There’s just something about carrot cake that makes me feel all warm and cozy. This is the cupcake version of my absolute favorite Carrot Cake. These cupcakes have a dash of cinnamon, a bit of orange zest, and toasted pecans. Yum! There’s notably no raisins in these cupcakes because I don’t prefer raisins in my carrot cake. You could of course add some if that’s a total deal-breaker for you but I think these are perfection just the way they are.
This is a very easy recipe to make up. These cupcakes are super moist from the carrots in the batter with a perfect amount of crunch from the pecans. I’m drooling thinking about it! Don’t skip toasting the pecans. Pecans are so much tastier if they’re toasted first!
The cream cheese frosting is light and fluffy and doesn’t weigh the cupcakes down at all. (I so hate heavy frosting!) I love seeing all of the adorable carrot cake cupcake decorating jobs that populate Instagram but I just piped the frosting on with a star tip and called it a day. The deliciousness speaks for itself. If you hate piping frosting, smooth it on instead and top the cupcakes with a sprinkling of toasted pecans for an easy, elegant look.
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 cups freshly grated carrots
Zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped (optional: another 1/2 cup for garnish)
Cream cheese frosting, recipe follows
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners and lightly spray with nonstick spray.
- Beat together granulated sugar and vegetable oil in a stand mixer until combined. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
- Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Slowly add to wet mixture.
- Add grated carrots and the zest of one orange to batter and mix just until combined. Stir in chopped pecans.
- Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full. Softly bang the bottom of the pans against the counter to help settle the batter evenly and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes, remove from pans, and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Frost with cream cheese frosting (recipe follows). Store in the refrigerator.
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese, softened (full fat!)
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Combine cream cheese and butter until smooth. Slowly sift in powdered sugar and beat one cup at a time. Mix in vanilla extract.
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