Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Clementine Carrot Cupcakes

When my husband was deployed and I spent an entire 15 months alone with my first baby, I adopted many new hobbies to help pass the time.  Baking cupcakes was one of those hobbies.  Over time, I grew a reputation for baking cupcakes.  So naturally when I first started this "whole foods" endeavor, one of the first thing some people asked was, "Does this mean no more cupcakes?!"

Well, today I baked cupcakes with whole ingredients and sweetened purely with sucanat.  I've often used sucanat in place of sugar for baking sweets, that's nothing new.  But this time I also used sucanat to make my own powdered sugar to make the frosting.

Clementine Carrot Cupcakes

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sucanat
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons clementine juice
  • zest of 2 clementines
  • 2 cups carrots, finely grated

I started by combining the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large measuring cup.   In a mixing bowl, I beat the eggs and sucanat until thick.

Add oil & applesauce and beat at medium speed for 3 minutes.

Add vanilla, juice, zest, and mix well.

my homemade vanilla extract

Fold in the shredded carrots.

Add dry ingredients until just combined.  Line muffin tins & fill each cup 90% with batter.

Bake 16-18 minutes at 350 degrees.

Clementine Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1.5 sticks of butter, room temp.
  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 16 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
  • 1 tablespoon clementine zest
  • pinch of salt
Making powdered sugar out of sucanat:
Take 1 1/2 cups of sucanat and add 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder OR cornstarch.  Combine them in a blender and blend on high continuously until the mixture is of uniform powdered consistency.  Keep the lid on the blender until the powder settles.

*I used a food processor because my blender broke, *sob*

home made powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy.  Add cream cheese and beat again until light and fluffy.  Add remaining ingredients and mix approximately 3 minutes.

If I had even the slightest ability to make a cupcake look cute, I would, but this is about the extent of my frosting skills. :)  The frosting turned out great -- perfect consistency!  My only complaint is the taste.  Sucanat is a great substitute for brown sugar, particularly in recipes that call for molasses flavoring.  I find that it definitely carries it's own distinct flavor, which I'm not overly fond of.  Inside cake and brownies, the flavor is masked, but in drinks and frosting, I can taste it.  But the unique flavor sure didn't stop my son for gobbling down three of these cupcakes while my back was turned!

The good news is that you can make powdered sugar with any granulated sugar.  Sucanat, turbinado, and coconut sugar would be the healthiest options.  Regular white sugar or cane juice crystals are a less healthy option, but will work, too.


  1. wow emily, i am soo impressed by your creativity and dedication in your home. i would love to see what a typical shopping list looks like! i'd like to take notes and scale it to our home of 3. we are always trying to eat healthier & fresher but have a tough time when our budget is soo tight!

    1. thank you! we live on a tight budget as well, with a family of 5 on one income. we spend a good chunk of money on food because it's important to us. we are willing to make cuts in other parts of our lives (like cable TV & cell phone bills) in order to buy healthier foods. breastfeeding, cloth diapering, and buying toys/books/clothes at thrift stores are all ways that we save money. we don't buy expensive coffee-shop coffees (just brew it at home), we never go to the movie theater, and we rarely ever eat out. i stopped dying my hair & have never paid for a babysitter. all of these are small things we do to save money, which we in turn pour into our grocery bill. =)

      i did write this post about a shopping trip a made, detailing what i bought & how much i paid. hopefully you find that helpful! i was also thinking about writing a post about common "staples" in my pantry and fridge as well. =)