Nothing says ‘I love you’ more than a carrot cupcake. So when three of the loves-of-my-life, my high school best friends, Lauren, Meagan and Kyla, were on their way to Los Angeles to visit me for the weekend, I decided to make a batch of cupcakes to express my adoration for them.
I love carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. And so for many years I was known to bake a carrot layer cake at my parents house to fill my time during vacations at home. I developed a reputation for this. And now every time I go home my 90-year-old grandma Nana asks my parents if I’m going to be making a carrot cake this visit.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I frosted some in the shape of a heart. For the rest, I spread liberal amounts of the maple cream cheese frosting and decorated them with chopped walnuts and finely shredded carrots. These toppings worked out nicely as decorative food coloring alternatives.
Carrot Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Yields 12 Cupcakes
- 1 cup fine baking sugar
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh blood orange juice
- 1/2 cup vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup flour
- 6 large carrots
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor, grate carrots until finely shredded. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, oil, blood orange juice, vanilla and eggs. Add the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and kosher salt. Stir in the flour until smooth and combined. Stir in 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots and 1/2 cup walnuts and reserve the rest for decoration.
Fill a muffin tin with paper muffin liners and pour approximately 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup. Place in oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of muffin comes out clean, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool before frosting.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 3/4 confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon Vermont maple syrup
In a large bowl, whisk together cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extract, and maple syrup until combined and smooth.
Frost Cupcakes: Spoon frosting in to clean kechup container and frost in heart shapes or as desired. Sprinkle with walnuts and carrots.