Introduction: Mini Carrot Cupcakes With Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

Up until recently, I kind of forgot that carrot cake existed.  Ridiculous, I know, but carrot was never a flavor requested by my friends and family whenever I made them cupcakes.

And then my parents decided to buy a 10-pound bag of carrots right before they left for vacation.  I was given 9 1/2 pounds of those carrots.

As a result, I made a bunch of carrot cupcakes, tweaked the recipe, made more cupcakes, and tweaked the recipe again and again.  Hundreds of cupcakes later, I perfected my recipe.  These are the greatest carrot cupcakes I have ever made, and hopefully you'll feel the same way after making them!

Step 1: Ingredients

For the cake:

4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/8 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 1/2 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

For the frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Step 2: Prep

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grate the carrots by hand or with a food processor.  I actually prefer grating the carrots by hand because finely grated carrots will result in a smoother batter.  Plus, you get an awesome arm workout!

Step 3: Sift

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Step 4: Whisk

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, butter, oil, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla extract.

Step 5:

Fold the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated.

Step 6: Add the Carrots

Add the carrots to the batter and mix until fully incorporated.

Step 7: Walnuts

Add the chopped walnuts to the batter.  (This is optional, but I highly recommend it!)

Step 8:

Line mini cupcake tins with liners, and fill each liner about 2/3 full.  Bake for 12 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Step 9: The Frosting

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, combine cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Slowly add the sifted powdered sugar.  Once incorporated, add vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix until combined.

Step 10: Final Step!

Frost the cupcakes and enjoy!
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