Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

 Moist carrot cupcakes topped with a luscious and tangy cream cheese frosting. 

carrot-cupcakes

I first shared these cupcakes a few years ago on my blog back in 2014, it will be nearly three years since the recipe was first published and I still enjoy these just as much as I did the first time round. The older recipe deserved an update and I’ve decided to share it again with brand new photographs. Carrot cake is one of my favourite cakes and if I had to I would definitely pick carrot cake over a slice of chocolate cake any day!

Easter is nearing closer so these cupcakes I am revisiting today will be the ideal recipe to celebrate the occasion with.

The addition of spices in carrot cake is an absolute must and I can’t even contemplate a carrot cake/cupcake without cinnamon added. Along with a teaspoon of ground cinnamon I also like to add a full teaspoon of mixed spice as well. Mixed spice is another spice popular in many Easter bakes, it’s the British equivalent to pumpkin pie spice and it’s frequently used in many of our traditional recipes such as hot cross buns and teacakes.

carrot-cream-cheese-cupcakes

I wish I could tell you that these carrot cupcakes are healthy because they contain vegetables but unfortunately they’re not! Carrots and other vegetables such as courgette/zucchini are a popular addition in many savoury and sweet recipes. They add moistness and I like to put quite a lot of grated carrot into my cupcakes, this is so I can ensure that there’s carrot in each and every bite. There’s nothing more disappointing than taking a bite from a carrot cake/cupcake and not being able to taste any carrot!

To decorate I decided to top the cupcakes with a classic cream cheese frosting. I’ve trialled several different cream cheese frosting recipes and I’ve found this one to be the best as it holds its shape when piped and really compliments the flavour of the cupcakes.

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Carrot Cupcakes:

175g light brown sugar

200g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon mixed spice

Zest from 1 large orange

2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

150ml sunflower or vegetable oil

200g (approx. 2 large) carrots, peeled and grated – weigh to ensure this is correct

65g chopped walnuts, plus extra for decoration

Cream Cheese Frosting:

60g unsalted butter, softened

200g icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

400g full-fat cream cheese, softened – I leave mine out at room temperature for an hour to soften

Method:

1.  To make the cupcakes: Preheat your oven 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4 and line a 12-hole cupcake or muffin tin with paper cases. In a large mixing bowl stir together the sugar, flour, bicarbonate of soda, spices and the orange zest.

2. In another smaller bowl or jug whisk together the eggs and oil until incorporated. Add the wet ingredients to the dry along with the grated carrot and walnuts and stir until completely combined. Evenly divide the batter between the paper cases. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean without any uncooked batter remaining – mine took the full amount of time to bake. Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes then transport them to a wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature.

3. To make the frosting: Cream the softened butter in a stand mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes to soften. Now add the sifted icing sugar and vanilla and starting on a low speed mix to combine. Continue to cream for 5 minutes or until really pale in colour – stop the mixer halfway through to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

4. Once creamed add the softened cream cheese. Turn the mixer up and whisk on high speed for approximately 2-3 minutes or until the frosting is creamy, thick and smooth. You need to use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer with a whisk attachment to make sure the frosting reaches the correct consistency.

5. Decorate the cupcakes as desired by piping or spreading the frosting onto each cupcake. Further decoration is optional, I chose to top each cupcake with extra chopped walnuts and a carrot made from royal icing. The carrot decorations can be purchased from most major supermarkets or online but just be sure to decorate just prior to serving. Cupcakes will keep stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes:

  • To adapt the recipe into cup measurements please see my conversion tables page for help.
  • You can adjust the amount of spice or play around by adding different spices to these cupcakes. If you can’t find mixed spice where you live you can substitute it with pumpkin pie spice or alternatively use a different combination of spices.
  • Adding walnuts to the batter is optional. If you want you can leave them out entirely or swap them for pecans, raisins or desiccated/shredded coconut.
  • Leave the cream cheese out at room temperature for an hour prior to making the frosting. The cream cheese needs to be soft to ensure the frosting is smooth and all the ingredients incorporate completely.
  • Don’t add any additional icing sugar to the frosting as this will make your cream cheese frosting too runny and you won’t be able to pipe it. To get perfect cream cheese frosting my best tip is to measure your ingredients accurately using the metric system for the perfect results every time.
  • If you want you can chill the cream cheese frosting in the fridge for an hour before frosting the cupcakes, I sometimes do this if the weather is particularly humid.
  • The way you choose to decorate these cupcakes is totally up to you. When I shared the recipe the first time round instead of decorating the cupcakes with chopped walnuts as I did this time I sprinkled the tops with coconut and dusted a few of the cupcakes with cinnamon.

carrot-cake-cupcakes-recipe

Enjoy!

jess

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Carrot Cake Traybake

Easy carrot cake traybake full of delicious flavour from spices, orange zest and chopped walnuts. Slathered with homemade cream cheese frosting, this recipe will be a real treat for carrot cake lovers! 

What’s your favourite cake? If you asked me that exact question my list would probably be endless. I really do honestly love any kind of cake and I believe there’s definitely a cake perfect for every occasion.

Ever since I baked these Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting I’ve had my mind set on adapting the recipe into a traybake. The first time I shared this carrot cake recipe, I baked it as a layer cake, however how delicious it was I decided the original recipe needed to be made easier.

Traybake’s are perfect for times when you just don’t have the energy to put a lot of effort into decorating a cake. They’re super easy to make and the decoration can be kept as minimal as you want. As you can see from my pictures, I decided to cut the cake into squares and spread the tops with the cream cheese frosting and sprinkle over chopped pecans.

To make my carrot cake extra special I like to add ground cinnamon, ginger and freshly grated nutmeg, along with orange zest and chopped walnuts. If you don’t want to add walnuts you can swap them for a different nut like pecans or even leave them out and replace with raisins. Carrot cake is extremely adaptable so you can pick and chose whatever add-ins you want in your cake.

The cake is dairy-free, however for a dairy-free frosting/icing you could swap the cream cheese frosting for a drizzle icing. Try adding some of the juice from the oranges you zested for the cake batter and whisk the juice into icing sugar to create a drizzle icing that’s perfect for decorating your traybake.

(Serves 12-15)

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake Traybake:

150g dark or light brown sugar

150g caster or granulated sugar

300ml sunflower or vegetable oil

3 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

300g plain flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly grated is recommended)

300g carrots, peeled and grated – weigh to ensure this is correct

100g walnuts, chopped into small pieces

Zest from 2 large oranges

Cream Cheese Frosting: 

100g butter, softened

100g icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

300g full-fat cream cheese, softened – I leave mine out at room temperature for an hour to soften

Method:

  1. To make the carrot cake traybake: Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33cm) tin with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the sugars, oil and eggs until smooth.
  3. In another bowl sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture a little at a time and whisk until completely incorporated.
  4. Now fold through the grated carrot, chopped walnuts and orange zest. Spread the cake batter out into the tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is well risen and a cake tester when inserted into the centre comes out clean without any uncooked batter remaining.
  5. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 20 minutes, then carefully transport to a wire rack and allow to cool completely to room temperature.
  6. To make the cream cheese frosting: Cream the softened butter in a stand mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes to soften. Now add the sifted icing sugar and vanilla and starting on a low speed mix to combine. Continue to cream for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  7. Once creamed add the softened cream cheese. Turn the mixer up and whisk on high speed for another 1-2 minutes or until the frosting is creamy, thick and smooth. You need to use an electric hand mixer or stand mixer with a whisk attachment to make sure the frosting reaches the correct consistency.
  8. Spread the top of the cake with the cream cheese frosting or cut the cake into squares and spread the top of each piece with the frosting. Further decorate as desired. The cake will store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 3 days, but if you’re not consuming it right away then I recommend refrigerating the cake.

Recipe Notes:

  • The weight of the carrots is based on weighing the carrots after they have been peeled and topped and tailed.
  • When adding the spices, I like to add a heaping teaspoon of each spice. This is down to personal preference as I really love the flavour the spices add to the cake.
  • This cake serves 12 generous portions or up to 15 smaller pieces.

Enjoy!

jess

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