There’s a very specific sort of kitchen math that runs through my brain every time I stare into my refrigerator and try to figure out what to make.
Six carrots + 8 radishes + 2 sticks of butter + half a pot of leftover chicken soup + 1/2 bundle wilting kale + block of cream cheese – one bagel’s worth of cream cheese + yesterday’s pudding experiment.
Unfortunately the hungrier I am when I approach the refrigerator, the more difficult it is the process this math.
If I made the radishes a snack. If I combine the wilted kale with the leftover chicken soup. If I pray that there’s oil enough, eggs enough, canned pineapple enough, sugar enough, and flour enough… maybe just maybe I can produce Carrot Cake Cupcakes from a good long stare in the fridge.
I wish for you the same success!
Shredded carrots by the heap-ful are mixed together with sugar, eggs, and vegetable oil.
No mixer, even!
Just a bowl, a whisk, and a dream.
Cinnamon, ginger, and ground cloves spice this batter. It’s simple!
Dried cranberries and crushed pineapple sweeten and moisten the batter.
Sorry I made you say ‘moisten’ in your brain. Nobody likes that.
Everytime I decide to make cupcakes I immediately try to talk myself out of it. All of this individual scooping and individual frosting just seems like an ordeal in the part of my baker’s brain that says ‘don’t work that hard, this could be a Bundt cake!’.
But I’m glad I turned this Carrot Cake batter intocupcakes. I took them to a backboard barbecue here in New Orleans in an effort to make new friends. People were like, ‘whoa these are really good!’ and I was like ‘DUH, I’m Joy the Baker, dummy!’. (But I only said that last part in my head, so….).
Calling someone a dummy while trying to make new friends is not suggested.
Cream Cheese Frosting with a dash of crushed pineapple. The pineapple in the frosting will mimic the pineapple in the cupcakes. It’s like matching your purse and your belt. You know.
Springtime friendship makers. Soft and sweet with really great frosting. They’re like little cupcake weapons… for friendship.
Try them. You’ll see.
Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting
makes almost 3 dozen cupcakes
adapted from Martha Stewart
For the Cupcakes:
4 cups peeled and finely grated carrots
3 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, well drained
1 cup walnuts or pecans, finely chopped (plus more for optional topping of the frosted cupcakes)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
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
For the Frosting:
8oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
4-6 cups powdered sugar
2-4 tablespoons milk
depending on desired consistency
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 standard muffin tins with paper liners and set aside. In a bowl, whisk together grated carrots, eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla extract, pineapple, dried cranberries, and nuts if desired.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
Add the dry ingredients all at once to the wet ingredients and stir to thoroughly combine.
Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until testers inserted into centers come out clean, 20 to 23 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.
Make sure cupcakes are completely cool before frosting.
To make the frosting, in the bowl of a electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the cream cheese until soft and pliable. Add the softened butter and beat on low until well combined. Add the powdered sugar, pineapple, vanilla, and a dash of milk. Beat on medium low until mixture is combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add more milk to reach your desired consistency.
Generously spread frosting on each cooled cupcake. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Cupcakes are best served within three days.