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Carrot Cupcakes Recipe & Video

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Everyone seems to love Carrot Cake, so I often make these Carrot Cupcakes as they're easy to transport and look so pretty. What I also like about them is how wonderfully moist they are and how flavorful they taste. And while Sylvia Lovegren tells us in her book Fashionable Food that Carrot Cakes were once glazed with a fruit sauce today, more often than not, we prefer a smooth and tangy cream cheese frosting. 

I love this Carrot Cupcake recipe because it's so easy to make. No mixer is required. All you need are two bowls, one for the wet ingredients and one for the dry ingredients. The two are then mixed together and you are done. The time consuming part is the grating of the fresh carrots. I have included applesauce in the cupcake batter which, along with the oil, makes these cupcakes so moist. But, if you like, you could use an equal amount of grated apple or even crushed pineapple. You can also add 1/2 cup (120 ml) of currants or raisins to the batter. As I said, we are covering the cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting. Make sure that the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature to prevent lumps and beat the ingredients together until creamy smooth. This frosting makes enough so you can pipe lovely swirls on the cupcakes. If you prefer less frosting, I would half the recipe.

Carrot Cakes became popular with the health food craze of the 1970s, although Jean Anderson in her American Century Cookbook says recipes began to appear as early as the 1920s. There are many theories on the origin of this cake, some say it descended from the English's baked carrot puddings or European steamed carrot puddings. Others say it may have come from German carrot breads. Alan Davidson in 'The Oxford Companion to Food' tells us that carrots were used in European sweet cakes since the Middle Ages when other sweeteners were hard to find or just too expensive. In fact, carrots, along with beets, contain more sugar than most other vegetables which might explain their use in desserts.

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Carrot Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Lightly butter (or spray with a non stick vegetable spray) or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon. Fold in the chopped walnuts.

In another large bowl whisk the eggs until lightly beaten. Then whisk in the sugar, oil, and vanilla extract until slightly thickened. Fold in the applesauce and grated carrots. Then fold this mixture into the flour mixture until incorporated. Evenly fill the 12 muffin cups with the batter and bake about 20 - 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from the oven, place on a wire rack, and let cool completely before frosting.

Frosting: In the bowl of your electric, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until very smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar and beat until fully incorporated and smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add more confectioners sugar if needed. Pipe the frosting on the top of each cupcake. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate the cupcakes until serving time. Can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

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Carrot Cupcakes:

1 1/3 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup (120 ml) walnuts, chopped

2 large eggs

2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated white sugar

2/3 cup (160 ml) vegetable, safflower, corn, or canola oil

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2/3 cup (160 ml) unsweetened applesauce (or grated apple or crushed pineapple)

1 1/3 cups (320 ml) finely grated raw carrots (about 1/2 lbs. (225 grams) carrots)

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/4 cup (55 grams) butter, room temperature

4 ounces (115 grams) cream cheese, room temperature

2 1/4 cups (250 grams) confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

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