Carrot Cake Cupcakes + Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Monday, September 23, 2013
Baking is one of the things that I find most relaxing, and I don't mean baking from a Duncan Hines box, though I enjoy that too. I'm talking about scratch baking. Pulling a warm, sweet dessert out of the oven, after you have so carefully measured and mixed, is deliciously rewarding. I spent the first half of my birthday (cue Taylor Swift's 22) scratch baking these delicious carrot cake cupcakes. I discovered along the way that I have a distain for grating carrots, but, I still had a wonderfully relaxing time.These cupcakes are "the best carrot cake cupcakes I have ever had in my life!" Normally I would say that statement is biased, coming from dad and all, but, the man has bluntly told me when some of my baked goods are just not a winner. 
These cupcakes really are delicious, and are unquestionably worth the small effort it takes to make them!
I took the liberty of tweaking the original recipe just a little bit. The slight adjustments only added to the flavor!  I found the original recipe here and followed the directions linked, for browning the butter. Don't be afraid of browning the butter, it is so very easy. Directions below. Happy baking!
                                                  22 by Taylor Swift on Grooveshark
Enjoy that.

          For the cupcakes           

1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup apple butter
3 large eggs, room temperature
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups grated carrots

For the frosting:

1 stick unsalted butter
 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 and 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar 
1/8 vanilla extract

To make the cupcakes : Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line two muffin trays with cupcake liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside. In another bowl, mix together the sugars, apple butter, and oil until smooth. Mix in the eggs and vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients in two segments, mixing after each, just until combined. Fold in the grated carrots. 

Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake liners, filling each one about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 15-20 minutes. If you insert a toothpick into the center and it comes out clean you are good to go. Remove the cupcakes and transfer to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting: Brown the butter in a saucepan. Remove the browned butter from the heat and pour in a metal or glass bowl. Cover with saran wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator for about one hour, just until it has reached a soft consistency like margarine. Follow these easy directions to brown the butter.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the chilled (soft) brown butter and cream cheese until creamy. Add the confectioners sugar and beat until well combined.

Spoon the frosting into a piping bag, if you have one, and pipe frosting in a swirling motion onto each of the cupcakes. Top with the crushed pecans and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy these cupcakes as much as we did. Have a great Monday!

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