Scrambling last minute to find a recipe to make for Easter? We have a great one to impress the relatives, both adults and kids alike, carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting! Say that ten times fast! They are simple, quick, and absolutely delicious!
There are a few details that I should run through quick before we get down to the nitty-gritty. When baking carrot cake, many recipes call for finely shredded carrots. If you have a food processor attachment, it will do this for you in no time flat, that’s awesome, use it! If you do not have a food processor attachment, are looking for a good arm workout, or have gobs of extra time on your hands, than by all means, shred those carrots by hand, you brave soul, you! Now, if you’re like me (someone without gobs of time and a food processor attachment) you can take the easy way out. Just throw your carrots into the food processor and let it chop your carrots into fine pieces. This method is quick and easy. As long as your pieces are fine enough, no one will ever know the difference. If I could make one suggestion, please do not go to the store and buy the pre-shredded carrots, they really are too thick. Also, lets be honest, no one is eating this cake for the carrots! So, the thinner or smaller, the better, to make them as unnoticeable as possible.
Another quick tip that I have learned over and over again is that there is no rushing cream cheese frosting. This is the one part of this recipe that will take a little forethought (I know planning in advance is hard for me too, so here’s your warning). The cream cheese and the butter BOTH need to come to room temperature on their own. In my experience, there is no good way to speed this process up. I have fallen prey to thinking I could put it in the microwave for just a couple seconds and the result is always a lumpy disaster of a frosting. So please take this warning, set out your cream cheese and your butter to soften in advance!
Feel free to take an artistic license on how you frost and decorate these guys. I used a small bowl to pour my pecans into and then rolled the pecans onto the top of the frosting. Have fun with it, be creative, there are so many cute ways to make them look festive! I chose to add white chocolate carrots on top of mine!
With these tips in mind, you really can’t mess these cupcakes up, and the result is well worth it! Happy baking!
Prep time: 30 min (softening of cream cheese and butter will take longer)
Bake time: 19-21 min
Yields: 16-20 cupcakes (depending how full you fill them)
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1 ½ cup finely shredded carrots (about 4-6 carrots)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cup chopped pecans
Cream cheese frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 ½ cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with cupcake liners.
Mix all of your dry ingredients except your sugars in a medium bowl. Flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice. Stir until combined and set bowl aside.
In a mixing bowl combine your sugars and your eggs. Mix on medium low until sugars and eggs are well blended and creamy. This takes about 1 min. Add in applesauce and vanilla extract and combine. While mixer is on low speed, add your vegetable oil to batter.
Divide your carrots in half and add half to the dry ingredients and half to the wet. With mixer on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients to the batter until combined.
Divide your batter into cupcake tins. Fill each cupcake ¾ of the way full to achieve full round cupcake tops.
Place tin on middle rack and bake for 19-21 minutes. To tell that cupcakes are done, place a toothpick in the center. It should come out clean.
Place on cooling rack and completely cook before frosting.
Allow for cream cheese and butter to fully soften at room temperature. Once they have fully softened, place in a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment and mix butter and cream cheese. Mix on medium speed for several minutes until well blended. Add in vanilla extract. With mixer on low speed slowly add in powered sugar. Mix until all ingredients are well combined. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.