Gardening is pretty much officially over for me this year. And my CSA is coming to an end today too. So now I will go back to deciding what I want to cook, and shopping accordingly instead of deciding what to cook based on what I have. I’m not sure which way I prefer, but it always takes me a week or two to adjust every spring and fall. These Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting were made in the height “cook what I have” phase.
Back in August I harvested my carrots. I had a huge pile and I felt pretty sure that I would be eating them for months. And of course, I wasn’t the only one harvesting carrots, so I got 2 or 3 more bunches from my CSA over the next couple of weeks. It turned out that after trying my hand at lacto-fermented pickled carrots (a very successful endeavor which I hope to share in the future) as well as these delicious cupcakes, my carrots didn’t last long.
Now let’s switch directions a little bit and talk about dessert hoarding. My husband has accused me of being a “dessert hoarder” for several years now. What he means by this, is that I will do some baking, maybe share one or two pieces with the family, then package the rest up to be stored in the freezer. From there, I will happily snack on them “in secret” (or so my husband claims) when the kids or napping, or after they’ve gone to bed. Off the top of my head, I can tell you that right now I’ve got half a batch of these cupcakes, a large amount of homemade marshmallows, and some homemade peanut butter banana cups. This is totally normal, right??
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and grated (about 3 cups)
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, (softened and divided)
- 4 ounces cream cheese, or neufchatel, or goat cheese, or a mixture
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (you will need to use more powdered sugar if you want a stiffer frosting)
Move oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Line 16 cups of 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners. (Or spray a 9x13" baking pan with oil and dust lightly with flour.)
In a medium bowl, whisk together all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs, brown sugar and granulated sugar together on medium high speed until fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Turn speed to low and slowly pour in the oil. Mix for 1 more minute until the oil is emulsified into the mixture.
Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture. Remove bowl from stand mixer and add carrots. Stir with a spatula until combined. Using a 1/4 cup measure, distribute batter among cupcake liners (or pour batter into prepared baking pan).
Bake cupcakes for 20-24 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean with crumbs attached, rotating pans halfway through baking time. (Bake cake for 35-40 minutes.) Cool for 10 minutes in pan, then remove from pan and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Add 2 Tablespoons of the butter to a small skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until butter is golden brown and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. Pour into a small bowl to cool completely.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the browned butter, softened butter and cheese together until smooth and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time until you get the sweetness and texture you want (I used 1 1/2 cups for a spreadable texture, you will need more if you want a stiffer frosting or plan to pipe it).
Carrot Cake Cupcakes Nutrition Notes:
The above nutrition info is for one cupcake with thin or soft consistency frosting (as seen in my photos). Making a stiffer frosting will require you to use more powdered sugar, which will result in a higher sugar content for each cupcake.