These are simple and very moist. Although a considerable amount of maple flavor goes into the batter and the frosting, the overall effect is quite subtle.
Sprouted whole-grain flour is available at Wegmans locations and at organic markets such as MOM's and Nourish Market in McLean (703-288-3031).
Make Ahead: You may have a little frosting left over, which is nice for spreading on breakfast toast.
Servings: 12 cupcakes
- For the cupcakes
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup plain whole or low-fat yogurt
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups sprouted whole-grain flour, such as Essential Eating brand (see headnote)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup peeled grated carrots
- For the frosting
- 8 ounces regular or low-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup maple sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Raisins, for garnish (optional)
- At least 1 dozen candied carrot curls or shreds, made using a vegetable peeler or grate the shreds (optional; see NOTE)
For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use paper baking cups to line the standard-size wells of a 12-count muffin pan, or use nonstick cooking oil spray to grease the wells.
Combine the butter and syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until well blended, then stop to add the yogurt, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed to incorporate.
Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt on a sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper. Reduce the speed to low, then gradually add the dry ingredient mixture, beating to incorporate.
Stir in the grated carrots by hand. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin pan wells. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Let cool in the muffin pan for 5 minutes, then, if you did not use paper baking cups, use a rounded table knife to dislodge the muffins and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Or transfer the cupcakes baked in paper to the wire rack to cool completely. (The cupcakes may seem too moist on the bottom when you first dislodge them, but by the time they have cooled they will be okay.)
While they are cooling, make the frosting: Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Reduce the speed to low; add the vanilla extract, then gradually add the sugar. Increase the speed to high; beat until the sugar has dissolved and the frosting is very smooth.
Use the frosting to evenly cover the tops of all the cooled muffins. If desired, decorate with raisins or candied carrot curls or shreds.
NOTE: To make candied carrot curls or shreds, combine 1 1/4 cups sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and add the carrots, making sure they are submerged. Let cool completely, then use tongs to transfer them to a wire rack or baking sheet to air-dry.
Adapted from a recipe by Janie Quinn, cookbook author and owner of Essential Eating.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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