Whole Wheat Carrot Cupcakes

My hubby will almost always ask for carrot cake when I ask what I should make. My quest is in making this treat as healthy as possible. That’s where my search for carrot cupcakes started.Whole wheat is always a tough ingredient to make anything other than bread. When I came across a recipe for Whole Wheat Carrot Cupcakes (with Bourbon Maple Buttercream) from Jackie over at A Bitter Sweet Wife, I could not have been more happy. I decided to forgo the Bourbon Maple Buttercream but I did make the cupcakes.

Whole Wheat Carrot Cupcakes

For this recipe I used:

11 Oz. Shredded Carrots
1 Cup of Chopped Toasted Pecans
1 Cup of Raisins
2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
2 Cups of White Whole Wheat Flour
2 Teaspoons of Baking Soda
3  Tablespoons of Buttermilk Powder
3/4 Cup of Canola Oil
1 1/2 Cups of Whey Low Gold – Sugar Substitute
3 Eggs
3/4 Cup of Water
1 – 8 Oz. Can of Crushed Pineapple
2 Teaspoons of Vanilla

8 Oz. Light Cream Cheese
1 1/2 Cups Icing Sugar
2 Teaspoons of Vanilla

Whole Wheat Carrot Cupcakes – The Ingredients

I stared by mixing together the dry ingredients – excluding the Whey Low Gold.

Whole Wheat Carrot Cupcakes – Mixing the Dry Ingredients
Whole Wheat Carrot Cupcakes – Dry Ingredients

In another bowl I mixed together the shredded carrots, pecans, and raisins.

Whole Wheat Carrot Cupcakes – Carrots, Raisins, and Pecans

Next, in the bowl of the mixer I combined the oil and Whey Low Gold.

Whole Wheat Carrot Cupcakes – Whey Low and Oil

Then I added the eggs and vanilla.

Whole Wheat Carrot Cupcakes – Eggs and Vanilla

Next I added the whole wheat flour mixture and mixed it in until just a few streaks of flour could be seen.

Whole Wheat Carrot Cupcakes – Adding the Flour Mixture
Whole Wheat Carrot Cupcakes – Just Barely Mixed

I mixed in the carrot mixture by hand until everything was well combined.

Whole Wheat Carrot Cupcakes – Adding the Carrot Mixture

I filled a 2 cup measuring cup with the batter and started dividing it between 24 lined cupcake cups.

Whole Wheat Carrot Cupcakes – Filling the Pans

Then it was off to a 350˚ oven for 23 minutes. Using the Whey Low Gold means a quicker baking time.

Whole Wheat Carrot Cupcakes – Ready for the Oven

When the cupcakes had finished baking I cooled them on racks in the pan for 5 minutes then turned them out to fully cool. The final cooling took about 30 minutes.

Whole Wheat Carrot Cupcakes – Just out of the Oven and Cooling
Whole Wheat Carrot Cupcakes – Cooling

While the cupcakes were cooling I started in on the frosting. I beat the cream cheese and vanilla in the mixer until it was very soft and very smooth.

Whole Wheat Carrot Cupcakes – Cream Cheese

Next I sifted the icing sugar over the cream cheese then I beat the mixture on high until it was smooth and fluffy.

Whole Wheat Carrot Cupcakes – Final Frosting Mix

I spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of the frosting on the cupcakes when they were cool. Paired with a cup of coffee and it was a great afternoon.

Whole Wheat Carrot Cupcakes – Ready for Coffee

Bakers Notes:

  • the cupcake was a consistency somewhere between a cupcake and a muffin. Not too heavy which was nice.
  • I used parchment cupcake liners (for the first time). They did not stick to the finished cake!
  • A great recipe!

Saturday Carrot Cake

We were having a friend over for coffee/tea to talk about our past trip to the Big Island of Hawaii and our friend’s upcoming trip to the same Island.

I thought a carrot cake would be a great idea.

Carrot Cake

What makes a great Carrot Cake for you?

How I made my attempt below…..

For this cake I use a recipe from a book I received at Christmas, you might recall this post, John Barricelli’s – The Seasonal Baker. The recipe is called Joan’s Carrot Bars.

The list of goodies needed were:

1 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons of Flour
1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
1/8 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
2 Large Eggs
1 Cup Whey Low Granular Sugar
3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Cup of Grated Carrots

3 Oz of Light Cream Cheese
1/4 Cup of Butter
1 Cup of Icing Sugar
1 Pinch of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla

16 Pecan Halves
2 Tablespoons of Whey Low Granular Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon of Ground Ginger
1 1/2 Teaspoons of Agave Nectar
1/2 Teaspoon Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 Teaspoons of water

Carrot Cake – Ingredients

I started with the cake and greased a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and set the oven to 350˚.

Carrot Cake – Greased Pan

I used the food processor to grate the carrots. Mine disc grated to large size bits, use a finer disc would be better here.

Carrot Cake – Grated Carrots

Next I sifted the flour, baking soda, salt and ground ginger together and set them aside.

Carrot Cake – Dry Ingredients

In a medium bowl I beat the eggs and 1 cup of Whey Low sugar together and added the oil and carrots. I mixed it all until it was well blended.

Carrot Cake – Eggs & Whey Low

The I added the flour and mixed it on low until everything was just combined then finished mixing the batter with a spatula to ensure everything was mixed in.

Carrot Cake – Everything Mostly Mixed
Carrot Cake – Finished by Hand

I filled the pan with the batter then place the pan on a baking sheet. Then it was off to the oven for about 30 minutes. Mine took 50 minutes.

Carrot Cake – Ready for the Oven
Carrot Cake – Cooling

While the cake cooled it was time to make the frosting.

Using my hand mixer I combined the cream cheese and the butter with the hand mixer until well combined. I added the vanilla and icing sugar and beat it until combined.

Carrot Cake – Cream Cheese & Butter
Carrot Cake – Adding the Icing Sugar

An then it was time for the nuts.

I toasted the pecans they were golden  – 8 or 9 minutes at 350˚. I let the pecans cool and put them in a medium bowl. I added the Whey Low Sugar, salt & ginger and stirred them together.

Carrot Cake – Cooling Nuts
Carrot Cake – Ginger and Whey Low

In a fry pan I combined the oil, agave, and water and boiled it until the mixture reduced by half the n added the buts to coat well. I poured the nuts over the sugar mixture and stirred everything until coated. I spread them out to cool.

Carrot Cake – Toasting the Nuts
Carrot Cake – Coating the Pecans
Carrot Cake – Cooling Candied Nuts

Once the cake had cooled I topped it with the frosting. After cutting the cake into 16 bars, I topped each bar with a candied pecan.

Carrot Cake – Frosted Cake
Carrot Cake – Frosted, Decorated, and Cut

This was a great change from the regular carrot cake and great for an informal get together. I would make this again!

Other notes:

  • placing the cake pan on a cookie sheet really extended my cooking time – by almost 20 minutes
  • this cake needs at least 2 hours to cool – as everything is done in the pan

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – Only Smaller

Just after settling into the new apartment we were inundated with guests for the first part of the summer. Our great friends from Germany arrived and stayed with us. We also had a friend from Paris staying at our neighbours on his way to Hornby Island. We also had a new friend, from our recent Silver Sea cruise, come and visit us from the San Francisco area.Given our new expansive deck we though we could handle the crowd easily. The only thing we did not count on was our wet spring continuing well into July.

Our dinners happened indoors which made for cozier company.

We had arranged to have 2 dinner parties close together so I need to make something for dessert for both events. A while back, I read a post over at Joy The Baker explaining that 4 – 6″ cake pans could be used in place of 2 – 8″ or 9″ cake pans and recipes. Great tip here…. Thank you Joy!

I decided to make a couple of carrot cakes. I had seen this cake on the Martha Stewart’s tv shoe several years ago when it was called John Barricelli’s Carrot Cake ( June 2020, no longer on-line) . It has since been renamed just Carrot Ginger Layer Cake (June 2020, this recipe no longer on line the current one uses butter – change for oil) I adapted the recipe a little. The original recipe included candied carrot for decoration. For these cakes I decided just the cake was enough. Thanks John! My hubby requests this cake frequently. I have to agree it is one of the best cake of any kind.

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake

For these 2 – 4 Layer cakes I used:

1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Cups Cake Flour
1 1/4 Tablespoons Buttermilk Powder
1 1/2 Cups Pecans – Toasted
1 Pound of Carrots – Peeled and Shredded
3 Eggs
1/3 Cup Water
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Cups of Whey Low Sugar Subustitute or Swerve Sweetner
1 1/2 Cups Vegetable Oil
1 Tablespoon Freshly Grated Ginger
2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

For the frosting for 1 cake:

6 Tablespoons Softened Butter – 3/4 of a stick
12 Ounces of Softened Cream Cheese – Full Fat
3 Cups Icing Sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons of Grated Orange Zest
1 Tablespoon of Freshly Grated Ginger
Pinch of Salt

I served 1 cake to 6 people and there were leftovers sent home with some of the guests.
I stored the other 2 cooled layers in the freezer for next dinner party a few days later.

More after the jump……..

This is a big flavoured cake with a lot of steps so here goes:

I started by heating the oven to 375 then spray oiling and flouring 4 – 6 inch cake pans then setting them aside.

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – The Pans

I then placed the pecans on a baking sheet and placed them in the pre-warmed oven for 7 or 8 minutes (your mileage may vary).

While the pecans were in the oven I grated 2 tablespoons of ginger reserving 1 tablespoon for the icing later.

I then took the pecans out of the oven to cool then I lightly chopped them.

I reduced the oven temperature to 300.

I peeled the carrots and removed the tips and stems and cut them into 4″ or 5″ lengths for the food processor. I shred the carrots using the smallest holes available.

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – Assembling the ingredients

In the bowl of my mixer I put the carrots, eggs, water, vanilla, Whey Low sugar substitute, vegetable oil, and ginger in a bowl and briefly mixed them together on low speed.

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – All of the wet ingredients including Whey low
Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – And the mix

In another bowl I sifted the flours, the buttermilk powder, the baking powder, the baking soda, the salt, and cinnamon. I then added this flour mixture to the carrot mixture and briefly mixed the whole mixture on low again. Just until the flour was almost mixed in.

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – The Dry Ingredients
Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – the Dry ingredients Combined
Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – Adding the Dry to the Wet
Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – Just barely Mixed

Off the mixer I hand mixed the batter until everything was fully incorporated. I then folded in the pecans.

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – Final hand mixing
Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – Folding in the Pecans

I split the batter between the 4 pans, tapped the air bubbles out, and baked the cakes checking them at 45 minutes. My cakes took the full hour (60 minutes).

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – In the Oven

When the cakes were finished in the oven I moved the 4 pans to a cooling rack for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes I tapped out the cakes onto the cooling racks. They took about 90 minutes to cool completely.

When the cakes had cooled I wrapped 2 for the freezer for a later date. I split the remaining 2 cakes in half to assemble the layer cake.

While the cakes were cooling I started in on the frosting.

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – Frosting Ingredients

I beat the butter in the mixer for a couple of minutes until light and fluffy. I added the cream cheese and beat the mixture for a couple of more minutes. I added the icing sugar, orange zest, ginger, and salt to the butter mixture, then I let the machine do its work for 5 minutes on medium speed.

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – Whipping the butter

To frost the cake, I took the first layer and put it on a regular dinner plate. I then added 1/4 of the frosting and made a nice layer. I repeated with the next 3 layers.

Now the challenge, I had to chill the cake until the frosting was firm while trying to keep it from sliding apart. In the past I have used skewers. Unfortunately my skewers were tossed in the move so I searched through my drawers for something to stabilize the cake in the fridge. I came up with a turkey lifter. It worked perfectly.

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – The Turkey Lifter Scene

During the cake’s time in the fridge one of my guests opened the fridge and started laughing. He saw the turkey lifter at work.

After 2 hours the cake had solidified enough to continue the frosting. After the rest of the frosting was applied I put the cake back into the fridge for a final chilling.

Man I love this cake.

Baker’s Notes:

  •  When using 4 – 6 ” cake pans the cooking time could be slow
  •  You can easily use a sugar substitute here – I use Whey Low
  •  Low fat cream cheese just doesn’t work. It ends up sliding off of the cake before you serve it
  •  Low fat cream cheese can be used in the filling if you want to go that route – just not the outside coating
  •  Bake all 4 pans at once. Baking 2 pans then 2 pans will result in the second 2 cakes being more dense due to the buttermilk’s power having been used up while the batter rested
  • June 2020 – this recipe is no longer on the site listed

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