Grain-free Vegan Carrot Cupcakes

carrot cupcakes

The grain-free vegan baking continues in our household! As I previously reported, my eight-year-old (the one with the impeccable oral hygiene yet 13 cavities in her mouth) has been prescribed an alkaline diet by her pediatrician, to reduce the acidity in her body and help resolve whatever is going on in her mouth.

Our ped also follows Chinese Five Element theory, which posits that there are five different body types aligned with five natural elements (Wood, Water, Fire, Earth, and Metal) and that each type or nature requires a different type of diet, both physically and energetically. As a Water-type, my little one is supposed to avoid anything from an animal (including honey, since it passes through the body of a bee and has “animal energy”) and any grain.

She’s also supposed to drink tons of water and unfortunately has a tendency to barely wet her lips with her water bottle. I am constantly reminding her to drink water when she is with me, and when she does I tell her, ” No little sips! Take a big glug! Don’t just wet your lips with it!”

It doesn’t help that she’s also the pickiest eater in the house, so between the restricted diet and the finicky attitude, food can definitely be a source of stress for me. I am an attentive mama and want the very best for my kids, and I understand that a grain-free vegan diet would be hard for ANYONE, much less an eight-year-old!

She does understand, in theory at least, what’s going on in her body and how this type of diet can help. But try telling that to her taste buds and her not-yet-fully-formed prefrontal cortex, where reasoning and logical thought happen in the brain. Not to mention the societal pressure of everyone around her eating all sorts of food that she’s not supposed to have.

Yes, it’s a challenge. But we can do hard things. And so we do.

And these delicious, moist carrot cupcakes really help! It’s virtually impossible to find grain-free baked goods out there in the retail world, so I make my own. Time-consuming, yes, but infinitely rewarding, knowing exactly what my kid is eating, and knowing that I am always putting in the most important ingredient myself: LOVE!

We begin with a grain-free flour mix, which is the base of much of my grain-free baking. This was given to me by the Chinese doctor to whom our pediatrician refers us, and she helps keep us on track with the whole Chinese Five Element thing and gives us lots of recipe ideas to help.

* * *

Grain-free Flour Mix

3 3/4 cups chickpea flour
2 1/4 cups potato starch
1 1/2 cups tapioca flour

Measure all into a large container with airtight lid. Whisk well until evenly incorporated. Seal container and shake vigorously for one minute. Whisk again each time before using.

* * *

Then we continue with the cupcakes. I call them cupcakes instead of muffins because they are sweet, and very frostable. I prefer them just plain, but I offer the frosting option because these are made with an eight year old in mind, and you can guess her preference!

You could also make a layer cake with this recipe, greasing three 8-inch round pans, then lining them with parchment paper. After cooling completely, you can turn out the cakes onto a service plate, frost the top of each cake as you layer them, then frost the sides.

When frosting, I prefer the Daiya New York Cheezecake slightly softened, then spread on top. Unfortunately the crust is grain-based, so I do my best to avoid that part and just use the cheesy part on top. Compared to regular frosting, this gives that cream-cheese-like flavor that goes so very well with carrot cake.

* * *

Grain-free Vegan Carrot Cupcakes

Ingredients:

2 cups grain-free flour mix
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup granulated sugar (can use even less, especially if planning to frost them; these were plenty sweet)
1 1/3 cups grapeseed oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups peeled grated carrots
1 1/2 cups raisins
Optional: vanilla frosting (I didn’t frost this time, but sometimes use Simple Mills vanilla frosting, or the cheesy part of a Daiya New York cheezecake, minus the grain-based crust)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper cup liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the baking mix, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, xanthan gum, and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the water and flaxseed meal and allow to thicken for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. This is your “flax egg” egg replacer.
  4. With a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and oil. Add in the vanilla and flax egg, and beat for one minute.
  5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, and then fold in the shredded carrots and raisins.
  6. Pour batter into prepared muffin cups and bake for 30 minutes. I like to rotate the pan halfway through baking, since back of oven tends to be hotter than the front.
  7. Let the cupcakes cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack. Remove from pan when cool.
  8. Option to frost the tops with frosting, but I like them just the way they are.
  9. Store unfrosted cupcakes on the counter for a couple of days, then transfer to fridge, if they last that long! If frosted, refrigerate from the start.

* * *

Note: For more information on Chinese Five Element theory, and to get your own body type analysis done via Skype, you can learn more from the teacher of our beloved Chinese doctor.

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