Mini Carrot Cakes with Cream Cheese Glaze

Whole wheat flour and Greek yogurt keep these cakes flavorful and moist while adding fiber and protein. Each cake gets 1 teaspoon of sweet cream cheese glaze-far fewer calories than the multiple tablespoons of frosting piled onto your typical cupcake.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 25 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Inactive: 30 min
  • Cook: 35 min
  • Yield: 12 servings
  • Nutrition Info
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Ingredients

Cake:

Pan release spray, for greasing

1/2 cup pecan halves

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup 2-percent Greek yogurt

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

3 large eggs

3 cups shredded carrot (about 3/4 pound)

Glaze:

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

2 tablespoons 1/3 less fat cream cheese (neufchatel cheese), at room temperature

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pinch fine salt

Pecan halves, golden raisins and/or ground cinnamon, for garnish, optional

Directions

  1. For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 12 mini loaf pans or a 12-cup regular muffin pan with pan release spray.
  2. Spread the pecans out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until toasted, 10 to 12 minutes. Allow to cool and then pulse in a food processor until very finely chopped but not ground.
  3. Combine the chopped pecans, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the brown sugar, yogurt, oil, vanilla extract, lemon zest and eggs in another bowl. Stir the carrots into the egg mixture. Fold the carrot-egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Divide evenly among the prepared pans. (Don't be alarmed if the batter seems skimpy; the cakes will rise once baked.)
  4. Bake until the center of the cakes bounce back when pressed and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for a few minutes, and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  5. For the glaze: Mix together the confectioners' sugar, cream cheese, lemon juice, vanilla extract and salt in a medium bowl. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the glaze onto each cake and use the back of the spoon to spread. Garnish as desired.