Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Sweet carrot cupcakes are topped with creamy, dreamy cream cheese frosting in this easy cupcake recipe.

Carrot cupcakes_ART_WEB

In our house, there are a few special friends … of the stuffed kind. Namely, there’s Teddy, Skunk and Pink Bunny. While I won’t share whom they all belong to (some things are best kept private), I will say that they are all well-loved.

Pink Bunny in particular (who is aptly named, since she is both pink and a bunny) often makes an appearance at breakfast and tea parties and can be frequently spotted perched on the edge of the couch for family movie night. She also is often mentioned at the farmers market and grocery store … because she loves carrots. Naturally.

Would you expect any less of a bunny? Even if it is a pink, stuffed one?

So, yes, it was Pink Bunny, the beloved stuffed animal, who inspired this week’s recipe. Well, that and the hope that spring might actually appear soon (though I fully accept that spring here is a bit different from spring in other New England states).

Carrot Cupcakes Recipe

There’s something about carrot cake that just speaks spring to me. It’s a time of hope and renewal. It’s when the grayness of winter recedes, letting the brilliant colors of nature begin to return. And it’s when we throw open the windows to let fresh air in again.

Or, that’s how spring has always been for me. I remember as a child when that first truly warm day would come and the fragrant air would waft in, a forgotten joy.

Carrot Cupcakes with Dreamy Cream Cheese Frosting

You know what else is joyous? A delicious dessert that’s pretty easy to make. Like these cupcakes.

These easy cupcakes are made in one bowl which means easier cleanup. The trick to getting the most carrot-y flavor into them is to hand-grate the carrots. Though you can use store-shredded carrots in a pinch, fine shreds impart a better carrot flavor into their tender crumb.

carrot cupcakes

And then there’s the frosting. I’ve dubbed this Dreamy Cream Cheese Frosting because that’s precisely what it is: Just dreamy. It’s a swirl of sweet, slightly tangy goodness that takes these cupcakes from good to great.

I think Pink Bunny will approve.

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Serves: yields 10 cupcakes
 
Ingredients
Cupcakes:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
Frosting:
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 oz package cream cheese, softened (from an 8 oz package)
  • ¼ cup marshmallow fluff
  • ½ cup confectioners sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 10 muffin cups with liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add the egg, milk and oil to the bowl. Whisk vigorously for two minutes, until smooth. Stir in the carrots.
  3. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  4. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
  5. Once cooled, prepare the frosting.
  6. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all frosting ingredients and whip until combined and smooth. Transfer to a pastry bag and frost cupcakes.

 

Sarah Walker Caron

About Sarah Walker Caron

Sarah Walker Caron is senior features editor for the Bangor Daily News, and resident cook. She writes a cooking column, Maine Course, and is also author of "Grains as Mains: Modern Recipes Using Ancient Grains." Her recipes have appeared in the BDN, Betty Crocker publications, Glamour.com and more.