Joy the Baker

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream

March 22, 2009

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream

This morning I stood under a blossoming orange tree that hummed with honey bees.  I found my way under this tree after a walk through my neighborhood on one of those mornings that couldn’t decide if it wanted to laugh or cry.

The sidewalk showed evidence of midnight rain.  The smell of rain on asphalt… ooh so perfectly dreamy.  The sky, bright blue with clusters of pure white and angry grey clouds.

The air was just cold enough to chill me through my sweater and carried the scent of orange blossoms nearly a block.  That’s the scene that lead me, arms hugging my chest, to the bee humming orange tree, live with blossoms and heavy with fruit.

The scene screamed of Spring.

Standing there under that tree, it felt like life was just bursting out into the world.  What a pure expression of life and beauty that tree was this morning.

Happy Spring.

Have some life… enjoy it!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream

Carrot Cake Cupcakes are a spring classic.  Right?  I paired mine with Dulce de Leche Buttercream, but feel free to groove on with a classic Cream Cheese Frosting.  These beauties are unadulterated carrot yum, the kind of treat you might find at a church bake sale…. like, the best church bake sale ever!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

adapted from Martha Stewart

Print this Recipe!

makes about 28 cupcakes

  • 4 cups peeled and finely grated carrots
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod reserved for another use (or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and finely chopped
  • 1/2 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
    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with paper liners. In a bowl, whisk together carrots, eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla seeds, 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.
    2. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until testers inserted into centers come out clean, 23 to 28 minutes. Let cool in tins 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.
    3. Frost cupcakes with dulce de leche or cream cheese frosting. Frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature, and sprinkle with toasted coconut (press gently to adhere) before serving.

Dulce de Leche Buttercream Frosting

from The Pastry Queen
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 cup prepared dulce de leche
Cream together softened butter and powdered sugar on low using an electric mixer.  Add cream and vanilla and beat on medium speed until smooth and no lumps appear.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the prepared dulce de leche and beat to incorporate.  Frost cooled cupcakes using a knife or a pastry bag and tip.  Top with toasted coconut.

99 Comments Add A Comment

  • I think carrot cake is my favorite of all! I made a carrot sheet cake this weekend. Wish mine looked as good as yours!

  • I am a major fan of the classic carrot cake and cream cheese frosting combo. But I think I could probably just eat this dulce de leche frosting by itself!

  • Oh my. I want these right now! I think they would be enough to make me forget that it’s cold and rainy today…

  • I am so excited to see these! I’ll be using this recipe for a bunny cake I’ll be making for Easter. I’d love to try the dulce de leche frosting – but I’m making it for cream cheese frosting purists (I’ve already been told!)

  • Ooh, I’ve never had carrot cake with anything but cream cheese frosting. Dulce de leche is a great idea!

  • This sounds like an amazing combination…dlche de leche is just…well…yum.

  • You uttered the magic words: dulce de leche frosting. Bring it on baby!!

  • Oh, how I love carrot cake! But I am the only one in the house who does. And eating an entire cake by myself (although that sounds quite yummy) is never a good idea! Thanks for posting the cupcake version. The icing sounds divine!
    I just learned why/how there are different kinds of honey. Quite interesting!

  • Joy, I love Spring and I love carrot cake! Where on earth did you find the dulce de leche you have pictured? I would love to be able to purchase some for this recipe. Keep up the delicious recipes.

  • This looks so great! I’m really getting in to the whole cupcake movement and these look delicious! I have started a blog and I was wondering how, and if you advertise?

  • Oh no its so cold out today in New York! Wish I was there…

  • I’m jealous; I want spring, too! No bees yet, just sleepy gross flies. Ahh, March.

  • Gorgeous Joy! The perfect thing for me to bake for tomorrow night celebratory drinks for my half Aussie, half Argentinian, 1 week old niece Abby. Thanks for the inspiration. Love the image you created of the orange tree and bees too…

  • Joy, have I mentioned lately that you always make me smile? These cakes sound great, although dulce de leche is hard to get in Oz. More South Americans moving in is changing that a bit. God bless immigration.

  • Happy Spring! These cupcakes look like a perfect way to celebrate the season, and that dulce de leche buttercream looks totally killer. Man, I might not be so cold in my heater-less apartment right now (yeah, in reality, it’s probably only like 50 outside, but I’m always cold) if I had one of these springy, sunshiny cupcakes!

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