I came home from a work trip a couple of weeks ago to find a 5-lb bag of baby carrots in my refrigerator. It looked like Red had gone out to Sam’s Club and decided that he wanted to have some baby carrots for snack and pick up this large bag of carrots. I don’t normally like munching on carrots (I know, I know… I should find a way to at least enjoy them since they’re healthy), so I knew that I had to find a way to use up.
Since Red’s birthday is this month, it was his turn to bring in treats during his office’s birthday treat day. I thought it would be appropriate for me to make these carrot cupcakes to take advantage of the ingredient that I already had in hand. I have only made carrot cake once before, back in college. And I can’t even remember which recipe I use, so I decided to use this Martha Stewart’s recipe which I found on her Martha Stewart Cupcakes book.
I didn’t make any modifications to this recipe, the only thing that I didn’t have was cloves, but I left everything else alone. I thought this recipe was a good classic carrot cake recipe. Since it’s not very sweet, the un-frosted version of this cupcakes would be good as breakfast, and the sweet cream cheese frosting would make a sophisticated dessert. In the future, I may add walnut or pecan as variation.
I have been having fun with my new cake decorating kit which I purchased recently for my Wilton class, so I decided to use one of the larger tips to pipe the frosting on the cupcakes. The frosting was a little bit too soft for more elaborate decoration, so I just piped it with the star tip. Not only that they brought this ordinary dessert to another level, it was a lot less messy too in my opinion! I also tried to tint the frosting with “orange” color, but it came out yellow… uh-oh! They were still delicious and happily consumed by the co-workers at work!
1 pound carrots, finely grated
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line mini muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together carrots, eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla-bean seeds, and raisins. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Stir flour mixture into carrot mixture until well combined.
Divide batter among liners, filling 3/4 full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 23 to 28 minutes, rotating tins halfway through. Transfer tins to racks to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from tins; let cool completely.
Make frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter with 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar. Continue to beat while adding remaining sugar 1/4 cup at a time. Add vanilla, and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Yield~ 2 dozen standard size cupcakes.