the taste space

Nut-Free Raw Carrot Cupcakes with Apple-Cashew Frosting

Posted in Desserts, Favourites by janet @ the taste space on May 28, 2013

Enlightened Raw Carrot Cupcakes with Apple-Cashew Frosting

The carrot craze continues…

I am a proponent of eating lots of fruits and vegetables, and raw cuisine intrigues me. Dining at a raw resto can leave me beguiled: how did they do that? This goes beyond salads. Silky smooth lasagnas, luscious chocolate hazelnut cakes and brownies. This does not taste remotely like raw foods. Then I immediately want to try to make it myself. New techniques to bring you different flavours…

If you need any introduction to raw foods, raw desserts are definitely the way to go. No stranger to decadent raw desserts (Raw Key Lime Pie, Better Than Nutella Cheesecake, Raspberry Cashew Dreamcake), sometimes they go thump with the richness from nuts and coconut. It hasn’t stopped me from wanting to explore more desserts, though. Even better when they are lighter.

Last summer, I was a recipe tester for Amber’s cookbook Practically Raw Desserts and while the recipes are very flexible (I love her multiple variations!), one ingredient she was adamant about not substituting was coconut flour. It is unlike any other flour or shredded coconut.

I was dying to try was her Enlightened Carrot Cake. Nut-free, the base is made from carrots, apples and dates. Oh, and coconut flour. However, by the time I tracked down coconut flour and had the gusto to make this recipe, the book had already been shipped to the publisher (oops!). Thank goodness, this was one of the first recipes she shared online because it finally prompted me to try it.

Amber made this as a cute double-decker cake with a small springform pan. Since I don’t have one, I looked for an easier option. Cupcakes worked well with my last raw carrot cake (very good, too), and even though I had no muffin wrappers, I decided to try it out. After a bit of warm water pouring over the back of the muffin tray, the frozen cupcakes popped right out. It worked!

Enlightened Raw Carrot Cupcakes with Apple-Cashew Frosting

And yes, they were delicious. Because they are made with coconut flour, they are light. Coconut flour is defatted coconut meat, so it is a lower-fat coconut-based option for desserts. Most importantly, it is an ingredient creating a fluffier texture.  As such, these cupcakes are so different than any other raw dessert I have made. The sweetness is not over-pronounced and it was a delicious dessert with a hint of coconut and cinnamon. Satisfying and surprisingly filling for a low-fat dessert.

Amber has two recipes as suggested frostings. I chose neither, although her fermented cashew frosting is still on my hit-list. My last cashew-date frosting was a bit dense and definitely not white, so I wanted to substitute the dates.  Instead, I made an apple-cashew frosting. It was simple: apple + soaked cashews + ume plum vinegar (another acid and salt could work) + water. I liked how the fresh apple added bulk and sweetness. The consistency was just perfect after a chill in the refrigerator. Smooth and creamy.

Of course, now I am excited to make more recipes with coconut flour. Have you tried it yet?

Many of the recipes in Practically Raw Desserts use coconut flour, so I am excited to try more of Amber’s creations. I promise to do a better review of the cookbook when I finally get my copy. Here are other recipes that use coconut flour:

Maple Streusel Coffee Cake Squares in Practically Raw Desserts
Pecan Chai Spice Bars in Practically Raw Desserts (I made these as a tester but found the flavours a bit muted and the frosting too soft)
Pecan Shortbread in Practically Raw Desserts
Cake Batter Protein Balls from Chef Amber Shea (I have made these already. They are very good for something so simple)
Raw Apricot Jam Bars with Flakey Crust by Bonzai Aphrodite
Cardamom Chocolate Chip Cookies from Purely Twins
Peppermint Protein Bars from Purely Twins
Coconut Lemon Meltaways from The Hearty Herbivore
Raw Avocado Brownie from Bite-Sized Thoughts
Chocolate Avocado Cookies from Sprint 2 The Table

Enlightened Raw Carrot Cupcakes with Apple-Cashew Frosting

This is my submission to this week’s and to this week’s Healthy Vegan FridayRaw Food Thursdays and Weekend Wellness.

Nut-Free Raw Carrot Cupcakes with Apple-Cashew Frosting 
Adapted from Chef Amber Shea, found in Practically Raw Desserts

1 cup pitted dates, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes and drained (water reserved)
1 pound carrots, peeled if desired, shredded
1 large or 2 small red apples, peeled if desired, cored, and chopped (I had 250g prepped Fuji apples)
1/4 cup date soaking liquid
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon (consider also adding nutmeg and ground ginger)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup coconut flour
Stevia to taste (optional, did not use)

Apple-Cashew Frosting (see below) – or your favourite frosting

1. Soak your dates.

2. Use your food processor to grate your carrots with the grater attachment. Remove and set aside in a large bowl.

3. In your food processor using the S-blade, combine the drained dates, apple, reserved soaking water, lemon juice and vanilla and blend until smooth (a bit chunky is ok).

4. Add the cinnamon and salt and blend again until combined

5. Add pureed mixture to the carrots and stir well with a spoon to combine.

6. Stir in the coconut flour (sift it if it is clumpy), and stir until uniformly combined. Adjust sweetness by adding stevia, if desired. Set batter aside for 5-10 minutes to allow the coconut flour to absorb the water.

7. You can make this into a cake as per Amber’s directions, but I made cupcakes. Pack batter into muffin tray (I did not line them and it was ok) and place in freezer until frozen. At this point, to remove from the muffin tray, I gently ran warm water on the other side of the muffin tray. Once slightly melted, the cupcakes popped right out. Wrap tightly or place in air-tight container. Can refrigerate or freeze. Prior to eating, thaw cupcakes at room temperature for at least two hours, then frost.

Makes 10 cupcakes.

Apple-Cashew Frosting
Adapted from Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day (original recipe here)

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 1 hour, then rinsed and drained
1/4 apple, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar (may sub with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar with a bit of salt perhaps)
water to thin to desired consistency (I used around 1/2 cup but start with less since it will be more saucy initially. It will firm up in the fridge overnight)

1. Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Add water to thin to your desired consistency. It will thicken once chilled, making it easier to frost.

Makes 1 cup. Depending on how much frosting you like, you will need to double or triple the recipe to frost all cupcakes.

40 Responses

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  1. sprint2thetable said, on May 28, 2013 at 8:28 AM

    I love carrots too – never enough!! Thanks for iincluding my chocolate avocadocookies. That awesome texture coconut flour lends to baked goods is crave-worthy. :)

    • janet @ the taste space said, on May 28, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      Thanks Laura. I actually kicked myself when I didn’t know what to do with half an avocado, so I used it in a smoothie.. I had forgotten about your cookies! Next time. I hear there are lots of avocados in Texas. :)

  2. Gabby @ the veggie nook said, on May 28, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    That recipe is totally on my list- I love the idea of a lighter raw dessert. Bonus that it includes coconut flour, one of my favourites :) Love the frosting too!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on May 28, 2013 at 11:35 AM

      It looks like I will definitely be experimenting with it.. so many recipes call for an excess of eggs with it, but this was so simple, I think it will be a great template. :)

  3. Johanna GGG said, on May 28, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    These look gorgeous – I haven’t made raw food with coconut flour but I really need to use some of mine because it is sorely neglected and it is nice to have a nut free raw recipe

  4. Hannah said, on May 28, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    Yeah baby! My kind of treat, with my kind of ingredients, by a fellow PRD recipe tester, but this makes me miss my Amber so much, even though I saw her last only yesterday. Booooo I want Amber and I want this!

  5. Joanne said, on May 28, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    I really need to dabble in the world of raw desserts and what better place to start than with carrot cake, which just happens to be my favorite cake!

  6. Genevieve said, on May 28, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    I made a raw carrot cake with coconut cashew frosting a couple years ago and really liked it, but this one sounds interesting too – I like the addition of apple and the method of firming it up in the freezer. I also like that there’s no oil in this recipe! I haven’t had much success with my coconut flour experiments so far…trying to bake with it without eggs doesn’t seem to work very well, so raw recipes sound like a better option!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on May 30, 2013 at 8:19 PM

      Now that you mention it, it is true that most of the recipes I tracked down are raw… good to know baking might not be the best option for it.

  7. tinykitchenstories said, on May 28, 2013 at 6:32 PM

    I made raw carrot cake cupcakes a while ago and they turned out way too dense. These look light and fluffy! And yummy, of course…

  8. Ellen Lederman said, on May 29, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    Sounds terrific! You think it needs to be commercially made coco flour, correct? I recently tried to make coco flour from dried coconut in the food processor for raw strawberry fudge. The fudge turned out okay, but the “flour” wasn’t very fine and was kind of grainy.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on May 29, 2013 at 8:13 AM

      Hey Ellen, Coconut flour is defatted so it is an entirely different beast than dessicated coconut. I haven’t tried it yet but if you whip dessicated coconut long enough, you will get coconut butter. :)

  9. Heather @Gluten-Free Cat said, on May 29, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    Wow! What gorgeous cupcakes! And I love the idea of apple in the frosting. Thanks for a great list of raw desserts. You know I’m all about that! :)

  10. I must be in the minority. I don’t really like coconut flour. I find the flavor and texture
    Off-putting :-/ But, that frosting…!! I’ve never thought to add apples to my cashew frosting. I’m definitely doing that pronto!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on May 30, 2013 at 8:21 PM

      I was surprised at how coconutty it tasted, actually. It is quite a strong flavour so I imagine it might take some warming up to. Sometimes it is just so nice to treat myself to something that isn’t so heavy though. :)

  11. amber said, on May 30, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    These are fabulous!!!! WOW! Can’t wait to try these.

    Be Well,
    –Amber

  12. Kari @ bite-sized thoughts said, on May 30, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    These look so, so wonderful. And I know what you mean – raw food is just magical. I made your better than nutella cheesecake base this week and that was wonderful and magical too :)

    • janet @ the taste space said, on May 30, 2013 at 8:32 PM

      Woohoo! You linked up two great things with that dessert, since the filling is very similar to my almost guiltless chocolate mousse bake. :)

  13. […] Nut-Free Raw Carrot Cupcakes with Apple-Cashew Frosting from The Taste Space. Don’t these look decadent? And yet. . . healthy! Yay! […]

  14. Chris said, on June 7, 2013 at 7:13 AM

    Can you make these without the dates?

  15. Lara Clouse said, on June 8, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    I made these last night–absolutely lovely! Thank you for posting it! Will definitely be part of my regular repertoire.

  16. Sandra said, on June 13, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    is there a coconut flour replacement I could use instead? aww I reallyw ant to make this recipe !!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on June 13, 2013 at 7:24 PM

      Coconut flour is so different, I don’t feel like it can be substituted. You could experiment with oat flour, or almond flour, but you would also need to reduce the liquid, I think.

  17. dawnhutchins said, on June 14, 2013 at 7:32 AM

    Brilliant! I can’t wait try these Janet!!! I might try it with almond meal….

  18. Healthy Vegan Friday #48 said, on June 21, 2013 at 3:03 AM

    […] 2: Nut-Free Raw Carrot Cupcakes with Apple-Cashew Frosting […]

  19. […] Englightened Raw Cupcakes with Apple Cashew Frosting from Janet @ the taste space […]

  20. Our Healthy Vegan Recipe Love Affair said, on June 21, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    […] 2. Nut-Free Raw Carrot Cupcakes with Apple-Cashew Frosting from The Taste Space: […]

  21. Moi Contre Le Vie said, on June 21, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    Cannot WAIT to make these! I love the idea of this frosting, it sounds divine. <3

  22. […] testing Amber’s recipes for her cookbook Practically Raw Desserts. I highly recommend her Enlightened Carrot Cake, Cake Batter Protein Balls as well as her “World’s Healthiest Bolognese […]

  23. […] recipe is courtesy of Amber from Practically Raw Desserts. I have mentioned her cookbook before,  gushing over her light raw carrot cupcakes and inherent flexibility to her recipes. I really […]

  24. […] a note about coconut flour (again): it is defatted ground coconut so it lends a different texture. It also absorbs a lot of liquid, […]

  25. […] 9. Nut-Free Raw Carrot Cupcakes with Apple-Cashew Frosting […]

  26. […] Nut-Free Raw Carrot Cupcakes […]


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