Carrot Cake Cupcakes, reinvented

in johnnas kitchen carrot cake cupcakes with sunflower cream frosting

Last week I was talking with my friend Loren from Fahrmeier Farms about a cooking class she was teaching.  After looking over everything she was teaching, it hit me that every single dish was gluten-free.

Funny how that works…when I first went gluten-free, I had a tendency to look for boxes of food or food-like products at the store that were labeled gluten-free.  It took me quite awhile to stop and look at how much of what I already ate was gluten-free naturally.  No modifications necessary, just whole foods, often simple dishes.

The one dish Loren offered in class that wasn’t gluten-free was her famous carrot cake.  I offered to modify it, in case anyone attending her class wanted a gluten-free version to make at home.  But you know how things work in my kitchen…I couldn’t stop at just gluten-free. I also made it dairy-free, refined sugar-free and nut-free.  I think it’s technically grain-free but am not an expert in that area, so someone chime in and let me know. I wanted to make it as friendly for folks with dietary intolerances as possible.  Plus it’s great  fun to have a challenge like this in the kitchen.

So here ya go…Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Sunflower Cream Frosting, a classic reinvented.  Enjoy!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Sunflower Cream Frosting

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Sunflower Cream Frosting


    For the Cupcakes:
  • 1 cup sunflower seed flour (grind seeds in high speed blender, food processor or coffee mill)
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/4 t. sea salt
  • 2 large eggs from happy hens
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond or other non-dairy milk with 1 t. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup softened coconut oil
  • 1 t. vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely grated carrot
  • 1/2 of an 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, well drained (reserve juice for frosting)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (I prefer Let's Do Organic)
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped pumpkin seeds (use food processor or coffee mill)
  • For Sunflower Cream Frosting
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked in water for at least one hour
  • 1/3 cup Medjool Dates, approximately 7 dates, soaked in water for at least one hour
  • 2 T. softened coconut oil
  • 1 T. vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract (paste preferred to get that pretty vanilla fleck in the frosting)
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 2 to 3 T. reserved pineapple juice or filtered water


    For The Cupcakes:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 15 spots in muffin tins with cupcake papers.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine the sunflower seed flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • In bowl of stand mixer, beat eggs, coconut sugar, buttermilk/apple cider vinegar mixture, coconut oil and vanilla until smooth.
  • Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended.
  • Add remaining ingredients, mixing just to incorporate.
  • Scoop by generous 1/3 cupfuls into lined muffin tins.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 27-30 minutes. Cake will be moist yet firm when done. Allow to cool well before frosting.
  • For Sunflower Cream Frosting
  • Drain sunflower seeds and dates.
  • Add all ingredients except pineapple juice or filtered water to high speed blender or food processor fitted with "S" blade.
  • Blend or process until well combined. Start adding liquid in just a bit at a time until you had a thick, creamy mixture. Don't add too much liquid at once, or the cream will become very thin quickly.
  • Transfer cream to bowl and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Frost using your preferred technique. Cupcakes shown in the photo were knife frosted.
  • Please be aware the frosting will turn a lovely maple color once it has been exposed to air. This changed nothing in the flavor and is the result of chlorogenic acid in sunflower seeds.
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Pssst!  Wanna know more about those cooking classes I mentioned Loren teaching?  She’s got more farm-fresh classes coming up this Summer at A Thyme for Everything in Lee’s Summit, MO.  Click here for more info.  Classes are always fun AND informative at A Thyme for Everything and Loren knows her stuff, all the way from growing the food to cooking it.



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