For years I would say that carrot cake was not my first choice for dessert. I never ordered it at a restaurant and would be disappointed if that was the only sweet treat on a table. Clearly I just never had good carrot cake. Until now.
As with most things that I think I don’t like, I have to try to make it myself before making that final declaration. And, in fact, it took me a few tries to get this recipe right. The flavor was nice after the first test which is what inspired me to keep going. The texture wasn’t quite fluffy enough but we got there in the end.
The secret, it seemed, for making me love this was a focus on fresh carrots, no other additions (raisins and pineapple may be popular but they don’t work for me in a carrot cake) and a good hit of cinnamon. As soon as I took the final batch out of the oven, I knew I’d love them just by the aroma.
The final step toward carrot cake love was to tweak the frosting. Sure, cream cheese frosting is great but I guess I wanted an extra punch of flavor. Maple syrup was the perfect choice to go with the carrots and cinnamon. The final result was not only carrot cake that I would eat but carrot cake that I loved. I hope you will too. Enjoy!
Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 40 MinTotal time: 1 H & 10 M
Recipe for moist, carrot cake cupcakes filled and topped with maple cream cheese frosting.
For the Cupcakes:
- 1 Stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 Cup granulated sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Teaspoon vanilla
- 1 Cup shredded carrots (about 3 medium carrots)
- 1 Cup all-purpose flour
- 1 Teaspoon baking powder
- 1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 Teaspoon salt
For the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 8 oz. Cream cheese, softened
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 1/2 Cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 Teaspoon salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- To make the cupcakes, cream together the unsalted butter and granulated sugar, using a stand or hand mixer.
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
- Beat in the grated carrots.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet batter and mix just until combined.
- Line a muffin tin with 8 jumbo muffin cups. Fill each with 2 oz. of batter (about 3/4 full). I used a 2 oz. ice cream scoop and got exactly 8 jumbo muffins.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick, inserted in the center, comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- To make the maple cream cheese frosting, add the cream cheese, butter, maple syrup, salt and powdered sugar to a bowl and beat until fully combined. You can do this by hand or with a stand or hand mixer.
- Remove about a quarter cup of the frosting to a small bowl and another tablespoon to a second bowl. Add orange food color to the larger amount and green food color to the smaller amount.
- Fit a piping bag with a large tip (I recommend the Wilton 1M) and fill with the remaining maple cream cheese frosting. Insert the tip into each cupcake and squeeze in a little filling. Be careful not to overfill or the cupcake may break apart. Then top each cupcake with a swirl of the frosting.
- To make the carrot decorations, add about a teaspoon of the orange frosting to the top of each cupcake and use a toothpick or butter knife to make a loose carrot shape. Then use a toothpick to add a bit of the green frosting to the top of each carrot shape.
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