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.

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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