A vegan carrot cake cupcake with a core of maple caramel topped with a swirl of cream cheese buttercream frosting, crushed walnuts and a buttercream carrot.
As we enter spring and approach Easter, it’s only right I welcome it with some classic carrot cake cupcakes! This time of year, I crave all things sweet and fresh.
I have partnered with ‘Maple From Canada’ to feature their Canadian maple syrup in the caramel sauce used to core my delicious carrot cupcakes and the cupcakes themselves. A real hit for Easter! The syrup works exceptionally well in this recipe and offers a delicious flavour.
The two maple syrups I use in this recipe are:
- Golden Maple Syrup (light in colour, and has a sweet flavour)
- Amber Maple syrup (which has a dark, amber colour and has a distinctive flavour)
These maple syrups have a maple flavour which tastes phenomenal when mixed with the ground spices and cream cheese frosting. I also made a homemade maple caramel which is a first for me (have I been living under a rock, it’s honestly divine). The caramel is thick and delicious and adds an extra level of flavour to these already scrumptious cupcakes.
Little bit about maple syrup:
Maple syrup is a natural sweetener and can be used in a vast range of bakes and desserts. Pure maple is not only a sweetener it also has antioxidants and nutrients that are beneficial to health. Did you know that pure maple makes an ideal ingredient in sports drinks and provides a pure energy source for endurance athletes?
Check out Maple From Canada’s website here to view the four types of pure Canadian Maple syrup. You can also access many luscious recipes, download their cookbook and read up about the history of Maple syrup and how it is made. In working with them, I have extended my knowledge about the many health benefits of maple syrup and plan on using it more in my recipes.
Learn about the range of vegan-friendly syrups here.
What is Aquafaba:
Aquafaba is the water from a can/tin of Chickpeas. The Chickpea water or brine as it’s called, acts as an amazing egg substitute for cakes, cupcakes and this delicious meringue buttercream. You can also get aquafaba in a carton for easy use. Check it out here.
What is the best dairy-free butter to use for this style of buttercream?
I highly recommend a vegan block butter when making any kind of buttercream containing aquafaba. As you’re adding in a liquid (aquafaba) you want a firmer butter which will set. If you use margarine, the buttercream will be far too soft. My two favourite block butter’s are ‘Naturli’ and Flora Plant-Based Vegan Block Alternative.
Preparation: 20 minutes
Baking time: 18-20 minutes
Ingredients for the cupcakes
- 240ml of dairy-free milk
- 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of Maple syrup ( I used the Pure Canadian Maple Syrup- Amber)
- 210g of self-raising flour
- 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar
- 100g of caster sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 60ml of sunflower oil
- 60g of grated carrots
Ingredients for the maple caramel
- 100g of caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon of maple syrup (I use Pure Canadian Maple Syrup- Amber)
- 50g of dairy-free cream (single double or coconut cream)
- 15ml of dairy-free milk
Ingredients for the cream cheese buttercream frosting
- 250g of dairy-free butter (see notes*)
- 20g of dairy-free cream cheese
- 300g of icing sugar
- 10ml of aquafaba (see notes*)
- 1 teaspoon of maple syrup (I use Pure Canadian Maple Syrup- Golden)
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees c fan, and line two cupcake tins with cupcake cases.
This recipe will make 12-14 smaller cupcakes and 9-10 larger cupcakes.
2. In a small bowl, combine the dairy-free milk with the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup and whisk until fully combined. This creates a vegan buttermilk.
3. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugars, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and ground spices. Mix well to combine.
4. Add the oil to the ‘buttermilk’ and whisk to combine.
5. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until a smooth batter.
6. Fold in the grated carrots.
7. Fill the cases 3/4 full with the batter.
Make sure to tap the tins on the worktop to remove any air bubbles.
8. Pop the cakes into the preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes.
You will know they are done when you put a knife or skewer in and it comes out clean and they are springy to the touch.
9. Place the cupcakes in a sealed container if storing overnight.
Method (maple caramel sauce)
1. Place the sugar and maple syrup into a large pan over low/medium heat, stirring continuously until it begins to dissolve then turn off the heat.
This will take around 10-15 minutes.
2. When it’s golden and liquid, add in the cream and stir vigorously.
It will steam and bubble but keep stirring. You want to be very careful, but quick so you don’t get crystallised lumps.
3. Once the caramel cools down, pour in the dairy-free milk, stir until everything is dissolved.
4. Place the pan back onto a low/medium heat bring it back to the boil.
It will begin to bubble, just keep stirring.
Stir for around 1-2 minutes.
Once ready, pour in a heat proof jar or bowl and allow to cool fully before use.
When the caramel has cooled, you can place it in the fridge until ready to use.
2. Core the centre of each cupcakes with an apple corer or knife and spoon/pipe in some of the caramel sauce.
Method (cream cheese buttercream)
1. In a large mixing bowl, add in the dairy-free butter and dairy-free cream cheese, whip until creamy. I use a stand mixer with a balloon whisk attachment, a hand mixer will work great too.
2. Add in the icing sugar, maple syrup and aquafaba, and whip on high speed for 5-10 minutes until it turns light and creamy. If needed, add 5ml at a time of more aquafaba. You’re looking for the frosting to be whippy and light.
3. Transfer the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a star tip nozzle and pipe a swirl on top of each cupcake.
Decorate each cupcake with a sprinkle of chopped walnuts and a buttercream carrot (opional).
To make the buttercream frosting carrots
Add both colours into separate piping bags and pipe carrot shapes onto grease proof paper. Place into the freezer and allow them to freeze before lifting up and placing on top of the cupcakes.
Serve these cupcakes fresh or store in a sealed container in the fridge. The buttercream frosting and caramel core will firm up in the fridge, so allow them to come to room temperature before serving.
Best eaten within a few days.
Check out Maple From Canada here.
This is a paid collaboration with Maple From Canada.
A huge thank you to Maple From Canada for collabing on this recipe with me!
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