Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

By • March 1, 2011 5 Comments

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Author Notes: Tweaked from 101 Cookbooks, these cupcakes actually contain barely any sugar at all. They're sweetened with dates and ripe bananas, but you'd never guess it from the taste.

They're topped with a smear of fluffy, maple-spiked cream cheese frosting. You'll fold in just enough whipped cream to give it cupcake-worthy airiness without losing the tang of the cream cheese. The verdict? Excited exclamations of, "It's like cheesecake whipped cream!" Try it, you'll be excited, too. - MigrantKitchen

Food52 Review: These cupcakes are delicious! I had my doubts about the how well bananas and dates would sweeten a batch of cupcakes, but they performed beautifully. The cupcakes are dense and moist, and taste a bit like a cross between carrot cake and banana bread. And you really wouldn't guess that the recipe uses whole wheat pastry flour and practically no sugar. The ethereally light frosting is a perfect match. Instead of sauteing the bananas with half the butter, and then mixing the chopped dates with the rest, next time, I'll melt the whole stick of butter in the pan, add the bananas, dates, brown sugar, and vanilla in one go, and mash the mixture up with a fork while it's sauteing. Also, don't bother breaking out your mixer -- the ingredients came together with a few turns of a wooden spoon. I'm thrilled to have a healthier carrot cake recipe to turn to!arielleclementine

Makes 18

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried dates, finely chopped into a paste (think the consistency of a Clif Bar)
  • 3 bananas, very ripe
  • 3 medium carrots, grated
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 stick butter (add 1/2 teaspoon salt if using unsalted butter)
  • 2 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake tray with paper liners.
  2. Sautee bananas with about half the butter, the brown sugar, and the vanilla until bananas are very soft and sugar is completely melted (this step is especially important if you're using frozen or less-ripe bananas)
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together first three ingredients (and salt, if using).
  4. Mix the dates the rest of the melted butter, using a fork to combine and break up the dates.
  5. In a separate mixing bowl, stir together carrots and banana mixture.
  6. Mix in the date-butter mixture, yogurt, and eggs. Add the flour mixture and beat on low until just combined. Fold in walnuts.
  7. Spoon batter into cupcake liners, filling about 2/3 of the way with batter. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until toothpick (or dry piece of spaghetti) inserted comes out clean and dry.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 package cream cheese
  • 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Beat cream cheese with maple syrup until light and fluffy. Set aside.
  2. In chilled metal bowl, beat very cold whipping cream until it holds stiff peaks, adding sugar and vanilla near the end of the process. Fold cream cheese into whipped cream.
  3. Top fully cooled cupcakes, and enjoy!

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