Ah, Carrot Cake, the unofficial official cake of the spring.
We’ve come a long way in our friendship, to say the least. Carrot cake used to be on the bottom of my cake list. But now that I’ve created this delicious little cake, it might be one of my new favorites!
Traditional carrot cake has carrots (obviously), raisins, and can include pineapple and coconut. While these are all delicious flavors, I think putting them all together in one cake can be a little overwhelming.
Plus, I think the carrots totally get lost in that cake, which is absurd because the cake is literally named after them.
My goal when creating this recipe was to highlight the carrots! As we know, carrots play really nicely with sweeter flavors. Roasted carrots by themselves turn very sweet! By adding flavors like cinnamon and brown sugar you really enhance the carrot-y sweetness in the cake.
Pumpkin pie spice is my shortcut ingredient in the recipe. Why do I use pumpkin pie spice when this has nothing to do with pumpkin or pie or especially not pumpkin pie?! Pumpkin pie spice is made up of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger! Talk about a loaded little seasoning!
Instead of buying and using all these different spices, it’s easier to just grab one out of the cabinet that does the work of five. If you have all these spices and would like to use them, go for it! I support any decision when it comes to flavorful cake batter.
A note for this recipe, if you are using the pre-shredded carrot option (I used this in my recipe), you might need to cut the little strands of carrot in half. I noticed mine were pretty long and would stick out of the cupcake batter when baking. I suggest cutting them in half so you get a nice piece of carrot in every bite.
2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 and a 1/4 cup of brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 cup of oil
1/2 cup of applesauce
zest of one orange
3 cups of shredded carrots
8 ounces of cream cheese
1 stick of butter
3 and 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
1 tablespoon of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla
A pinch of salt
1/2 cup of crushed walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. Whisk together.
In a separate bowl, whisk together both sugars, eggs, oil, applesauce, and the orange zest.
Slowly, add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
When the mixture is almost all mixed together, fold in the shredded carrots.
Scoop about 1/3 of a cup of batter into a lined cupcake tin.
Bake in the oven for about 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean!
While the cupcakes cool, time to make the frosting.
Combine cream cheese and butter into the bowl of stand mixer and mix on high until light and fluffy.
With the mixer on low, begin to add in the powdered sugar and salt.
After all the sugar has been mixed in, add heavy cream and vanilla to the bowl.
To keep these cupcakes rustic, I used a butter knife so put a scoop of frosting onto the cupcake and smooth out. Then sprinkle with a few sprinkles and some crushed walnuts!
Speaking as someone who doesn’t like carrot cake, these were so good! The warm spices add such a comforting feel to the cupcakes without being overpowering! I love how moist and soft the cake is with the added texture of the walnuts on top!
Seriously, your Easter table needs these cupcakes!