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carrot cake cupcakes

Ever since spreesgratefulguineapig left his comment on morning glorious muffins, word has spread quickly. I might never have admitted to it if he hadn’t spilled the beans first – but I confess, it’s true, I’m married to a rodent. And today is my dear rodent’s birthday! In honor of the occasion, there will be no lab experiments today, no spree in her lab coat, no need to ask with forced cheerfulness,  “so what exactly is this, honey?” Just a few of his favorites – and my grateful guinea pig loves carrot cake!

Happy Birthday, love!

And thank you, for being such

 a good sport!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

(makes about 20 cupcakes)

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 2¼ cups finely grated, peeled carrots
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see NOTE at bottom of recipe)
  • 2½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 6 oz. cream cheese, room temperature (this is 3/4 of a standard-size cream cheese container)
  •  ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature (½ stick)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts (see NOTE)

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, with mixer set on low, beat together the granulated sugar and canola oil until blended. One at a time, add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and salt, then slowly add the flour and baking soda, beating just until smooth.

In a medium-size bowl, stir together the grated carrots, 1 cup of toasted walnuts and the cinnamon. Fold them into the batter until well-distributed. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake papers, filling about about 2/3 full.

Bake the cupcakes 22 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a rack to continue cooling.

To prepare the frosting

In a medium bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, with mixer set on medium speed, thoroughly cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue beating until smooth. Increase the speed of your mixer to high and continue beating until the volume has increased by about half.

Frost your cooled cupcakes. Strew toasted walnuts on top and serve with love.

NOTE: to toast walnuts – spread chopped walnuts on a rimmed cookie sheet and toast in a 375°F oven until lightly brown, around 8 minutes. Watch carefully as once they start to dark, they turn quickly. (You want to toast the nuts after they’re chopped so that every surface is golden and carries that toasty flavor.)

~ ~ ~

The case for cupcakes over cake: No cutting involved, less fussy, half the frosting (where most of the calories hide out), freeze what you can’t eat right away and have dessert to draw on later.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. I have to say, I’m not surprised that Grateful Guinea Pig (aka Pop) chose a clown theme for his birthday. We love you Pop! Hope you’ve had a great day, and enjoy those amazing looking cupcakes!

    October 25, 2011
  2. Pretty little cakes… Happy Birthday!!

    October 25, 2011
  3. Ali #

    I’ve been enjoying this carrot cake recipe for years, but am excited to meet it with my favorite little dessert-the cupcake!! They look so cute and I’m sure taste even better. Happy birthday Guinea Pig Pop!

    October 25, 2011
  4. Ali #

    Also, though the toasted nuts are a wonderful addition, I’ve made it without the nuts for my friend’s with allergies and with or without nuts, everyone has enjoyed thoroughly!

    October 25, 2011
  5. Mari Anna #

    What Joy!!
    Your photos express the fun so beautifully!
    I can’t wait to make these cupcakes!

    October 25, 2011
  6. carolyn #

    Since I was enjoying a very rich Spanish Coffee, I was only going to eat a bite of this moist little clown-festooned cupcake. Then one more bite. Okay, half a cupcake…Um, no way. It was too moist and buttery to stop eating. This is the best carrot cake I have ever eaten. After licking up the last crumb, I turned to my Spanish coffee with a slight hint of disappointment. I know no one will believe it, but the cake won out. If you need cake, make this.

    November 4, 2011

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