Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I've always been a fan of sticking carrots and other vegetables that might seem kinda weird (like zucchini) into baked goods, like cakes and cookies.  The combination of the two just seems to work, I think.  By this point, I'm sure you've all picked up on my indifference towards frosting, but I don't think I've shared with you  that I really don't care very much for cream cheese frosting.  Shocking, isn't it?  Cream cheese frosting seems to be a favorite for most people, but I don't know, I think I'd rather just have buttercream frosting, despite my apathy for it.  Before this post seems to get any more pessimistic I will say this.  Cream cheese frosting spread over a carrot cake cupcake is possibly one of my favorite combinations of cupcake/frosting.  I can't really tell you why I like cream cheese frosting so much when it's on a carrot cake cupcake, but for some reason, it really just works for me.  I'm weird and particular, I know.

Anyway, carrot cake has always been a real favorite of mine.  It could be because I think carrots are so versatile (if you wanna try something crazy and delicious, try making juice with carrots and fresh oranges, this is one of my favorite types of fresh juices to make).  It could also be because carrot cake is simply so timeless.  It's been around for forever, and if anything has been around for a while and is still a favorite, there has to be a reason for it.  Classics are goooood.  

This is without a doubt my favorite recipe for carrot cake.  I love that it is just full of carrot in every bite, and the addition of raisins and walnuts just brings the cake over the top.  The best part though, is definitely the fact that this particular cake isn't oily or greasy at all.  This is what sets apart a carrot cake as something special, in my opinion at least.  Carrot cake can sometimes tend to be a little on the greasy side, and I've just never found that very appealing. Cake should be light and fluffy (in this case, it's definitely more dense than say, a white cake, would be, but keep going with me), and definitely not greasy.  Greasy carrot cake is just no good, at least not in my book.

Carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting are the perfect cupcake for spring, and Easter, which is literally almost here!  Despite the fact that the weather in New York has cooled down significantly after a week of almost 75 degree weather (a fact that I'm TOTALLY bummed about, by the way), it's still springtime, and carrot cake cupcakes are the perfect way to celebrate.  The fact that they're really delicious and pretty darn easy to make only adds to the list of reasons why you should bake up a batch of these cupcakes ASAP!    

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
cupcake recipe from Barefoot Contessa
cream cheese frosting from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook


For the Carrot Cake Cupcakes

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups grated carrots (a little less than 1 pound)
  • 1 cup raisins (I used golden raisins)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, plus extra for topping (optional)
For the Cream Cheese Frosting

4 2/3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, cold


Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 400 degrees F.  Line cupcake pans with paper or foil liners.

In the bowl of a standard electric mixer, use the paddle attachment to beat the sugar, oil, and vanilla together.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.  With the mixer set on low speed, add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing only until just combined.  Add the carrots, raisins, and walnuts to the remaining dry ingredients, and mix well (coating them in flour will help ensure that they don't sink to the bottom when baking!).  Add this mixture to the batter, and mix until just combined. 

Divide the cupcake batter evenly among the prepared cupcake pans, filling each cupcake well about 3/4 of the way.  Bake the cupcakes at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes, and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes more. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a rack before frosting.

While the cupcakes cool, prepare the cream cheese frosting.  In the bowl of a standard electric mixer, beat together the powdered sugar and butter until the mixture begins to come together. Add the cold cream cheese all at once, and beat on high speed until the frosting is completely incorporated, light, and fluffy.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, frost the cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting, and top with chopped walnuts if desired.  

Makes about 22-24 cupcakes. 


  1. I just happened to stumble upon your blog on pinterest and I have to say I really love it! We have a lot in common because your blog is similar to mine. You now have a committed follower :)

  2. These cupcakes look incredible - I love the combination of carrot cake and cream cheese frosting. The photos are gorgeous!

    1. thanks! it definitely is one of the best cake/frosting combinations!

  3. Hi,

    I posted your cupcake on my blog with a link back to your lovely blog. I hope you don't mind and maybe would like to become a new and happy follower:-)


    1. Hi, thanks so much for the feature! The cupcakes all look great together, and you have yourself a new follower! Looking forward to your future posts :)


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