Since we’re just under a week away from Easter, I thought it would be a good time to share one of my all time favorite cupcake recipes – carrot! Appropriate, right?I can’t even remember how I stumbled on this recipe, but I’ve used it for years and fall more in love with it every time. This is me officially bowing down to the original source, Deb from Smitten Kitchen, for bringing these cupcakes into my life.
If you’re thinking that carrot cake just isn’t up your alley, think again. I was that kid that would never eat carrot cake. “Vegetables and dessert just don’t mix,” I would snottily say, turning up my nose before diving headfirst into the chocolate cake. If I could go back and smack my younger self, I would, because these cupcakes are bomb. They’re moist but fluffy and the tangy cream cheese frosting perfectly compliments the underlying spice flavors. I usually end up eating at least three the day I make them, and this time was no exception. It’s a good thing I made extra, so I had a dozen to give to the nurses at my grandma’s nursing home and enough left for me to stuff my face.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp table salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups canola oil
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups grated peeled carrots
- Makes 24 cupcakes.
- Walnuts and raisins are optional at the end before you pour into the cupcake mold, but I’m not a fan, so I always omit them.
- Deb mentions that you can grate the carrots or run them through the food processor, but she prefers grating them to get really fine pieces. My advice is that if you have a food processor that will break them down into small enough bits, don’t bother grating them. I grated them the first time I ever made these and felt like killing myself the whole time. I got one cup grated and realized I still had to grate two more cups worth, and quickly wondered why I had done this to myself. The next time, I put them through the food processor and I’ve never looked back, but that may just be because mine breaks them down really tiny, practically to mush.
1. Preheat oven to 350° and get your cupcake pan ready with liners. I found cute green striped ones with carrots on the bottom at Michael’s.
2. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Mix sugar and oil together in a bowl, then add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. I used my KitchenAid for this part, but a hand mixer would work. The batter is pretty soupy at the end so you don’t need a lot of power to mix.
4. Add flour mixture and mix until blended. Stir in carrots.
5. Divide batter evenly among cupcake mold, filling each cup 3/4 full.
6. Bake for 16 minutes (I always follow the toothpick rule, which is just that you insert a toothpick, and when it comes out clean your cupcakes/cake are done).
Allow cupcakes to cool before removing from pan, and always cool completely before frosting (unless you want your frosting to melt and slide off and make a big mess 🙂 ).
I frost these with a different cream cheese frosting recipe than Deb includes in her original recipe, but make sure to check hers out (link here, following the cupcake recipe)! Hers is maple flavored, the one I use is plain, found here.
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
- 8 oz cream cheese (1 brick), softened
- 3.5 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until blended. Slowly add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Tip: Start with 3 cups of sugar and taste as you go, adding more as needed. This way your frosting won’t come out too sweet.
Listen, make these cupcakes. They are SO good. I’m seriously considering my third cupcake of the day after typing all this out and staring at these pictures. Is it somehow healthier to eat cupcakes if they’re full of carrots? Does it counteract the sugar/butter/cream cheese at all? Make them, taste them, then get back to me.