When I suggested to Kara that we try carrot cake cupcakes she was surprisingly game. Maybe baking a dessert that she wouldn’t go near sounded more appealing than baking a dessert she couldn’t resist. My problem lies in the fact that there are no desserts I don’t like. I love all sweets! It’s kind of an issue actually. I honestly can’t think of 1 dessert I wouldn’t gobble up if set in front of me.
When we started looking for recipes most of them included crushed pineapple. At first I really disliked that idea. The thought of pineapple mixed with carrot cake did not sound appetizing. After all, shouldn’t it all be about the carrot??? After going back and forth we ended up trying one with pineapple anyway and they were a huge success. I think the pineapple mainly adds moistness and an extra bit of sweet. The carrot is still the star of the show. But in a good way, not in a veggie way.
We topped our cupcakes with a delectable dulce de leche cream cheese frosting and gave half of the cupcakes to a lady Cliff works with and the other half my Mom brought to work. I’m glad there weren’t any leftover that I could munch on because I definitely would have devoured them! The frosting was absolutely amazing. These cupcakes were a nice change of pace for someone like me who bakes chocolate 95% of the time. It taught me that there are other flavors out there, like carrot, just waiting for me to fall in love with.
Yield: about 28 cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
4 cups peeled and finely grated carrots
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste
½ cup crushed pineapple, well drained
1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and finely chopped
½ cup sweetened shredded coconut
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
For the Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar (more or less depending on consistency)
3 tablespoons dulce de leche (we used store bought)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 standard muffin pans with paper liners. In a bowl, whisk together carrots, eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and coconut, pineapple and nuts if desired.
In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Stir flour mixture into carrot mixture until well combined.
Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted into the center come out clean, 23 to 28 minutes. Let the trays cool on wire racks, 10 minutes. Turn out cupcakes onto wire racks, and let cool completely. Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen for up to 2 months in airtight containers.
For frosting, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is smooth. Beat in the dulce de leche. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting them. Frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.