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White whole wheat flour (Recipe: carrot cake cupcakes with lemon frosting)

Carrot cake cupcakes

In a famous series of television commercials from the 1970s, we watched the patrons in restaurants around the country as a male voice-over whispered, "We are here at (insert name of fine-dining restaurant), where we've secretly replaced the fine coffee they usually serve with (the instant brand). Let's see if anyone can tell the difference."

Of course, nobody could tell the difference. Not one single coffee drinker.

That's how it works in TV land, but that's also how it works in my kitchen when I substitute white whole wheat flour for the all-purpose unbleached white flour I usually use.

A relatively new product, white whole wheat flour comes from King Arthur Flour, a century-old Vermont company. In the early 1990s, they received a sample of a new strain of whole wheat flour from a consortium of farmers who had been working with Kansas State University's breeding program. This new flour was made not from hard red spring wheat, which is typically ground into whole wheat flour, but from a hard white winter wheat that lacked the tannins that makes most whole wheat flour taste a bit bitter.

White whole wheat flour

Except for tannins, white whole wheat flour has everything else that you expect from whole wheat flour; all of the bran and germ are present, resulting in an almost identical nutritional profile but with a lighter color and sweeter taste.

When baking pizza, scones, breads, pancakes or muffins, you can substitute white whole wheat flour for some or all of the all-purpose flour, and no one will know they're eating whole grains.

Just be sure to serve your baked goodies with real coffee.One substitution is enough.

Carrot cake cupcakes, made with white whole wheat flour.

Carrot cake cupcakes with lemon frosting

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

For garnish:
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.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More cupcakes in The Perfect Pantry:

Chocolate double ginger cupcakes
Sugar-free chocolate cupcakes
Pear spice cupcakes
Whole wheat lemon-lime yogurt cupcakes
Brownie cupcakes

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Whole wheat chocolate chip cookie dough, from Joy the Baker
Whole wheat pumpkin pecan pancakes, from Skinnytaste
Whole wheat toasted oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, from Two Peas & Their Pod
Low-sugar whole wheat and oatmeal blueberry muffins with lemon, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Whole wheat garlic and herb beer bread, from Gimme Some Oven

Carrot cake cupcakes with lemon icing, and made healthy with white whole wheat flour.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


What a coincidence -- I just made carrot muffins with Ultragrain flour and topped some with a very similar homemade frosting. These sound good too!

Great photos of the cupcakes! You're making me think about buying this cookbook (and I'm not supposed to be buying cookbooks right now!) As you know, I love white whole wheat flour. What a great product.

It looks so healthy, yet tasty. Great close-up of the cupcake!

Yum - its also fine to throw a little vegetables into your cupcakes, especially carrots! I have yet to try the white whole wheat. But knowing that it can substitute anywhere, I'm going to give it a shot. (Loved that coffee commercial!)

This seems like a great place to make a substitution with WWF -- with the spicy goodness of the carrot cake. I'm always scared to make the substitution after a bad experience in compromised flavor.

I'm going to try baking with this new flour you speak of. Healthier baked goods? Bring it on!
Thanks for the tip!

Using King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour is a step up not a substitute. This stuff rocks! You can use it to replace some if not all of All Purpose Flour (unbleached of course). Make fantastic waffles with this flour if you are like me and don't bake much during the summer. Make extra to freeze and pop into the toaster for a treat...topped with ice cream :)

These look delicious and I plan to make them. I love the King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour.

These are on my list. I've been having good luck with the white whole wheat myself. King Arthur's has a nice %100 whole wheat bread machine recipe on their website.

I love your Blog! What a great model for women trying to "monetize" their blogs. I first came because I loved your recipes and knowledge about food. I now learn from both your food talents and media expertise.

Thanks for the Gluten Free ideas---you rock!

I agree great photos, you must have been enjoying the cupcakes when you took these. Will definately try the white ww flour. What an interesting idea.

Please stop posting these luscious dessert recipes. I have no business making them, and they sound soooo good! ;-)

One of the best food surprises/treats I ever pulled off was a carrot-cake-cupcake recipe. My friend Arianne always spoke fondly of the cupcakes baked in ice-cream cones & frosted with cream cheese icing which her mom would make for her birthdays growing up. Arianne grew up in Main and her mom was super health-conscious, so that was as decadent as things got in their house!

I managed to steal a phone number, get her mom's recipe (which is very similar to this one), and bake them all up without Arianne knowing. It was a great surprise, and the cupcakes were so yummy! You're inspiring me to make them again.

Those cupcakes look delicious. Thanks for the info about the flour. I need to get some of that.

I agree completely with Sandra! I can't take any more temptation :-)

I'll have to try that kind of flour out. My husband seems to have a nose for when I switch things up.
I love the sound of these cupcakes!

I'm a white whole wheat flour user too! I find that I still like a little all purpose flour in my baked goods - I think that it makes the texture a little lighter - but I can use a 75% white whole wheat flour/25% all purpose flour mix with fabulous results. And in some recipes where a little lightness and texture isn't as important - or maybe a lot of flour isn't used - I go for all white whole wheat. It really is a great discovery!

I simply didn't know this was available commercially. Now just to find it!

1--I love your blog. 2--I love King Arthur Flour. 3--I always thought it was just white or wheat, and am so happy to see this! No more fussing with percents! 4--I am so making these cuppy cakes!

I have been looking all over for white whole wheat flour and I finally found it when I was at a grocery store out of town and would have had to schlep it back on the train. I'll have to keep searching!

I first thought I misread this, but then I realized you were actually talking about white whole wheat flour. That is great. I haven't seen it yet, but I'll have a look next time I'm in the market.

That is my favorite flour! I use it in everything! Your carrot cake cupcakes look wonderful - my hubby would love them!

These look delicious! I love white whole wheat, too!

I haven't been able to find King Arthur flour in Canada, and it makes me sad.

I bought some white whole wheat flour a few weeks ago. This sounds like a perfect recipe to use it!

I love King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour. So glad I live in an area where it is readily available. Love it in pancakes and with my older recipes that call for 2 cups of AP flour, I now substiture l cup flour with White Whole Wheat. Can't wait to try these cupcakes. Love your blog!

Yum! I have a favorite simple carrot snack cakes but I'll have to try these next time, especially with that frosting!

And white whole wheat flour? Interesting... but I wonder if that is the stuff I found in my local health food shop. I found it awfully pale for whole wheat. Glad you posted this.

carrot cake! i love the stuff... though i am certainly partial to cream cheese frosting usually. willing to give anything a go, though!

Panya, ultragrain flour sounds interesting. I'm going to look it up.

Kalyn, Jackie: I always have a hard time photographing white, so I'm pleased that these cupcakes came out as well as they did!

TW, Julia, Natasha, Satonahat, Food Hunter, Kristen, Maris, Susan, Jamie: you will love the white whole wheat, and it's such a good way to add whole grains to your baking without that heavy appearance of regular whole wheat. We're lucky here in New England that King Arthur Flour products are everywhere.

Betty, great idea. Now if only I had a waffle maker....

Eileen, Victoria, Cathy, Jen, Helen: So glad you have joined the ranks of the white whole wheat fans! I love this flour.

Sandra, Carol: I'm laughing, because I am definitely not known for my desserts!!!

Janet, Rachel: you can buy this online at King Arthur Flour's web site. Shipping is very quick. (Though I don't know if they'll ship flour to Canada, but it's worth asking.)

Channing, the frosting is cream cheese (Neufchatel), with a lemon flavor. Delicious!

I have never heard of this flour. I am very happy to learn of it from you. I just finished reading "The End of Overeating" by David Kessler, the former FDA chair who took on the Tobacco Industry and fought for better food labels and I am really inspired (and already doing it) to eat mostly whole foods, whole grains, etc.

Oh, my mouth is watering! I absolutely love carrot cake, and the cream cheese frosting, heaven!

The lemon frosting sounds nice with this.

I wish we got KAF here, they really need to open up a Toronto store.
Looks great! Please FedEx me a cupcake.

Hurrah for King Arthur flour! After buying it via mail order for too many years the local supermarkets smartened up and my favorite store carries most of the King Arthur line. Now if only I can convince them to carry the cake flour.

very interesting! nevery heard of white whole wheat flour before.


Your photo of King Arthur Flour made me chuckle. After moving from the US to Canada recently, I quickly discovered that the oldest and most established brand of flour here is called Robin Hood Flour.

I guess the association between these flour brands and these figures is that we should view them as dependable, strong, leaders? :-)

My child would live on carrots if I let her, yet she's not wild about carrot cake. But she loves lemon frosting. These may work. I'll make them for my birthday next week.

I think I'll try white wheat flour in my next batch of friendship bread, too.

Mmm, those cupcakes look scrumptious.

I've never seen that flour before, is it only available in the U.S.?

Everyone, thanks so much for your comments this week. The giveaway is over, and winners will be contacted and announced tomorrow. Watch for another giveaway next month.

Sharani, Paz, Chao: this flour has been on the market for several years. I hope you'll be able to find it. I don't know if it's sold only in the US, or whether King Arthur Flour will ship to other countries. Check on their web site.

Jason, Peabody, LeeLee: I'm not crazy about carrot cake either, but these cupcakes were really delicious.

Natashya, check on the web site and see if they ship to Canada.

Constance, same here -- our local markets now carry many more King Arthur products than they used to.

Allen, that's funny -- King Arthur Flour also plays on the theme; they have other flours called Queen Guinevere and Sir Lancelot.

I like the use of whole flour here...might as well get some fiber in this little ode to a classic carrot cake.

I been too several websites to find a GOOD recipe for carrot cake. I noticed there is no calorie count shown; shouldn't this be standard, or am I not looking in the right places?


Do you ever measure your ingredients by weight?

I use white whole wheat flour all the time & generally measure by weight to avoid dry baked goods.

I've been looking for a good carrot cake recipe, and I came across this one! I can't wait to try it out! Thanks for sharing...

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