For Mother’s Day – Carrot Cake Cupcakes

by moderndomestic on May 4, 2010

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.

Mothers Day Carrot Cupcakes 4

Still working on that piping - all my dots have peaks. Eek!

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.

Mothers Day Cupcakes 2

An attempted flower. Ignore the blob in the middle.

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.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindelle May 4, 2010 at 10:06 am

These look so delicious :)
I’ll have to make some for the Mom next time I visit her!


Alice May 4, 2010 at 5:02 pm

These look really tasty. Maybe I’ll make them my first cupcake experiment. Do you know, if I bake them in two batches (I only have one muffin pan) will the batter be okay for the second batch?


moderndomestic May 4, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Yes – they’ll be fine. I would refrigerate the batter while you’re waiting for the first batch to cook – it will help keep the leavening from activating. And then scoop away!


Sean Kellogg May 11, 2010 at 12:25 pm

So, the frosting on my cupcakes turned out AMAZING… but the cupcakes themselves were decidedly /not/ moist. One could even describe them as dry. Any ideas where I could have gone wrong?


moderndomestic May 12, 2010 at 12:23 am

Hmm, I’m not sure. So, there IS an error in my recipe from the original, which I’ve fixed – it’s 1/2 cup minus 2 teaspoons brown sugar, not tablespoons, but I’m not sure that that would be enough to totally ruin them moisture-wise. My first suggestion is heat and cook time. Do you use an oven thermometer? Sometimes the dial on your oven is inaccurate, and you could be baking them at too high a temperature. If you make them again I’d also cut the bake time by a couple minutes – like, I’d check them at 15 minutes, and then check them again at 18 minutes.

Also, this is just a general note but I always find that recipes come out way more consistently if I weigh my ingredients. Like, when you measure by volume your “cup” of flour is actually a totally different weight depending on whether it’s “dip and sweep,” spooned into the cup, or sifted. You may have gotten a denser cup of flour that, combined with the bake time/oven temp, etc., resulted in a dryer product. But, crap. I’m sorry they didn’t turn out well – that sucks.


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