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.
Have some life… enjoy it!
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
adapted from Martha Stewart
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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