Let me take a second to explain to you my relationship with carrot cake. I’m not a fan of using vegetables in desserts. I haven’t gotten around to using zucchini in my chocolate cakes, or beets in my red velvet, not even avocado. But here’s the thing, carrot cake is a completely different story. I love spice cakes. I usually get more excited when people suggest carrot cakes, or gingerbread cakes rather than the typical chocolate or vanilla ones (I get extra jumpy when people ask for chocolate and strawberry cakes, that combo just doesn’t work with me).
I love carrot cakes. I’ve attempted many recipes, none of which leveled up to my idea of what a perfect carrot cake should be like; moist, mouthwatering, light and crunchy cake with a decadent cream cheese frosting. I eventually did get my hands on one, but something was still missing. After a lot of brainstorming, I figured that the answer was pretty obvious. Cupcakes.
I had been going at it from the wrong angle. Why settle for one big cake, when I can turn them into individual pleasant bites, each savoring its own concentrated flavor. So I managed to tweak the recipe I had for the cake, adding a few twists.
My obsession with adding brown sugar in any recipe also paid off adding more flavor to it. A bit of grated coconut and some orange zest just takes these cupcakes to a whole new level.
The result? It’s incredibly moist, perfectly spiced, deliciously sweet, it’s texture lands right in the middle of fluffy and dense, and that light tang from the silky smooth cream cheese frosting enhances the cupcakes’ flavors in all the best ways.
I’m also really excited to hint to a little move for Rou’s Sweet Corner that involves *cough* ordering *cough*. (SO EXCITED)
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Yields: 18 cupcakes
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups very finely shredded carrots (from about 3 medium carrots)*
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cups vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cups shredded coconut
- zest of one orange
- 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 125 grams cream cheese
- 300 grams powdered sugar, sifter
- 50 grams unsalted butter, at room temp.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees and prepare muffin tin with cupcake liners
- Shred carrots and chop walnuts. (make sure you have these prepared before starting, makes it easier later on)
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, orange zest, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg for 30 seconds, set aside.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together granulated sugar and brown sugar, then add eggs and using an electric hand mixer, blend mixture on low speed 30 seconds, until slightly pale. Mix in vanilla extract.
- Slowly pour in vegetable oil and mix until combined, then mix 20 seconds longer.
- Mix in half of the dry ingredients, then pour the shredded carrots into the bowl with the remaining flour mixture and toss in flour mixture to coat carrots (they’ll clump together a bit but that’s fine). Pour carrot mixture into the batter and blend until evenly combined.
- Fold in shredded coconut and chopped walnuts.
- Pour batter into paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean, about 19 – 21 minutes. Cool in muffin tin several minutes then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
- Prepare Cream Cheese frosting: Beat butter and cream cheese together until well combined. Then add the powdered sugar in two additions to avoid sugar clouds. Turn the mixer speed to high and keep beating at least 5 minutes to make it light and fluffy. Do not overbeat because that will make the frosting runny.
- After the cupcakes are completely cooled, frost them with the cream cheese frosting and sprinkle some more chopped walnuts on the outline of the cupcake (highly recommended as it adds the crunch factor).
Bon Appetit 🙂