Afterwards, we headed over to Nugget Market for beer, pizza, and ice cream. (Guinness, of course!) My sister also asked if we could pick up supplies for baking cupcakes, so that she could bring some to work the next day. Apparently, she'd been talking up my dessert-making skills to her boss and promised to bring my (semi-)famous carrot cake. (Thanks, Sis. No pressure.)
Carrot cake is such a classic, age-old dessert, and so many chefs/bakers have their own variations. Many of those recipes get passed down from grandmothers/mothers/etc.. This is the version that I love to make! Plus, it's been made into cupcakes for easier coworker-distribution. ;)
I first made this recipe for a family party, and all of my aunts and uncles loved it! They're usually a picky crowd, but everyone liked that the cake and frosting weren't overly sweet. I made it for a lot more gatherings afterwards, and that's how it became "(semi-)famous)".
First, you'll need 3 cups of finely shredded carrot. 6-7 medium-size carrots should be enough.
While my sister and I were at Nugget Market, though, these bunches of small rainbow carrots were too pretty to ignore.
There weren't just shades of orange, but also yellow, green, and purple.
Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes in the pan for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Once the cupcakes have completely cooled (because warm cupcakes = melted butter/cream cheese mess), top them with frosting. I like to transfer the frosting to a piping bag for easier decorating. (Souvenir cups make the best piping bag stands, don't they?? SO handy, those Buster Posey cups are...)
A word of caution, though... The purple carrots darkened after baking, so the cupcakes had green-ish spots. Luckily, since it was St. Patrick's Day when we baked these, no panic attacks were had. My recommendation, if you're using a rainbow bunch, would be to use only the orange, red, yellow, and white carrots.
Aaand this is what happens when your excited, hungry, and cupcake-loving nephew crashes your blog photo session...
All on its own, the carrot cake is moist...not too dense...and is light and airy. The rich and tangy cream cheese frosting balances the natural sweetness of the carrot, as well as the spice of the cinnamon. And, as a nice little finish, the lemon zest is a fresh and bright surprise. This is another great dessert to make this Spring!
Carrot Cupcakes with Meyer Lemon-Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from Better Home & Gardens; makes 2 dozen cupcakes)
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 cup White Granulated Sugar
2 tsps Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
3 cups Finely Grated Carrots
4 large Eggs
3/4 cup Vegetable or Canola Oil
Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
4 oz Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Finely Grated Meyer Lemon Zest (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, combine the grated carrots, eggs, and oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and gently stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
- Pour 2 tablespoons of cake batter into each paper liner. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Leave the cupcakes in the pan for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
- To make the Cream Cheese Frosting, use a stand or hand mixer to combine the cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar. Cream until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and grated lemon zest. Mix until combined.
- Frost the cupcakes, and decorate as desired. Enjoy!