These Carrot Cake Cupcakes are moist and incredibly flavorful. A classic carrot cake recipe jazzed up with 6 different spices, coconut oil and vanilla extract. And if that wasn’t enough, they are finished with a simple brown butter cream cheese frosting! This recipe yields 12 cupcakes.
Believe it or not, but I found this recipe in a romance novel.
I love to read. And I especially love when the characters in the book are eating or talking about food. But in this particular book, the Michigan author left a small collection recipes for the reader at the very end. I metaphorically died. The recipe for carrot cake cupcakes with brown butter cream cheese frosting spoke to me.
And it said: you need to make these asap.
What initially drew me in was the brown butter cream cheese frosting in the title – obviously. But after reading through the ingredients I was sold on one single ingredient. Black pepper. Say what? Yes! The only changes I made was that I used both black and white pepper and upped the vanilla.
The combination of spices add depth and warmth and really punch up these cupcakes while complementing the toffee notes of the brown butter cream cheese frosting.
Translation: these carrot cake cupcakes are incredible.
To Make These Carrot Cake Cupcakes You Will Need:
for the cupcakes
- unbleached all-purpose flour
- baking soda
- fine ground salt (like pink Himalayan)
- cinnamon (ground)
- cardamom (ground)
- ginger (ground)
- nutmeg (ground)
- black pepper (ground)
- white pepper (ground)
- large eggs
- unsweetened applesauce
- light brown sugar
- coconut oil (melted)
- carrot (grated)
for the frosting
- softened cream cheese
- brown butter
- fine ground salt
- sifted powdered sugar
The day before or morning of baking, brown 6 tablespoons in a skillet until the milk solids turn golden brown. Here is a step-by-step post showing you how to make brown butter. Let it cool completely until the butter solidifies.
Line a standard muffin pan with parchment liners and lightly spray with nonstick spray. Next, preheat your oven to 350°.
In a medium bowl, measure and add 1 and 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon finely ground salt (I’m using pink Himalayan), 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon each ground cardamom, ground ginger and ground nutmeg. Lastly measure in 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper and 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper.
Using a whisk, stir well to combine and set off to the side.
In a larger mixing bowl, crack in 2 large eggs. Then measure and add in 3/4 cup light brown sugar, 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1/4 cup melted unrefined coconut oil and 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract.
Whisk well to thoroughly combine and then stir in 1 cup freshly grated carrots.
Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet.
Use a scoop to measure out the batter.
And divide among the prepared muffin pan. Bake on the middle rack of your preheated 350° oven for 18 to 20 minutes. The tops should bounce back when gently pressed.
Once baked and safe to handle, transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
To Make the Frosting:
In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add 1 (8 ounce) brick of cream cheese, 6 tablespoon browned butter and a pinch of fine salt. Mix on medium-low speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
Gradually add in 3-1/2 cups powdered sugar (that has been sifted) into the mixer with the brown butter cream cheese. Scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as you go.
Pipe or use a spatula to frost each cupcake.
Garnish with a pinch of ground cinnamon and finely chopped pecans.
Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
One word: phenomenal!
Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
FOR THE CAKE:
- 1¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil, melted but not hot
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup carrot, freshly grated or about 1 large
FOR THE FROSTING:
- 1 (8 ounce) brick cream cheese, softened
- 6 tablespoons browned butter, see notes
- 1 pinch fine salt
- 3½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 pinch ground cinnamon, for garnish
- 1 to 2 tablespoon toasted pecans, finely chopped, for garnish
TO PREPARE THE CUPCAKES:
- Preheat your oven to 350° and place parchement liners into a standard 12-cup muffin pan. Then lightly spray with nonstick spray.
- In a medium bowl, measure and add the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, black and white pepper. Whisk to incorporate.
- Next, in a larger bowl, crack in the eggs. Then measure and add in teh sugar, applesauce, (melted) coconut oil and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
- Add in the grated carrot and use a spatula to combine.
- Divide the batter among the prepared liners. Bake on the middle rack of your preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes. The tops should spring back when gently pressed.
- Remove and once safe to handle, transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting
TO PREPARE THE FROSTING:
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attacment, add the cream cheese, solidified brown butter and a pinch of salt.
- Cream on medium-low speed until smooth and fluffy. About 2 mintues.
- Gradually add in the sifted powdered sugar, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as you go.
- Pipe or use an offeset spatula to top each cupcake with frosting. Sprinkle with a pinch of ground cinnamon and finely chopped toasted pecans.
Recipe slightly adapted from Melanie Harlow’s book Make Me Yours
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