Holidays are always the hardest to deal with when it comes to living away from my immediate family. They bring me back to my childhood when that one holi-day would turn into the biggest day of the year because my grandma would start making phone calls four weeks in advance fretting about who is making the turkey and whether or not we should do dinner on the Sunday or the Friday? Or maybe even the Monday just so everyone including their sister’s husband’s mother’s cousin and her dog could come. It was a big day, or week(s) rather and it may sound stressful but in the end it was worth it. To spend time with family and loved ones, it was well worth it.
Easter specifically was always a holiday to look forward to because obviously it involved copious amounts of chocolate. I will always remember tip-toeing down the stairs in the early morning with my eyes slightly closed (but not really at all) anticipating the spread that would be on the table. There would always be two baskets (three if my dad was lucky that year) filled with chocolate bunnies and eggs and two matching pastel coloured dresses with matching polka dot socks and perhaps a headband with an overwhelmingly large flower or bow attached. It was like Christmas all over again…But better because the sky was blue, the sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the flowers were blooming AND there was a treasure outside waiting to be found.
I have obviously (maybe…?) grown out of the stage where I need a treasure hunt laid out for me and a brand new purple and yellow dress to try on, but I am definitely not over needing my family around to laugh, cry and argue with, nor am I over the chocolate.
So in an effort to bring me back to my childhood Easter’s filled with chocolate and family, I made carrot cake cupcakes topped with cream cheese icing and Cadbury mini eggs (MMM…I can’t. Get. Enough.) But for some reason I just can’t bring myself to make a sugar laden dessert (that’s where my family comes in, but also when I refrain from using a measuring cup like my mother) so they are carrot cupcakes with a twist. The carrot cake cupcake recipe is 100% vegan but the icing is made with dairy so if you are looking for a vegan dessert then maybe try subbing tofutti for cream cheese, or another vegan frosting recipe.
Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing
* Adapted from OhSheGlows
1 1/2 cups grated carrot
10-12 Medjool Dates, soaked in boiling water until soft
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/8 cup coconut oil
1 tbsp milled chia seeds
3/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. orange zest
1 1/2 cup spelt flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. Himalayan Sea Salt
1/4 cup raisins, soaked
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, chopped
Cream Cheese Icing
1/2 cup coconut powdered sugar (in a blender combine coconut sugar with 1 tbsp of arrowroot starch and blend until a tan colour light powder forms)
1/2 cup cream cheese, or tofutti
1/4 cup coconut oil
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and then fill a muffin tray with muffin cup liners. In a food processor, puree the soaked dates along with about two tablespoons of water until a thin paste forms. Pour into a large mixing bowl, along with the carrots, apple sauce, oil, vinegar, chia, milk, and zest. Stir to combine and then set aside.
2. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then slowly fold into the wet. Before it is completely stirred, add the raisins and pumpkin seeds and finish combining. But try not to over mix.
3. Spoon 3-4 tbsp. sized scoops into each liner. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the top has lightly browned and an inserted toothpick or knife comes out clean. Let cool for ten minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
4. To prepare the icing, in a food processor puree the cream cheese and coconut oil until soft and then slowly add in the coconut powdered sugar. Blend until fully combined and you have reached a desired sweetness and consistency. The icing will be a slightly darker colour than what you may be used to for cream cheese icing but that is because of the colour of coconut sugar. If you want white icing, feel free to use regular powdered sugar. Scoop into a piping bag and store in the fridge until ready to frost. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled you can ice and decorate them.
I recommend storing the finished cupcakes in the fridge because the icing may melt in warmer temperatures from the coconut oil and/or go bad due to the dairy.
Enjoy!! And Happy Easter