Both military wives who love to cook, we connected from the second we met. Last week I told her about my favorite book, The Best Recipe. When Karin said she didn’t own a copy, I told her she had to buy it and that the book makes the perfect wedding gift. Karin didn’t even hesitate before telling me, “Nah, I have a better gift for newlyweds.” We laughed. I loved the honesty.

We currently live on a military base, so the community out here is very close. Sometimes it gets a little too close for comfort, but we’ve learned to roll with it. Our little street has four houses and we have 10 children between us. For the last few Friday afternoons, the other moms and I have brought out the lawn chairs, opened up some wine and gabbed while the kids played outside. Last Friday I told everyone,  “I love that we’ve been doing this — let’s keep it up!” Melanie peered at me over her wine glass and said, “Carrie, we’ve been doing this for almost a year but you never came outside.” Really? I had never noticed. (Honestly, how did I miss that one?)

If I could have all my dear friends over at the same time, I’d make a make a down-home meal (the kind where you get your fingers dirty) and finish it up with carrot cake cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting. The recipe has been a favorite in our family for years and I hope it will inspire you to enjoy a little cake with some of your dear friends. Honest.


*Congrats to Sue from Pure Grace Life! You are the winner of Big Bowl of Love. Please send me an email at deliciouslyorganic [at] yahoo [dot] com with your information and I’ll get your book out to you.


Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Serving Size: Makes 24 cupcakes

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting



  • 1 cup oat flour (make sure it’s gluten free)

  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour

  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

  • 1 pound carrots, grated

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 cup maple sugar

  • 1 cup muscovado sugar

  • 1 cup coconut oil

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Frosting:

  • 24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350ºF and adjust rack to middle position. Line 2 12-cup muffin pans with muffin liners.

Whisk oat flour, sorghum flour, rice flour, arrowroot, gelatin, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in carrots.

Pour eggs and sugars in the bowl of a food processor. Process for 15 seconds. Add coconut oil and sour cream and process for an additional 20 seconds until smooth. Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and stir until combined.

Spoon batter into muffin cups making each 3/4 full. Bake for 20-23 minutes until edges are just golden brown. Cool completely.

Whisk cream cheese, maple syrup and vanilla until creamy. Frost cooled cupcakes with frosting. Best served the day they are made.

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} April 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Mmmm I love carrot cupcakes! I also make some, but they aren’t gluten-free. I actually have all of these flours, so I should give your version a whirl. Cream cheese frosting is my favorite!


Maria April 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Very pretty cupcakes!


Molly Chester April 11, 2011 at 5:39 pm

These pictures are beautiful! Love the background!


Sarah April 11, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Clearly you have perfected the white balance now – the frosting looks heavenly. I also loved your story. You can’t beat good friends.


Allison [Haute Box] April 11, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Ok! I NEED to bake these. Obsessed!


marla April 11, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Oh I just shot a recipe for carrot cake yesterday. These look wonderful Carrie! Yes, your white balance is much more – – – balanced 😉 xxoo


Karin April 11, 2011 at 7:47 pm

I don’t see any yellow in that white frosting…I think you’ve got it….or my eyes are failing me!! Can’t wait to cook this up…Brent just walked by and said, “oooh, I’m willing to try those out!” Carrot cake is his favorite!


Lucy Lean April 11, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Can you let me know what you are doing re white balance because whatever it is it’s working! Cakes look mouth-wateringly white in the right places!


Deliciously Organic April 12, 2011 at 6:35 am

Lucy – one thing that has made a huge difference is draping a white sheet in front of the window as the sun is streaming in. It works like magic and makes everything white. Editing also helps a lot to, to brighten everything up!


Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen April 12, 2011 at 3:52 am

Yes, you’re so right that’s the kind of honesty we all need in our lives from our friends. It’s great to have people like that who don’t beat around the bush, you can really count on them and their opinion. I love that idea of the Friday afternoon wine and gab fest by the way, it sounds like a fun way to spend the afternoon.


Aimee @ Simple Bites April 12, 2011 at 5:24 am

Maple cream cheese frosting – our favorite!

A solid friendship is invaluable– then again, so are perfect cupcakes like these. =)


Aubry April 12, 2011 at 6:20 am

These cupcakes might possibly equate perfection in my book. Cannot wait to try them!!!


Kristy April 12, 2011 at 4:35 pm

These were delicious! And I love our Fridays!


blogbytina! April 12, 2011 at 4:44 pm

you are nutz! your pictures are gorgeous! If you want to feel better about them check out my travesties 😉 I love the maple frosting/ carrot combo!


Gillian April 13, 2011 at 10:17 am

What a lovely recipe! It’s great to see a cupcake recipe, as everyone loves them and you can get really creative with them. I think carrot cake (cupcake or not) is really underappreciated as it can be easily outshined by chocolate and the more popular cake flavours, but it’s so delicious. It’s too bad that I never think to make carrot cake or cupcakes; I’m so glad that you reminded me of its value! I love that it’s simple and decadent at the same time. And by the way, your orange background looks gorgeous (and fitting!), especially since it matches the colours of your blog!


EA-The Spicy RD April 13, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Your photos look great and so do the cupcakes! I’ve never used maple or muscavado sugar before…where do you get yours?


Deliciously Organic April 14, 2011 at 6:36 am

I get my maple sugar from Amazon, but you can usually find it at your local health food store. Muscovado is a very dark brown sugar that I use once in a while when I need extra moisture in a recipe. It can also be found at most health food or gourmet grocery store.


Vicki H April 14, 2011 at 7:27 pm

I am soooo looking forward to making these next weekend..they look yummy!


Fran April 15, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Good job on the white balance and thanks for sharing your friend stories. I too struggled with White Balance — even after Food Blog Camp. I had to take a class to understand how to set up the camera. We all have different lighting situations and I guess it’s about experimentation, eh? Looks like you have hit success with your lighting situation. The shots look great!


Megan April 16, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Amazing cupcakes! The icing looks so light and creamy I want to lick my computer screen (but I won’t..honest!).


Winnie April 18, 2011 at 6:20 am

Love your “confessions” and your cupcakes look perfectly delectable!


Natasha @ Saved by the Egg Timer April 20, 2011 at 6:54 pm

I heart Carrot Cake so much. I will try your recipe fr sure but perfect timing I have been looking for a Maple frosting :)


Elise April 25, 2011 at 1:44 pm

I just wanted to thank you for this recipe. I made these as minis for Easter and dyed the frosting with vegetable dye in monochromatic pastels and they were spectacular. No one could have known they were gluten free. The only changes to the recipe I made were substituting brown sugar and sucanat (I didn’t take the time to track down yours) and instead of two packages of cream cheese for the frosting, I used one of cream cheese and one of mascarpone. They had a marvelous spring to them, fine crumb and were just as moist and decadent as could be. Lovely!


Deliciously Organic April 25, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Thank you Elise. I’m so glad you all enjoyed them. I love the idea of mascarpone. I’ll have to try that next time!


Vicky H April 26, 2011 at 8:53 am

Made these for Easter…they were a hit. The maple syrup instead of powdered sugar is pure genius!


Gillian May 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Hi Carrie,
If I want to use whole wheat pastry flour instead of the flours indicated, how much should I use?
Also, if I want to use a substitute for the maple sugar, would you recommend or muscovado or sucanat? Does the maple sugar give the cake a maple flavour?


Deliciously Organic May 5, 2011 at 6:55 pm

I haven’t tried it with whole wheat flour yet, but I’d replace the sorghum, brown rice, arrowroot, and oat flours for 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour. Also, omit the gelatin. You can use sucanat if you’d like in place of the maple sugar. I don’t think the carrot cake has much of a maple flavor. I love the subtle sweetness it lends to the cake, that’s why I chose it over sucanat in this recipe, but you can certainly substitute. Let me know how they turn out!


Gillian May 6, 2011 at 5:09 am

Ok, thanks! I will let you know!
Also, do you think honey would work in the icing instead of maple syrup? I’m going for a classic carrot cake flavour and want to avoid the brown colour that sucanat will give.


Deliciously Organic May 6, 2011 at 6:11 am

Honey will work just as well. I’d stick with a light honey such as clover.


Gillian May 11, 2011 at 6:39 am

The 2 cups whole wheat flour seemed to be a good substitute. They didn’t rise but I think I measured the baking powder incorrectly, which would explain it.


Deliciously Organic May 18, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Thanks for letting me know. I hope they rise for you next time! :)


Karen July 15, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Really – two cups of sugar? I need to reduce the amount of sugar for my son. What do you suggest? I have pure Stevia and sucanant, can I use a combo of these two? I’ve not baked with stevia, but I’ve been making lots of ice cream with it and it’s working well :) any suggestions appreciated.


Deliciously Organic July 18, 2011 at 9:29 am

You could always cut the amount back to 1 1/2 cups. The cupcakes won’t taste exactly how I intended, but will still be great. I don’t use stevia in my baking so I can’t really give any tips there. My friend Marla has lots of recipes with stevia – http://www.familyfreshcooking.com Maybe her site will have some tips.


Karen October 10, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I finally got around to baking these yesterday. My husband said, “these are the best cupcakes I have ever had.” (he had three before we left the house for family dinner :)

I used whole wheat pastry flour and raw organic brown sugar and sucanant, it’s what I had. They were so moist and tasty. Everyone loved them. thanks again!


Katherine November 15, 2011 at 11:38 am

These look wonderful, can’t wait to make them. Quick question for you….is there something that can be substituted for the rice flour?? My daughter cannot tolerate grains. :( Thanks!


Deliciously Organic November 15, 2011 at 11:55 am

I don’t have a substitution for all of the grains in this recipe, but you could try my grain free pumpkin chocolate chip muffins with the frosting from these cupcakes. I bet your daughter would love them!! http://deliciouslyorganic.net/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-muffins-grain-free/


Kelly S. January 11, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Katherine, I’ve seen a number of carrot cake recipes that use almond flour like this one: http://eatthecookie.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/the-humble-carrot-cake/ I haven’t tried it, but it doesn’t have any grains.


Kelly S. January 11, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Could I sub maple syrup for the maple sugar in the cake? Wanting to make these for my birthday on Friday, and I have muscavado and maple syrup…not maple sugar. Just wondering…thanks!


Deliciously Organic January 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Maple syrup would alter the texture of the cupcakes too much, so I’d go with muscovado sugar. Happy Birthday!


Kelly S. January 12, 2012 at 7:47 pm

I’ve got some coconut sugar, and I’m thinking I might use that, combined with the muscovado. Thanks!


Alexis October 19, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Whats your suggestion if I have raw cream cheese instead of processed?


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