Adapted from Ellie Krieger's The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life, this recipe makes 12 cupcakes.
3/4 cup white whole wheat or regular whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup natural unsweetened applesauce
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups finely shredded carrots (2 carrots)
For the frosting:
4 oz Neufchatel cheese, softened
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp chopped nuts (I used macadamia nuts)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a small bowl, sift together both flours, the baking soda, salt and spices. In a larger mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar and eggs, until well combined. Whisk in the applesauce, vanilla and carrots. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Divide the batter between the muffin cups and bake until a toothpick inserted in a cupcake comes out clean, 20-22 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, with an electric mixer beat together the cream cheese, confectioners sugar and lemon zest, until smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cupcakes, and top with chopped nuts.
Store any leftover cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.