These gluten free carrot cupcakes with orange frosting are inspired by the popular Moroccan carrot salad and made with Spice Tribe's Padang Cassia Cinnamon and Island Nutmeg.
Moroccan inspired cupcakes?!
In Morocco we have a salad made with grated carrots, freshly squeezed orange juice and lots of cinnamon. My grandma would serve it in small plates alongside many other traditional salads to accompany the main dish (usually a tagine or some sort). This salad has such a distinct flavor and fruity aroma, it has always been a favorite of mine.
It would be totally dishonest to pretend that cupcakes are a traditional Moroccan food, because they’re not. That said, something about the flavors and ingredients in this salad are just screaming to be folded into a baked good and topped with frosting, right?!
The way the sweet carrots and orange juice play together with the cinnamon always felt more like a dessert than a salad to me.
So here we are, pulling inspiration from a salad and making cupcakes.
We’re taking those freshly grated carrots and Spice Tribe’s single origin spices to make a luscious and fluffy carrot cupcake. Then, we’re topping it with orange buttercream frosting made with freshly squeezed orange juice, because citrus season is upon us people!
Obviously if you’re not into oranges and citrus… you can leave it out and stick with a traditional cream cheese frosting… but I might judge, just a little.
Spice Tribe’s Single Origin Spices
When my new friends at Spice Tribe reached out about partnering with Salima’s Kitchen, I was so excited to read about their single origin spices.
The ‘single origin’ label means that Spice Tribe works directly with farmers on the ground that share their commitment to offer products with a transparent supply chain directly benefiting growers and their communities.
Not only are they supporting small businesses like mine, they are also committed to ethically sourcing and paying their farmers fairly.
It’s a really special feeling to be able to partner with brands who care about the communities in which they source their products from. Additionally, as someone with multiple food allergies, I really appreciate their transparency in all areas.
Today we are using their Padang Cassia Cinnamon (sourced from West Sumatra, Indonesia) and their Island Nutmeg (sourced from North Sulawesi, Indonesia). I am a huge fan of using whole nutmeg in the form they sell, as it stays fresher for longer and is easy to grate into recipes.
Getting ready to head to the grocery store? Here’s what you’ll need:
For the Carrot Cupcakes:
- grated carrots (about 5-6 large carrots)
- gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour (make sure you pick a blend with xanthan gum)
- baking powder
- baking soda
- cinnamon (I’m using Spice Tribe’s Padang Cassia Cinnamon)
- ground nutmeg (I’m using Spice Tribe’s Island Nutmeg)
- orange zest
- brown sugar
- granulated sugar
- coconut oil (melted to a liquid state)
For the Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:
- cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- salted butter, softened to room temperature
- powdered sugar
- freshly squeezed orange juice (1 orange)
Making your cupcakes
Long gone are the days of ridiculously complicated recipes. In 2021 we are simplifying and these gluten free carrot cupcakes are no exception.
Start by grating your carrots. I like to keep clean up to a minimum and use my cheese grater but a food processor would work too.
Once your carrots are done, it’s time to start baking! Mix together your dry and wet ingredients separately in their respective mixing bowls.
From here, you know the drill! Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones and mix them together until well combined. Add in those beautifully orange carrots and pour that luscious batter into your lined cupcake tin!
While your cupcakes are cooking and cooling (it can honestly feel like seven days and seven nights, amiright?), make your fancy orange infused cream cheese frosting.
It’s literally cream cheese frosting with the tiniest drop of freshly squeezed orange juice and some zest for good measure. Beat together your butter, cream cheese and orange add ins with copious amounts of powdered sugar.
Finally, pipe that magic as high as your dreams onto your gluten free carrot cupcakes. Sprinkle with a dash of that single origin cinnamon for good measure and enjoy!
Tips for adding moisture to gluten free baked goods
Worried about your gluten free carrot cupcakes coming out dry? I gotchu.
When it comes to gluten free baking, there are a few tricks you can use to make sure you’ve got the perfect level of moisture in your baked goods.
Usually, it’s just a matter of adding in a bit of additional wet ingredients. Here are my favorite moisture enhancing add ins:
- Apple suce (as used in this recipe) - the applesauce adds both moisture and a subtle sweetness that goes perfectly with the cinnamon and carrots
- Yogurt - this one is great for breads and cakes and has a nice neutral flavor
- Milk, juice, liquids - this one is pretty self explanatory, the more liquid the less dry your baked goods will come out
Don’t be afraid to experiment with what you have on hand and make a few mistakes! They will only help you in becoming a more confident baker ❤️.