I’ve had my fair share of cakes and cupcakes, but one that I absolutely always return to no matter the season is carrot cake. My boyfriend actually insists that these little numbers can be considered breakfast. You know — what’s effectively a muffin recipe, paired with cream cheese frosting — sure, let’s call it breakfast. With a recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen, I turned out these mini cupcakes draped in some of the fluffiest icing I’ve ever seen.
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flower
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil (I substituted applesauce and had beautiful results — lower fat!)
4 large eggs
3 cups grated peeled carrots
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins (which I omitted because I jus’ don’t like ’em)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Spray cooking spray on either regular size or miniature cupcake tin
Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sugar and applesauce in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs one at a time. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots and walnuts. Spoon into cupcake tin, filling approximately three-quarters of the way, perhaps a little more.
Bake cupcakes for 15 minutes. Let cool in pans, then flip them out and let them cool before icing.
Makes approximately 24 cupcakes (or approximately 50 mini cupcakes).
Cream Cheese Frosting — Adapted from the Queen of Butter herself, Paula Dean
1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy (approximately five to seven minutes straight).