I am very late to the cupcake party.
My mother did not make them for me as a child. I would have them occasionally at a party or other festive event, but cupcakes and I rarely crossed paths. Now don’t get me wrong, I love cupcakes but they just were not a part of my family’s desert repertoire.
Then sometime in the past decade a cupcake renaissance occurred. Suddenly they were everywhere and had grown up from those Betty Crocker bake sale cupcakes of yore. There were blogs popping up left and right worshipping their common goddess, the Cupcake. Heck there was even a TV Show to boot! Now they came in all kinds of intriguing flavors and with high-quality ingredients. Many of them were miniature masterpieces of sculpture. The cupcake had gone artisan! During this cupcake boom I felt like the little kid not picked for the kickball team. I was on the outskirts of cupcake-land but still unsure how to proceed without the proper training. It was time to go to cupcake bootcamp!
Cupcake bootcamp came in the form of www.verysmallanna.com. Very Small Anna’s beautiful blog showed me what the humble cupcake could become. From her Popcorn-Champagne Cupcakes to her Smartass-Savory Cupcake I read in awe of her daring kitchen creations. Then came her Spring Lawn Cupcakes with their tempting filling of fresh mint custard and luscious looking chocolate ganache frosting. I was hooked; time to start making cupcakes.
So on a Thursday night I called up my little sister, Gaetan, and asked if she would care to come over for a cupcake party. She was thrilled and excitedly brought along her friend Julia to assist in the chaos. None of us are cupcake experts but share an extreme love of all things carrot cake. So armed with some rad cupcake supplies from Target, food coloring, an unhealthy amount of bunny marshmallows and a roll of marzipan we set out to create our very own spring cupcakes. Finally I was in on the cupcake party! (Recipes below)
Carrot Cake Cupcakes (adapted from Martha Stewart)
Make 24 cupcakes
- ¾ – 1 pound carrots, peeled and grated
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 ½ cups canola oil
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ¾ cup raisins (flame or golden)
- 1 cup toasted walnuts
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
2. In a large bowl whisk together carrots, eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla seeds, raisins and walnuts. Mix until well combined. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, fresh ginger and cloves. Stir the flour into the carrot mixture until combined.
3. Fill each cupcake liner ¾ full. Bake the two tins for 25 – 28 minutes. Let cool on tins for 5 minutes and then transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Frost cupcakes with lots and lots of cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
This recipe is a starting place. I find Cream Cheese Frosting to be an incredibly personal preference. Some like it syrupy sweet and others prefer to have it tangy. Use this recipe as a suggestion and make sure to taste it along the way!
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 2½ – 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Beat butter and cream cheese in a mixer on medium speed until fluffy.
2. Reduce speed to low and slowly add sugar. Taste the frosting after adding about 2½ cups. Add the rest of the sugar depending on taste and preference. Finish by adding the vanilla.