Several weeks ago I posted this sweet little photo on my Instagram. I was pleasantly surprised by the simplicity of these cupcakes. I made these for a dear friend’s bridal shower; carrot cake being one of her favorites. And they turned out just darling, oh and they tasted pretty good too.
I found this recipe on Lil’ Luna, it’s a beauty, I made a few tweaks, but it’s a winner! These are nice and light, not your typical dense carrot cakes, not that there is anything wrong with dense, I like dense, I can be dense…
I’ve long touted that I am not a creative person and yet recently, my soul has felt challenged about this statement. One day while doing what feeds my soul (hellooo, baking!) I had a huge AH-HA moment; we are ALL creative, because we are ALL a part of creation! Fearfully and wonderfully made by our Creator, God. We are creative in so many different ways…some are beautiful artists, an athlete at their sport, those who create beautiful confections or meals, some are crafty and can envision making anything (and actually do it!), some can transform a piece of wood into an heirloom, some knit and sew, there are those who arrange flowers or plant incredible gardens, those who invite you into a story through the written word…you get the idea, and this is just a taste of the creativity out there!
I’m so appreciative of the gifts and talents of others around me! So I’m trying to embrace this new-found ah-ha, that maybe, just maybe I am indeed creative. It just might look different from yours. How about you, how are you creative?
But back to cupcakes, carrot cupcakes to be exact!
These moist, simple and naturally orange tinted cupcakes engage your senses with an aromatic balance of spices and topped with this AH-mazing brown sugar cream cheese frosting. I’m not a big cake fan, except for carrot cake, the density, the flavors, the frosting, oh the frosting, oh my…my hips are expanding. They are simple and delicious, and you can tell your Dr that you are indeed getting your beta carotene!
Start by mixing your dry ingredients together in a small bowl. Use a fork or a whisk.
Next finely grate your carrots, I used my teensy-tiny grater plate on my food processor, if you don’t have one, just use the smallest side of your grater, you get all of the color and flavor and fiber I might add, but no large chunks, rather they are somewhat pulverized. Oops, ran out of my bulk carrots, use whatever you have on hand.
Look at that beautiful orange color!
Set aside, you want a scant cup and a half.
Add your sugar to the bowl of a mixer.
Pour in your oil, I used Grapeseed oil.
And the eggs…
Start mixing on low, then once incorporated, turn to about medium and mix until lighter in color and frothy, about 2 minutes.
Next add your carrots and sour cream…
Add your vanilla and mix on low until carrots and sour cream are well incorporated.
Add flour mixture, while mixer is on low, mix only long enough to incorporate the flour.
Scrape down sides and then mix a few seconds more. If nuts are desired, stir in now.
Next, using a large scoop, fill cupcake liners a little more than half way full.
Look at that vibrant, naturally orange color!
TIP: Remember to spray your liners with non-stick spray as it will help the cupcakes release easier from the liners when eating.
The recipe makes 18 regular size cupcakes, I thought I’d make 12 regular and 12 mini-cakes
Bake at 350 for about 18 minutes, until tops spring back when lightly touched. Mini cupcakes bake for about 15-16 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool in pan for 2-3 minutes. This picture makes them look a bit pale, but they are a beautiful light orange color.
After a couple minutes, gently remove them from the muffin tins and place on cooling rack.
Once completely cooled, it’s time to frost, they cool fast, so in the meantime prepare your frosting. Or store cupcakes in airtight container until ready to frost.
Begin by placing your softened cream cheese, butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a mixer and mix until light and creamy. Mixing on medium for 1-2 minutes.
Once creamed, allow to sit for 5-10 minutes to allow brown sugar to dissolve.
Next add your vanilla,
Dash of salt, I love this little “dash” measuring spoon set, I have a pinch and a smidge too!
and last, but not least, add your powdered sugar (just enough to make frosting stiff enough to pipe, if desired)
Whip until light and fluffy and thoroughly mixed, then scoop frosting into piping bag fitted with large star or other preferred tip.
TIP: I like to fold down the edges of my bags to open up as much of the bag as possible, then stick it inside of a tall glass to give some support while you are filling the pastry bag.
With gentle pressure on bag, pipe an ample amount of frosting on top of each cupcake. Start by doing a ring at a time, getting smaller each time and moving your piping tip up and around until you finish at the tip, pull bag slightly while released pressure on the bag. I show it in steps, only to show how you slowly frost, but in reality this is done in one fluid motion, keeping pressure on the pastry bag while releasing the frosting in a circular, upward motion. Clear as cream cheese?
If desired, place whole half of a walnut on top, or a small amount of chopped walnuts on top.
Try various tips, here I’ve used a large star tip (blurry) and the second is using a large round tip, interchangeable, yielding different looks, with the same great outcome.
Store in airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Give them a whirl!
- 1 ¼ cups unbleached flour
- ½ teaspoon + ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon + ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar (I use natural cane sugar)
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup oil (I like avocado or grapeseed oils)
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 ½ cups carrots, finely grated
- ¼- ½ cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- dash of salt
- 3 cups powdered sugar (may need a bit more or less)
- 2 Tablespoons walnuts, chopped of halves for topping (optional)
- In the bowl of a mixer, toss in sugar, eggs and oil; beat on medium speed (start slow and increase slowly, so you don't sploosh everywhere), it should be thick and foamy, about 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile while that is mixing, in a medium bowl, whisk together your flour, soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
- Add sour cream, vanilla and grated carrots (I pulverized mine in my food processor, super fine) and mix well, might not fully come together and will be rather "soupy."
- Add your dry ingredients and stir or mix on lowest setting just until blended.
- Double up your cupcake liners if desired, spray lightly with non-stick spray or oil, this will help them release easier.
- Fill cupcake liners slightly more than ½ full.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes until tops spring back when lightly touched.
- For mini-cupcakes bake for about 15-16 minutes.
- Remove from oven to cooling rack, let rest 2-3 minutes in pan, then transfer cupcakes to cooling rack to cool completely.
- FROSTING PREP
- Beat together the cream cheese, butter and brown sugar until light and smooth. Try medium-high speed for about 2 minutes.
- Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes until brown sugar dissolves completely into the butter/cheese mixture.
- Next add vanilla, salt and enough powdered sugar to make a thick frosting.
- I used a large star tip to frost the cupcakes.
- If you don't want as much frosting on these cupcakes, or plan on just spreading it on, you may halve the recipe for the frosting.
- But, why would you do that?