Saturday, April 7, 2012

Carrot (Cake) Cupcakes

I know what you're thinking. Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is one of the most unhealthy cake choices. Sugar, oil, butter, cheese. Despite the bad reputation, find a reason to make these cupcakes once a year. Seriously. They're that good. Make them for Easter or a spring birthday and you've already lessened the chance of eating all 24 yourself.

These cupcakes made their first appearance last year on my mama's birthday and they're back to celebrate another year. She's a huge carrot cake fan (aren't we all?). This particular cake is just slightly spicy, with a touch of cinnamon, and is super moist. You won't find any raisins here, but you could toss them in if your heart desires.

I love baking with carrots. The color is fantastic. This recipe calls for a lot of grated carrot. If you don't have a food processor, save time by purchasing shredded carrots and finely chop them.

For 24 cupcakes, I doubled the recipe for my go-to cream cheese frosting that I used for my birthday banana cupcakes (without browning the butter). The recipe makes a generous amount of frosting. If you pipe the icing using my method, you will have plenty of frosting to go around and enough left on the spoon to enjoy. If you're a newbie, check out my tips for using piping bags in my birthday post. If you opt to spread only a thin layer of frosting on your cupcakes (lame), cut the frosting recipe in half.

Any hey, if you want to avoid the frosting all together (really lame), the cakes are great plain, or with a little butter and/or cream cheese spread. Two of my cupcakes disappeared before the frosting was even made. I swear it wasn't me ...

I garnish my cupcakes with a sprinkling of carrots to make them extra pretty, but not before I've sautéed the carrots in butter and maple syrup. Oh yeah. This part isn't necessary, but as I've said before, when you're going to indulge, indulge!

After you soak up the excess butter, sprinkle the carrots over your cakes as you wish. Cream cheese frosting is best stored in the fridge, so be sure to make some room before you begin baking.
Happy Spring!

Carrot (Cake) Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes

2 c. plus 2 T. flour
2 t. cinnamon
2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. salt
2 c. sugar
1 1/3 c. vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 lb. carrots, grated

Preheat your oven to 400°. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. I like If You Care 100% unbleached large baking cups. Combine 2 c. flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Toss grated carrots with the remaining 2 T. of flour.

In a stand mixer, beat sugar, oil, and eggs. Add vanilla. Add the dry ingredients in parts and stir just until combined. Stir in the carrots with a wooden spoon or spatula. Fill cupcakes pans 3/4 full. Bake cupcakes for 10 minutes at 400°, lower temperature to 350° and continue baking for 20-35 minutes.

3/4 lb. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 lb. butter, room temperature
1 t. vanilla
1 lb. powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a stand mixer. Slowly add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Transfer frosting to a piping bag to ice cupcakes.

2 T. butter
3 T. maple syrup
1 c. carrots, grated

Melt 2 T. of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add grated carrots and maple syrup and sauté for 3 minutes. Transfer carrots to a paper towel-lined plate and allow to drain and cool. Sprinkle carrots over frosted cupcakes.

Store iced cupcakes in the refrigerator.

1 comment:

  1. I love carrot cake and I sometimes substitute a little less than half the oil called for with unsweetened applesauce and it saves some fat and tastes just as good!