Birthday cakes are my favourite type of cakes. They call for festive extravagance, abundance of flavour and taste and most of all kitchen fun and creativity. I have been looking forward to making something special for my dearest one. He wished for a carrot cake, but instead of making one I opt for cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Not only that, I gave the piping bag to my family and let each one decorate their own cupcake. Birthdays are all about having fun, right?
These delicious carrot cake cupcakes are amazing. Very light and moist, they lack the density of the classic carrot cake.. and I must say, I really like them this way. But the favour is where all the magic happens – I use only organic carrots (they are sweeter, more moist and more aromatic), cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon – all the smells of cosy Christmas. The original recipe does not require for walnuts and raisins, but in our home, they do make a difference and we would never miss them.
The cream cheese frosting is such a simple one, yet adding a vanilla bean paste, a pinch of salt and cinnamon makes it a glorious accompaniment to the rich and aromatic carrot cupcakes! Before I know it, a second helping is in order… or did I notice third! A lovely family treat for making even the most simple occasion special.
- 1 and 1/3 cups white flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon EACH: ground nutmeg, ground ginger, ground cloves
- 2/3 cup light-brown brown sugar, packed
- 1/3 cup white granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or use 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 and 1/2 cups finely shredded carrots (~3 medium sized carrots)
- handful of raisins
- handful of chopped walnuts
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 250 full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature (do not use low fat)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or use 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 175C degrees. Line a 12-cavity muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Set aside.
2. In a separate large mixing bowl, using hand mixers, beat together the brown sugar, white sugar, and eggs until combined. Mix in applesauce and vanilla extract. With mixer running on low speed, slowly pour in vegetable oil and mix until combined. Finely shred the carrots (on the small side of your grater (picture above) and measure to ensure you have 1 and 1/2 cups. Add the dry ingredients right on top of the wet ingredients and the shredded carrots right on top of that. Add raisins and walnuts. Stir until just combined being careful to not overmix.
3. Pour batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup about 3/4 full. You should use all of the batter between the 12 cavities. Bake in preheated oven about 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick when inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean. Cool in muffin tin several minutes then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
For the frosting:
4. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. Using a hand mixer, cream together the room temperature butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until completely smooth. Mix in vanilla extract, sea salt and cinnamon. With mixer running on low speed, slowly add powdered sugar and beat until well blended and smooth. Chill the frosting while the cupcakes finish cooling.
5. Frost completely cooled cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.