For Easter dessert this year, my niece is making brownies and to make sure we have the “Easter Food Groups” represented, I said I’d cover carrot cake. My son (who HATES carrots) told me several times while I looked at different carrot cake recipes that he hopes these don’t TASTE like carrots, and that he plans to eat the brownies. BUT – I’m a fan of carrot cake and snuck one for test tasting purposes (one of the reasons I much prefer cupcakes to a full size cake!), and I thought these were very tasty!
When deciding on the recipe to use for these I was going for a few things – moist (sorrynotsorry if you hate that word, it’s important in baking!), delicious and simple. Personally, I love raisins, pineapple and nuts. But since not everyone does (and I didn’t have them in my kitchen at the moment), I omitted them and relied on spices for flavor, applesauce for moisture, and a really good frosting is always the perfect finishing touch. (Well, and some cute Eastery sprinkles!)
Make these carrot cake cupcakes for Easter or any spring occasion! I plan to enjoy mine with a cup of tea this Sunday.
- 3 cups grated carrots
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (you could also used drained crushed pineapple)
Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
(Note: This is a very mild cream cheese frosting. If you prefer more cream cheese, just increase the cream cheese and decrease the butter!)
- 4 oz. (1/2 block) cream cheese
- 2 sticks salted butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream
- Mix the carrots with the brown sugar. Let it sit for 30-60 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 24 muffin cups with cupcake liners.
- Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and gloves together in a bowl.
- In another bowl, beat the eggs until light and fluffy.
- Add to the eggs – white sugar, oil and vanilla. Mix.
- Add the applesauce and mix.
- Slowly add the flour mixture, adding just a bit at a time. Mix just until combined.
- Fold in the carrot mixture, including any liquid in the dish.
- Scoop the batter into your muffin tins, filling each cup 2/3 of the way.
- Bake for approximately 18 minutes. The tops should be golden brown and spring back when you lightly press the center.
- Allow cupcakes to completely cool (refrigerate if necessary) before topping with frosting.
- To make the frosting, whip the cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy.
- Add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.
- Once the powdered sugar is completely incorporated, add the vanilla and milk/cream.
- Mix on low to incorporate the liquids. Them mix on high for 3-5 minutes to make light and fluffy.
- Top your cupcakes and decorate as desired.
Makes 24 cupcakes. Cupcakes can be kept in the refrigerator if making a few days in advance, or at room temperature. Bring to room temperature before serving.