Thursday, September 9, 2010

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I was the co-hostess of a women's group that I'm in and needed to bring a few nibbles. Hmm...what to bring? I had a craving for cupcakes....then decided I'd make Carrot Cake Cupcakes. Carrot Cake is my absolute favorite cake...well that and Cookie Cake are high in my rankings. :) This recipe from Barefoot Contessa turned out great. I realize that Carrot Cake is more popular in the Spring, but I felt that the cinnamon and orange from the carrots were perfect for the start to fall. Enjoy. :)

2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil (I used half veg. oil and the other half applesauce)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 extra-large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups grated carrots (less than 1 pound)
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts (I left these out, as I don't like nuts in my sweets)

For the frosting:
3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature (The "pounds" confused me, but I just used one package of low-fat cream cheese)
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used one stick of butter for this, although I think it calls for 2 sticks, but one was just fine!)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar (I used about 2 cups...but start with one, then test to see if you'd like more if you want it more sweet)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat the sugar, oil, and vanilla together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs, 1 at a time. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Add the grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts to the remaining flour, mix well, and add to the batter. Mix until just combined.

Line muffin pans with paper liners. Scoop the batter into 22 muffin cups until each is 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and cook for a further 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

For the frosting, cream the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar and beat until smooth.

When the cupcakes are cool, frost them generously and serve.

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