My lovely friend Marie and her fiancé, Zach, recently had us over for dinner. Marie is a vegetarian and a wonderful cook, and the main course was rustic and fully satisfying; Creamy Polenta with Mushrooms and Sherry. I offered to bring dessert, and because of our mutual love of carrot cake, I made these simple cupcakes. I think cupcakes are a great dessert to bring to a dinner party… no serving utensils required.
I finely grated some carrots and sprinkled them on top as a vibrant garnish. Pretty, right?
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
For the Cupcakes
4 medium carrots
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the Frosting
4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 lb (2 cups) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350° with a rack positioned in the middle. Line muffin cups with paper liners or spray with non-stick baking spray. Coarsely grate enough carrots to measure 2 cups using the large teardrop holes of a box grater. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a bowl. Whisk together oil, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and grated carrots in a large bowl, then stir in flour mixture until just combined.
2. Divide batter between muffin cups and bake until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on rack until completely cool, 1 hour.
3. For icing, beat butter and cream cheese in a standing mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add sugar, one cup at a time, and then vanilla, until smooth.
4. Frost cupcakes. For a garnish, finely grate a few tablespoons of carrot. Squeeze dry between paper towels. Sprinkle over cupcakes.