A couple summers ago I found the ultimate carrot cake recipe and after making a few tweaks to it am happy with the final outcome – still changing it up though because I have an inability to leave a recipe alone. One of my favorite baking carrot cake memories is when my friend Keri and I were determined to bake something and we agreed on carrot cake – wish I had a picture of that carrot cake – it was a beauty. Keri was awesome when it came to hand grating the carrot – baking is so much faster when you have a sous chef – and she is an awesome one at that. Maybe her and I can revisit our carrot cake one of these days – or try a different fall-ish cake/cupcake recipe. Anyhow, there is something about carrot cake that makes it seem like the perfect cool summer eveing/intro to fall dessert. Maybe it’s the dark orange color or the fact that you can leave them out for a bit without the cream cheese frosting getting all runny. Whatever it is I like using whatever excuse I can muster up to make carrot cake and even more so to make carrot cake cupcakes – so much easier to share amongst multiple people.
So if you are ever in the need of a cake/cupcake with at least the nutritional value of veggies and a little bit of fruit (applesauce) and a little bit of nuts then check this recipe out.
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup apple sauce (this will make them more dense – if you don’t want it extremely dense then do ½ cup apple sauce ¼ olive oil)
1/4 cup orange juice
2 cups flour (I mix it up with 1 cup white and 1 cup wheat – also lends to a more dense cupcake – but it is healthier that way)
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract (Mexican vanilla is the best)
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups grated carrots (easier to grate the big carrots vs. the mini carrots)
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
Cream Cheese Frosting
8oz. cream cheese softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners sugar (add more or less pending on the thickness desired)
Preheat Oven to 350 – grease and flour your baking dishes (or put cupcake holders in place). In large bowl beat sugar, oil, eggs and orange juice. Add flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla and salt. Stir in carrots and nuts.
Bake 13x9in pan for 40-45 min, round pans 30-35min, and cupcakes for 8-11 min.
In medium bowl beat the cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla with an electric mixer. Gradually beat the powdered sugar in – one cup at a time – until the thickness you desire is achieved
Frost Away!! (I use a plastic bag to pipe on the frosting – looks better than frosting smeared on with a knife – in my opinion at least).
sidenote: for the day and day after that I had made the cupcakes everytime I saw one of my housemates he was eating one – he said he just couldn’t resist!