October 27, 2012

carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

I love carrot cake.  It's the perfect fall dessert.

Here are my two tips for a great carrot cake:

1) Finely grating the carrots makes a difference.  Using the food processor would be easier, but the pieces come out thicker.  I grated the carrots by hand, which made the carrots really meld into the cake when it baked up, and also gave me a great arm workout.

2) I like to replace half the canola oil the recipe calls for with applesauce.  I think it makes the cake tastier, lighter, and of course, healthier.  Win, win, win.

Here's the recipe!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

makes about 24 cupcakes


1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup all purpose whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 teaspoon ground ginger 2 cups sugar 1/2 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
3 cups peeled carrots, finely grated
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts 
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line 24 cupcake molds with papers. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in medium bowl to blend. 

Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots and walnuts. Divide batter among cupcake molds, filling 3/4 of each.

Bake cupcakes 14 to 18 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean.  Let cool in pans for five minutes or so, then transfer cakes to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before icing them.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 stick of butter, softened
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp lemon zest

In a stand mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. Chill the frosting for 10 to 20 minutes, until it has set up enough to spread smoothly.  Spread onto cooled cupcakes.


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