Ever since I had this one spiced carrot cake from a particular bakery in Boise, no other carrot cake could even come close. It’s just so darn good! The only downside is, said cake is insanely high in calories (like most of the best-tasting foods in the world). So, rather than suffer withdrawals while waiting for my next birthday or big weekend splurge, I made it my mission to come up with a “macro-friendly” version with all that sweet spice, rich frosting, and super moist texture that makes carrot cake the best cake in existence (just my humble opinion). Well, I think I finally succeeded: these low-sugar, low-fat, high-protein cupcakes are on another level scrumptious! They also just so happen to be gluten-free (if you’re into that sort of thing).
The secret is in the spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves… all in much larger quantities than I originally thought necessary! But oh my gosh, the flavor is so amazing – you just have to trust me. It’s like a carrot spice cake, hence the name “spiced carrot cake protein cupcakes.” I also found that in addition to the Pyure Organic Stevia Blend, adding a couple tablespoons of Truvia Brown Sugar Blend added a richer element of sweetness that makes these especially crave-worthy. You can totally substitute coconut sugar, raw sugar, or brown sugar for the sweetener; or use pure stevia to cut the carbs by a couple grams.
Most carrot cake cupcakes have more carbs and fat than anything else, but this recipe is loaded with protein, thanks to Jamie Eason Lean Body for Her Whey Protein Isolate in Natural Vanilla. I love that this protein is all natural, tastes amazing, and bakes so well! Of course, feel free to substitute whatever vanilla protein you have on hand, whey or vegan.
Instead of oil or butter, this recipe uses almond flour and unsweetened applesauce to add moisture and “weight.” If you must substitute the flour, use half a cup of wheat, spelt, or gluten-free baking blend, omit the milk, and add two tablespoons of oil to the recipe.
I also used a packed cup and a half of grated carrot for lots of carrot flavor and extra texture! Nothing like getting your veggies in cupcake form 😉 Does the thought of grating all that carrot make you shudder? Buy shredded carrots and throw them in a blender or food processor!
The frosting is a simple cream cheese protein frosting made with fat free cream cheese (can sub reduced fat cream cheese, Neufchatel cheese, or whipped cream cheese), nonfat plain Greek yogurt, a scoop of Lean Body for Her Whey, Pyure Organic Stevia Blend (use sweetener of choice), and a tiny bit of pure almond extract. That almond extract makes such a wonderful difference! I had to restrain myself from eating all the frosting before the cupcakes come out of the oven (ha). Feel free to substitute silken tofu or vegan cream cheese for the cream cheese and Greek yogurt (ounce for ounce) if you need a dairy-free version!
Here’s the recipe! Please leave a comment below if you try it 🙂
- 80g vanilla protein powder (I used Jamie Eason Lean Body for Her Whey Isolate)
- 6 tbsp. Pyure organic stevia blend = 3/4 cup baking stevia or sugar
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 2 tbsp. Truvia brown sugar blend (optional) = 1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt (optional)
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg (optional)
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger (optional)
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3/4 cup (6 large) egg whites
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or milk of choice)
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 6 oz. fat free cream cheese
- 6 oz. nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup Pyure organic stevia blend = 1/2 cup baking stevia or sugar
- 1/8 tsp. almond extract (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk together dry ingredients (through cloves) in a large mixing bowl.
- Add grated carrot and remaining wet ingredients (through vanilla), mixing until combined.
- Line wells of a muffin tin with paper, silicone, or foil cupcake liners, lightly coating the insides of the liners with cooking spray. Or, omit the liners and just spray the insides of the muffin wells.
- Divide batter between wells, three-quarters of the way to the top.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick or knife inserted comes out clean.
- While your cupcakes cool, beat together frosting ingredients until smooth.
- Spoon frosting into a piping bag (or a sealable baggie with one corner cut off) to decorate your cupcakes (or just spread with a knife)! Garnish with chopped pecans and unsweetened coconut if desired (not included in the nutrition facts).
- Enjoy right away or store in the fridge up to one week (no preservatives). These can also be frozen and then thawed at room temperature (or using the defrost setting on your microwave).
- Calories (per cupcake, including frosting and optional ingredients): 113kcal, Fat: 2.6g, Sat fat: 0.9g, Carbs: 11g, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Protein: 12.5g, Sodium: 287mg
- Calories (per cupcake, minus frosting and optional ingredients): 72kcal, Fat: 2.2g, Sat fat: 0.7g, Carbs: 6g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Protein: 7g, Sodium: 120mg