What to make when that voice inside your head says “eat your veggies”.
October 15, 2020
what's your craving?
I'm a self-taught baker, recipe developer, and food photographer who works as a digital strategist by day in the concrete jungle of New York City. Aside from a never ending supply of baked goods, my Brooklyn apartment also houses two cats and my personal taste-tester (boyfriend).
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Carrot cake has always been in my top five favorite desserts of all time. For me and my family, there was no better carrot cake growing up than a Publix carrot cake (Florida people, you know what I’m talking about). Since growing up and moving all around the country, I’ve had to venture outside of that perfect Publix slice and find a new gold standard. And honestly, nothing has really come close.
So, I’ve attempted to make the perfect carrot cake recipe here in hopes that I can have my favorite cake all year round. For me, the perfect carrot cake has to be moist with a large crumb, all the fixings (I’m talking carrots, raisins, coconut, and walnuts), the perfect blend of warm spices, and a thick and creamy (not whipped) cream cheese frosting. This recipe has all those components, plus it’s the perfect ratio for a 9X9 or 8-inch single layer cake in case you’re not feeling cupcakes.
Tips for Making this Recipe
Don’t over mix. You can really make this cake batter from start to finish with a large mixing bowl and a rubber spatula, and I’ve kept it that way so that you don’t run the risk of over mixing it. Gently fold in all the dry ingredients and mix ins until just combined so that you’re ensured a moist and tender cake.
Feel free to experiment. This is my version of a perfect carrot cake, but the perfect one for you is the one you enjoy eating. If you need to have pineapple chunks in your cake, then add them in. Hate walnuts? Swap them for pecans. Wanna skip the coconut? Be my guest. You can truly make this one your own and find the perfect balance that’s right for your taste.
Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the chopped walnuts on the sheet and toast for 7-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners, set aside.
Whisk the brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla together in a large bowl until combined and no brown sugar lumps remain. In another large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and, using a rubber spatula, fold the ingredients together until just combined. Add the grated carrots, toasted walnuts, coconut, and raisins to the batter and fold to incorporate.
Pour or spoon the batter evenly into the cupcake pans until 3/4 of the way filled. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool for ten minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
In a large bowl using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes until completely combined and creamy. I prefer my frosting stiff enough to pipe with a star tip. But, you can add more cream to thin it out to your preference.
Spoon frosting into a piping bag with a star tip, and pipe a generous portion of frosting on each cupcake. If you prefer, the frosting can be smoothed on straight from the bowl with an offset spatula or a knife. Cover frosted cupcakes or store in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge.