Carrot Cupcakes with Milk Free Cream Cheese Icing
Although Easter is over and I am sure that everyone is sick of carrot-related recipes, I couldn’t help but share this one. I have been meaning to make carrot cupcakes for a while now, only I couldn’t figure out how to make the cream cheese icing without being stuck eating the whole thing myself (see: Trevor’s lactose intolerance). It’s also worth pointing out that I refused to make carrot cupcakes with plain vanilla icing, which is practically criminal in my books. Carrot cake has to be paired with cream cheese icing, just like peanut butter and chocolate, mint and chocolate, everything and chocolate.
The only way I could make this recipe was if I used a milk free cream cheese substitute. I had been hearing about milk free cream cheese substitutes for some time now, only I was a little worried about how they would turn out. How close to cream cheese were we talking? Sure, it could look and smell like cream cheese, but I wanted something that tasted as close to the real thing as possible.
During a wandering trip around Whole Foods in downtown Toronto (one of my favourite places to walk around during my lunch break), I spotted a small container of Tofutti Milk Free Better than Cream Cheese. I was intrigued, especially because the package smelled strongly like the real thing. Still a little wary, I waited until I got home to google it and see what other people thought.
The search results were unanimous. According to multiple reviews, Tofutti’s Milk Free Better than Cream Cheese was considered one of the best cream cheese substitutes out there. One reviewer even mentioned how she fooled her co-workers into believing that this was real cream cheese. That was all I needed to hear and I purchased a small container the next day.
It has been a long time since I’ve eaten real cream cheese, so I was a little wary when I first opened the package to make the icing and found the mixture to be a little hard and waxy. I held my breath as I made the icing and after a few pain-staking minutes, I taste-tested a tiny bit on my finger.
Omigod, wow. I swear, I had to pinch myself and re-read the package label to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. It tasted exactly like real cream cheese. Was this really milk free? Trevor, although not at my exact level of enthusiasm, agreed that it tasted very much like how he remembered cream cheese tasting
The true clincher was when I brought some cupcakes over to a friend’s Easter party for dessert. Trevor had wanted me to surprise everyone after they ate them, but I couldn’t help myself and I blurted out the secret. Most people are a little wary when trying substitutes like these, but everyone was game and after the first bite, they couldn’t believe it either. I think we found the substitute cream cheese jackpot!
The carrot cupcake recipe I used is one I have been saving for a while now. I like the simplicity of it because it doesn’t call for pineapple, coconut or any kind of nuts. I ended up running out of granulated sugar, so I substituted more brown sugar and the cupcakes still turned out fantastic, moist and very soft. This recipe also gave me the chance to dust off my piping materials and use some of my basic knowledge from my Michael Cake Decorating Classes. Icing nerds rejoice!
Carrot Cupcakes with Milk Free Cream Cheese Icing
- 2½ cups flour
- 1¼ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 lb carrots, peeled
- 1½ cups brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1½ cups vegetable oil
Milk Free Cream Cheese Icing
- 8oz container of Tofutti Milk-Free Better than Cream Cheese
- 1/4 cup butter/margarine*
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 3 1/2 cups icing sugar
- Walnuts, for sprinkling
- Preheat your oven to 350*F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, ground cloves and salt.
- In a food processor, shred the carrots until there are no large chunks. Add the carrots to the flour mixture.
- In a separate bowl, mix together brown sugar, granulated sugar and eggs. Add oil and stir until well combined. Add carrots and dry mixture and stir until flour is no longer visible.
- Prepare a muffin tin with baking liners and fill 3/4 full with cupcake batter. Bake for 20 - 24 minutes until the top of the cupcakes are spongy and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the tin for a few minutes before removing and let cool on a wired rack.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, making the icing. Cream together the Tofutti Cream Cheese, butter/margarine and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add icing sugar until the mixture is smooth and thick.
- Once the cupcakes have cooled, frost as desired.
* be sure to check the label for milk or dairy-related ingredients
Recipe adapted from Sweet Pea's Kitchen
Tofutti Milk Free Better than Cream Cheese was purchased with my own money and I was not compensated in any way for this review. All opinions stated are my own.