With Easter right around the corner, I’ve got the perfect carrot recipe for you to leave out for the Easter Bunny this weekend: Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s all the goodness of carrot cake, in an easy to bake, hand-held form. These Carrot Cupcakes are chock full of fresh shredded carrots that are complimented by cinnamon spice, orange juice and a delicious cream cheese frosting.
I think we can all agree that the best part about carrot cake is the cream cheese frosting. I’ve still never mastered that really high volume frosting that you see on professional bakery cupcakes, but I decided to up the ante of this frosting by adding some orange juice to the mixture. So with each bite you get a cinnamon carrot flavor blast, followed by a creamy orange zest frosting. Perfection. I think Peter Cottontail would give these two big bunny ears up.
Speaking of the Easter Bunny, let me tell you about my experience with the Easter Bunny growing up. A few years back my dad uploaded all of our family VHS videos onto this iMemories site so that you can access them from the cloud. One thing that’s always been amazing to me in watching these childhood videos is how the personalities of my brother, sister and I are so defined at such a young age, and very representative of the people we’ve grown to become 20 something years later. My brother, the smart one. My sister, the creative go with the flow girl. And me, one giant crazy chatty ball of anxiety. At least I’ve learned how to grow my bangs out much better in my old age.
One of my favorite videos, circa Easter 1989 is when my dad is filming my brother and I walking into the family room to see that the Easter Bunny has made an overnight visit to our house. Let me try to paint a vivid picture for you. For reference, here’s a photo of me in the late 80s rocking my Easter Bonnet.
Okay, now that you have a better idea of my fashion sense in the 80s, picture me, circa 4 years old wearing a pretty sweet purple bathrobe. I walk into the family room with my brother, while my baby sister is crawling on the floor and in total excitement, exclaim: “THE EASTER BUNNY CAME!” Skip (my dad) asks us on camera “How do you know?” to which I reply “HE DRANK ALL THE DIET COKE!”
So I asked my dad last year …. Diet Coke? Really? Doesn’t the Easter Bunny eat carrots and drink milk? To which Skip replied, “I don’t like milk.” Touché Skip, touché. Next was the Easter Egg hunt, where my wicked smart brother methodologically has mapped out all of the possible locations for hidden easter eggs around the house and is collecting Easter eggs like it’s his job, while I stand anxiously in the middle of the family room having a panic attack that I’m not going to find any. Story of my life.
But back to these cupcakes. I’ve never been much of a carrot cake person myself, but one of my favorite clients recently asked me to figure out a good carrot cake recipe and I’m always ready and willing to take on any challenge. I explored a bunch of different types of carrot cake recipes, and finally settled on making a variation of one of Martha’s recipes.
I was drawn to the fact that Martha used fresh orange juice in the carrot cake batter, and I decided to use that for my cream cheese frosting as well. I first tried to bake up a batch of these in my Texas-size muffin tins, because the bigger the better, right? Wrong. I was trying to multi-task one afternoon while baking these cupcakes while on a conference call, which led to me trying to pull the tray out of the oven one-handed, and I flipped the tray and the half-baked muffins splattered all over the bottom of the oven. Kablamo.
So the next morning was round two. I used a regular 12-cup muffin tin and I also added more baking soda and baking powder to the recipe to try to get them to be a bit more voluminous. And they came out perfect! For the cream cheese frosting, I added some of my favorite King Arthur Flour Vanilla Extract and then squeezed in about a tablespoon of fresh orange juice to give the frosting a bit more flavor.
I took these to my tennis match that afternoon, because most of the women I play against are tough critics (and bad line judges). And even though my doubles partner and I defeated our opponents, the ladies were crazy complimentary of how deliciously flavorful and moist these cupcakes were. I even topped them with a half a Cadbury Mini Egg, in my attempt to try to get rid of all the mini eggs in my house.
So if you’ve been looking for a delicious and easy carrot cake recipe that’s fast, simple and easily transportable in cupcake form, look no further than these Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. Happy Easter!
Yield: 12 Cupcakes
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup vegetable (or canola) oil
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups carrots, shredded
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners and spray the bottoms with nonstick spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs lightly to beat them. Use a wooden spoon to mix together the sugar, vegetable oil, orange juice, and vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet batter using a wooden spoon, just until incorporated. Be careful not to overmix.
- In a food processor, shred 1 1/2 cups of fresh carrots and fold them into the batter just until evenly distributed.
- Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes, or until lightly golden and a toothpick comes out of the center of the cupcakes clean. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting them.
- To make the frosting, use an electric mixer to cream together the cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, vanilla extract and orange juice.
- Frost the cupcakes and enjoy!