Holidays take on a different significance when you work in a bakery. Mother’s day was always a holiday I had a hard time remembering, but now that we’re awaiting a rush of orders at Treet (hint hint), it’s something that’s hard to ignore.
And I decided that carrot cupcakes would be a lovely way to celebrate the holiday – we’re still a little shy of the rush of spring produce in DC, but they’re still appropriately spring-like and celebratory. And, I’ll admit it – it’s a classic cake flavor that I’m always meaning to make, but never quite get around to. My ideal carrot cake is sweet and spicy and moist, with a silky and tangy cream cheese frosting to top it off.
This carrot cake recipe comes from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes – the newest cake book from Rose Levy Beranbaum, of The Cake Bible fame. It’s a very moist, fragrant carrot cake – the crumb is incredibly soft and tender, and the cake is spicy and sweet. Topped with my incredibly creamy cream cheese frosting, they’re a lovely way to wish your mother a happy Mother’s Day.
I wish I could send these to my mother, but, sadly, I’m not in the business of shipping cupcakes – I think it involves deep freezing and overnight shipping and other things that sound rather complicated. So, Mom, happy Mother’s Day – hopefully, Dad will buy you your own set up fabulous carrot cake cupcakes, since I’m not up to shipping mine.
Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes
Makes approximately 24 cupcakes
2 2/3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup minus 2 tsp light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups canola or safflower oil
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups shredded carrots
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two dozen cupcake tins with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa, and cinnamon.
In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar, brown sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla on medium speed until blended (about 1 minute). Add flour mixture and beat on low until incorporated. Add the carrots and beat on low until just combined.
Using an ice cream scoop, scoop mixture into prepared tins – filling each about 1/2 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cupcakes spring back in the center, and a knife inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Remove to a rack to cool. When completely cool, frost with cream cheese frosting (recipe follows).
Cream cheese frosting
1 8-ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add powdered and vanilla, and sugar and beat until light and fluffy.