I’ve had Spring & Easter on my mind lately, but today I’m thinking about Easter. When I think about Easter, I think about desserts with coconut, carrots, and chocolate. These are some of my favorite ingredients to use in my Easter baking. This week I decided to bake some scrumptious moist Carrot Cake Cupcakes, adapted from my favorite Carrot Cake recipe, and share them with my friends. Then I topped them with the only frosting for Carrot Cake of any kind, in my opinion, Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting.
By the way…you won’t believe the two added ingredients that send these cupcakes over the top!!
Tips on making these super moist cupcakes…
Use fresh carrots, not the pre-shredded ones from the grocery store. Grate or shred them. I grated mine in my Ninja blender, a few at a time. Make sure you grate them long enough. Check for any small chunks that do not get grated enough. You will notice a lot of moisture in freshly grated or shredded carrots. You can shred the carrots instead of grating. I just feel that the flavor and moisture from the carrots is more equally distributed throughout the batter if I use grated carrots versus shredded.
Don’t Over Mix
Once you’ve added the dry ingredients to the batter, you just want to mix them until they are wet. Over mixing once the flour is added to the batter causes cupcakes or cakes to become tough, versus soft or fluffy.
Added Moisture & Flavor
Are you ready to find out my two added ingredients that add flavor and mega-moisture to these cupcakes? Coconut and pineapple! That’s right. You can leave out either or both of these two ingredients and the cupcakes will still be nice and moist. However, the coconut adds flavor and the pineapple adds so much moisture plus flavor. If you have guests that are picky about the texture of coconut, toss it in your blender and grate it small, just like the carrots. My friends didn’t even realize the cupcakes had pineapple or coconut. They just kept commenting on how delicious and moist they were.
Filling the Muffin Tin Cups
Don’t overfill the muffin holders. Fill about 2/3 full. I used these cute little orange no fade, greaseproof paper liners for my cupcakes. They are not quite as big as a standard paper liner. Therefore, my cupcake yield was 30 cupcakes. I also used one large cookie scoop of batter for each one to fill them 2/3 full. If you use standard paper liners, your yield should be 24 cupcakes and you would need more batter per cupcake.
Always start with room temperature butter and cream cheese. Anytime you make cream cheese frosting, it’s important to beat your cream cheese by itself first and make sure it is smooth and free of any lumps, before adding butter or any other ingredients.
This recipe calls for 5 cups of powdered sugar. If you plan to spread the frosting onto the cupcakes, you can probably get by with just 4 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar. However, if you plan to pipe the frosting, you’ll find that 5 cups works better if you want the piped frosting to stand on its own.
I used an Ateco 808 large round tip to decorate mine. I am by no means a pro with piping skills. Feel free to decorate as you like. I added freshly shredded carrot pieces on top for decoration. You can also use candied carrot pieces.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup full fat buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups freshly shredded or grated carrots
- 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- 1 small 8 ounce can, crushed pineapple in juice, drained
Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
- 1 package cream cheese, 8 ounces, softened
- 2 sticks real unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line 24 muffins tin cups with paper liners and set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon and set aside.
- In the large bowl of a stand mixer, (you can use a hand mixer, or mix by hand), add the eggs, oil, sugar, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix on low speed for a few seconds, then medium speed for about one minute until all ingredients are well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix on low to medium speed for about 30 seconds, just to incorporate.
- Add the carrots, nuts, pineapple and coconut and mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds, just until all ingredients are incorporated. Do not over mix.
- Fill the muffin cup holders 2/3 full with the batter.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out with just slightly moist crumbs. Allow cupcakes to set in muffin tins for about 1 minutes and transfer them to a wire cooling rack to cool. Make sure cupcakes are completely cool before frosting.
Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
- Add the cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer or use a hand mixer. Mix on medium speed until the cream cheese is smooth and free of all lumps. Add the butter, vanilla and salt and mix until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar 1 cup at a time until the frosting is the perfect spreading consistency. If piping the frosting, you will probably use all of the sugar for the perfect piping consistency.
- Spread or pipe frosting on cupcakes. I used a Ateco 808 large round tip on the pictures in this recipe. Decorate tops with sprinkles, shredded or candied carrot pieces or toppings you prefer.
- Store cupcakes in an airtight container. Refrigerate cupcakes Remove from refrigerator and allow to set at room temperature for a few minutes before serving.
- The coconut and pineapple are part of this recipe and the pineapple adds great moistness. You can omit them if you prefer, but I get rave reviews when I add both, and some people don’t even realize that either of them are in the cupcakes.
- Make sure you use freshly grated or shredded carrots, not the store bought pre-shredded carrots.
- The yield is 24 regular size cupcakes. However, I used smaller greaseproof paper liners that resulted in a smaller cupcake and the yield was 30.