I'm constantly looking for reasons to bake, and friends' birthdays are the best excuse to do it. Yesterday was my good friend Smriti's special day, and she put in a request for carrot cake cupcakes. I love carrot cake and have a great recipe for it, so I was more than happy to oblige.
Note to self: when grating carrots for carrot cake, don't use baby carrots -- it takes forever to grate 2 cups' worth, and when you're in a time crunch like I was, it's easy to get scraped fingers/knuckles.
No nuts. No raisins. These two things have no place in carrot cake, and you'll never get me to admit otherwise! The best kind of carrot cake is dense, moist, and is all about the spices. As you can tell from the picture above, I like cinnamon and I use it a lot -- it's definitely a crucial ingredient for carrot cake. Cardamom, nutmeg and ginger, on the other hand, are pretty overpowering flavors, so when it comes to utilizing these particular spices, less is definitely more.
These cupcakes are great because they're dense and chewy, but the tops have a slight crustiness that, combined with the silky/sticky frosting, adds interesting (and delicious) texture to the whole experience. Even the most anti-putting-vegetables-in-cake of my friends had to admit that these cupcakes are pretty fantastic.
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 2 cups grated carrots
(1) Preheat oven to 350.
(2) Mix sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl. Set aside.
(3) Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices in a medium bowl. Add to wet mixture and combine.
(4) Add carrots and mix well.
(5) Spoon batter into lined cupcake tins. (The cake rises a lot, so I would suggest filling cups a little over 1/2 full to avoid cupcakes that overflow their paper liners.)
(6) Bake for 25, or until toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 stick of butter (I actually prefer margarine because it's easier to mash)
- 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar (Rough estimate -- I usually add by taste)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
(1) Cream together butter and cream cheese in a medium sized bowl.
(2) Gradually mix in powdered sugar.
(3) Add vanilla and ground cinnamon. Mix until smooth.