The BEST Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Simple ingredients become stellar in this easy to make dessert. The BEST Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting are a classic when it comes to cake recipes. Perfectly spiced cake studded with fresh carrot, raisins and pecans then topped with a rich, cream Cream Cheese Frosting….addicting.
Happy Monday! It’s two weeks until Easter…..my favorite holiday of the whole year. I think it’s because the food we eat leans into my Polish heritage more than the other holidays….we chow down on kielbasa, fried cabbage, ham and Potato Pierogies loaded with buttery, fried onions until we need to loosen our belts. It’s warm enough around here that we can, then, hang outside while the kids enjoy an egg hung and if we’re lucky, the sun will be out. Then, by the time the kids have found the very last egg and are completely hopped up on sugar, we are ready for dessert.
The dessert spread at our house is just as impressive as the dinner. Not a spot is available on the dining room table for anyone to sit and eat, it’s covered in chocolate eggs, Banana Pudding, Strawberry Crepe Cakes, cake rolls, Strawberry Jell-o Salad and, of course, Carrot Cake. And in this case….the BEST Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.
I’ve made quite a few carrot cakes in my time….and I screwed up quite a few, as well. So, this recipe for the BEST Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting is absolute perfection. It’s light, moist and fluffy….all at the same time. Studded with fresh carrots, sweet raisins and buttery pecans, there’s a little bit over everything in here…much like my favorite Morning Glory Muffins…..or a Southern Hummingbird Cake, but without the pineapple.
I take my Carrot Cake very seriously and have a few tricks up my sleeve to make sure your’s are the BEST Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting…..ever. First, I do something a bit unorthodox when I bake them…I crank the heat up to 400 degrees….yes, 400. And I bake them until they begin to rise and the edges firm up, THEN I turn the heat down to 325 and finish baking so they’re puffed up perfectly. This technique ENSURES you will not end up with flat cupcakes…which if you follow me on Instagram you probably saw the first test batch of very FLAT cupcakes. They were still tasty and a little frosting would have covered the evidence but I wanted bakery quality domes….and so, 400 degrees, my friends.
The Cream Cheese Frosting is just 4 ingredients and yields smooth, creamy frosting that you’ll want to slather on everything….or just eat out of the bowl with a spoon. It would be fantastic on these Chocolate Zucchini Muffins because really….a muffin is just a naked cupcake, am I right?
- 2 1/2 cups all purposed flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 ounces unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups fresh grated carrots
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
- For the frosting:
- 16 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 16 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 2 pounds confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Chopped pecans for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs to the butter mixture, one at a time mixing well after each addition.
- Turn the mixer on low. Stir in the vanilla and carrots.
- Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, then the raisins and pecans.
- Fill each muffin well lined with a cupcake liner 3/4 full with the batter.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 and continue baking for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.
- To make the frosting:
- Add the butter and cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Slowly add the sugar to the cream cheese mixture beating until light and creamy. Stir in the vanilla.
- Transfer the frosting to a piping bag and frost the cupcakes, as desired. Sprinkle with chopped pecans and serve.
Cupcakes can be made up to 24 hours in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Frosting can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.