I don’t know about you, but when I think of Easter I think of carrot cake. Maybe it’s because of the Easter bunny and his love for carrots. Maybe it’s because we usually start a garden in the spring and carrots are one of the first seeds planted. Or maybe it’s because it is a family tradition and I can’t think of the holiday without it. Whatever the reason, you will want to make a place for these Carrot and Raisin Cream Cheese Cupcakes at the dessert table. The cake recipe is super moist and the cream cheese frosting has a tangy bite. How do I know? Because I taste tested these for you…four of them to be exact. I admit it, I lost control! But that is how good they are and I’m pretty sure you will think the same!
This carrot cake recipe is foolproof. I know that because I got it from Ina Garten’s Foolproof cookbook. The cake is simple by design so that you can add frills with the frosting and decoration. The only change I made to her recipe was adding raisins and changing the bake time for the cupcake version.
Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees and grease two 12 count muffin tins with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together 2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of baking soda, and 1.5 teaspoons of kosher salt.
In an electric mixer such as a Kitchen Aid, blend 2 cups sugar, 3 large eggs, 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil, and 1 teaspoon vanilla on low until it is light yellow and thick.
Slowly add in the dry ingredients while the mixer is still on low.
Use a box grater to grate 4-5 large carrots. It is best to use a box grater and not the food processor because the food processor will cause the carrots to be too wet and cause the cupcakes or cake to fall.
Add 1 cup of raisins and 1 tablespoon of flour. The flour keeps the raisins from clumping together. Mix that up and stir it into the wet batter.
Fill each muffin tin about 3/4 way full. You should have exactly enough for 24 cupcakes. If you would rather go the traditional cake route, like Ina does, you’ll need two greased 9″ round pans.
Cook the cupcakes at 400 for 10 minutes and reduce the heat to 350 for another 10-15 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean. For round cakes, cook at 400 for 10 minutes, reduce to 350 degrees, and bake another 30-35 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack before attempting to frost.
In Ina’s recipe, she suggests using a mascarpone frosting with crystallized ginger on top. I really wanted to try that but I was limited to what my grocery store had in stock. I also had a feeling that my kids wouldn’t be too hip on the ginger. So I decided to go with a basic cream cheese frosting that takes all of 5 minutes to whip up!
Start with a stick (half a cup) of butter and 8 oz of reduced fat cream cheese that have been brought to room temperature. Add in 2 teaspoons of vanilla and whip it until creamy with a hand mixer.
Slowly pour in 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar) and whip until smooth. I found it helpful to mix one cup at a time so sugar didn’t go flying all over the kitchen!
Taking care that the cupcakes are completely cooled, use a large spoon to ladle the frosting on top of each cupcake. Start in the middle of the cupcake and slowly let the frosting ooze out toward the edge. If you are frosting a 9″ cake, put half the frosting between the layers and the other half on top. Spread the frosting out as described for the cupcakes to prevent it from spilling over the edge.
I topped my Carrot & Raisin Cream Cheese Cupcakes with extra grated carrot for a pop of color. But wouldn’t it be fun to try colorful jelly beans or those cute speckled bird egg candies? You could even go out on a limb and try to make little bird nests! (Did you see my little pun there? Limb…bird nest…no? Nevermind then). That would really make it look like spring! No matter how you decorate these carrot cupcakes, you can’t go wrong! They are so moist and delicious that I bet you won’t have any left! Happy Easter y’all!
Carrot & Raisin Cream Cheese Cupcakes
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1.5 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups flour plus 1 Tbsp
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4-5 grated carrots
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup 1 stick butter
- 8 oz reduced fat cream cheese
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients together.
- In a large mixer, mix wet ingredients on low.
- Slowly add dry ingredients to wet while the mixer is on low.
- Grate carrots and mix with raisins and 1 Tbsp flour.
- Stir carrot mixture into batter.
- Fill 24 muffin tins 3/4 way full.
- Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, reduce to 350 and bake another 10-15 minutes.
- Mix frosting ingredients with a hand mixer.
- Top each cupcake with frosting once completely cooled.
- Add toppings and serve.