The hardest part of making cream cheese frosting is still having enough for your cake by the time it has cooled and figuring out what cake to put underneath it!
I love carrot cake in nearly all forms, but my preferences are as follows: a cupcake with (golden) raisins and cream cheese frosting. Loaves are great, but I prefer a cute, pre-portioned little cake than I can eat all by myself. Some people add zucchini, pineapple, or coconut and leave out raisins, but my favorite is with plain with some golden raisins dotted throughout. Finally, I honestly don't understand who would use buttercream frosting or leave it (gasp!) unfrosted.
Why did I make two recipes? First of all, I had a ton of carrots that needed to be used up (thanks Costco!), and I had just seen a carrot cake loaf recipe from Averie Cooks that I needed to make immediately. And my old standby from Ellie Krieger is a tried and true recipe that I decided to make as well.
First are the two cupcake recipes side by side, and finally my resulting adaptation of both recipes into my ultimate carrot cupcake!
|Basic ingredients for any carrot cake minus a ton of shredded carrot!|
First up were the Ellie Krieger carrot cupcakes, which I was completely familiar with and they were done in a flash!
Then, the Averie Cooks recipe was next! The batter whipped up really fast and easy.
|So yummy looking!|
While waiting for both sets of cupcakes to cool, both sets of cream cheese frostings were whipped up!
And for the final products, drum roll please!
|Ellie Krieger's recipe|
|Averie Cooks recipe|
We had a taste test, and I know what you're thinking, "Why put a healthified recipe up against an obviously yummy recipe?" Well, I know that if I make 18 cupcakes, I'm eating probably 16 of them. Therefore, I need a recipe that I can't feel super guilty about. When Averie says she takes BLTs (bites, licks, and tastes), it's obvious because she's in crazy good shape. I admit that I wouldn't have the same self-restraint and must therefore attempt to healthify them.
For company, I will continue to make Averie's recipe unchanged because my guy just absolutely loved them as is and so did I. I'm glad that most of them went to a Super Bowl party and not into my mouth!
For whole batches that stay in my house, I need to make a few changes here and there. With my tweaks, my final product is nearly as good!
Here's a quick summary of the changes I made:
- Made cupcakes instead of a loaf.
- Used half whole-wheat pastry flour and half all-purpose flour instead of only all-purpose flour
- Used yogurt instead of buttermilk: This is for functional purposes only because I rarely have buttermilk on hand, and it doesn't change it much in my opinion!
- Decreased both the granulated and brown sugar amounts
- No use of allspice: I never have this, or seem to misplace it all the time...
- Sifting the dry ingredients together prior to adding into the mixer: Otherwise, I have lumps!
- Increasing the amount of carrots: I like a carrot cake bursting with carrots!
- Removing the butter, and substituting a combination of vegetable oil and applesauce.
- Using a different cream cheese frosting based on Ellie Krieger's recipe with less sugar: I like a less sweet frosting at times, which is just personal preference.
Carrot Cupcakes with Raisins and Cream Cheese Frosting
Total Time: 45 min
Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Makes 20 cupcakes
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
2 large eggs
3/4 cup yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups grated carrots (4-5 medium)
1 cup raisins
Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces low-fat cream cheese, such as Neufchatel, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line muffin tins with 20 paper cupcake liners or spray with nonstick spray.
Sift together the dry ingredients (flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg).
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine wet ingredients (brown sugar, white sugar, oil, applesauce, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract) until well combined.
Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined, but do not overmix. Stir in the carrots and raisins.
Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling only halfway.
Bake in 350 F oven until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and lemon zest until smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cupcakes. Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Please enjoy and let me know how you like these!