Ultimate Carrot Cupcakes
The ultimate carrot cupcakes are not simply a carrot cake recipe poured into cupcake liners. It’s much more sensitive and complex than that for several reasons.
When you use a regular carrot cake recipe to bake cupcakes, the texture typically ends up being too dense for a cupcake.
Another problem is that cupcakes bake for a shorter period of time than a large cake, so that deep caramelization flavour is lost. Which is definitely not okay! That caramelised, slightly chewy top is the BEST part.
Flavour Comes First
When I speak of Carrot Cake, I’m NOT talking about those “carrot cakes” that are basically just a vanilla sponge with shredded carrot inside. That is not proper Carrot Cake. It is carrot flavoured Vanilla Cake. If it were a song, it would be “itsy bitsy spider”.
Proper Carrot Cake is much deeper and darker, with such a dynamic flavour and texture. If it were a song, it would be “O sole Mio”. EPIC. Unique. Gutsy. Excellence. (And yes, I’m listening to O sole mio as I write this post 🙂 There’s an AMAZING version where Pavarotti sings it with Bryan Adams – so stunning!)
This ultimate carrot cupcakes recipe is made with golden syrup, dark brown sugar and molasses, so it is absolutely brimming with caramel-ly depth!
When I eat carrot cake as a slice of cake, the texture should absolutely be a bit denser than a sponge cake.
However, when I eat carrot cake in cupcake form it has to be just as moist and flavourful, BUT also LIGHT. Heavy cupcakes are just not pleasant…
So this recipe perfectly captures ALL the stunning texture of regular carrot cake, but also with a light, tender and super moist crumb – as a cupcake should be.
The way you prepare the carrots for your ultimate carrot cupcakes is key. Do not shred/grate them too finely. If you grate them too fine, they will just disappear into the batter and be less prominent in the final flavour experience.
Another reason to not grate the carrots too fine is because it leaves more surface area for the batter to react with the carrots. The batter contains sugar and salt which draws the moisture out of the carrots.
So IF you grate the carrots too fine, they react with the batter much faster, drawing moisture out of the carrots much faster and leaving you with a very runny batter in a matter of minutes.
This makes all your lovely raisins, pineapple etc. sink to the bottom when baking. So to avoid this, rather grate your carrots coarser.
As for all the extras beyond carrots, I like to use raisins, crushed pineapple plus toasted pecans.
I know that walnuts are more traditional in carrot cake, but the toasted pecans completely outshine walnuts in this instance.
As you may know by now, I make no secret of my disdain for traditional buttercream and even cream cheese frosting as well, because they are TOO SWEET.
Frosting is supposed to CONTRIBUTE to the flavour experience, not just round off the visual presentation of cupcakes.
Philosophy of Yum Cream Cheese Frosting is balanced and DELICIOUS and it pairs perfectly with these ultimate carrot cupcakes 🙂
It’s made with cream, cream cheese, vanilla and 75% less sugar than traditional cream cheese frosting. The frosting is super light and pipes beautifully as well.
These are seriously the Ultimate Carrot Cupcakes. Deep, gutsy, EPIC flavour, but with a light, moist and tender crumb. Topped with the best cream cheese frosting ever and toasted pecan nuts. SO YUM!
So here we go – my recipe for the Ultimate Carrot Cupcakes!
- 230 g Flour
- ¾ tsp Baking powder
- 1 ¼ tsp Bicarbonate of soda
- ½ Tbsp Cinnamon
- ¼ tsp Ginger
- 1 tsp Salt
- 130 g Eggs
- ½ T Vanilla Extract
- 65 g White Granulated Sugar
- 100 g Demerara Sugar
- 130 g Canola Oil
- 70 g Golden Syrup
- 15 g Molasses
- 40 g raisins
- 270 g grated Carrots
- 100 g Crushed Pineapple, scooped with juice
- 100 g Toasted Pecans
- Preheat oven to 180°C/356°F.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, place the eggs, oil, vanilla, white sugar, demerara sugar, golden syrup and molasses. Whisk together with a hand mixer on high speed for 90 seconds. It should be pale and almost doubled in volume.
- Fold dry ingredients into the wet ingredients using a large metal spoon.
- Add the grated carrot, raisins and crushed pineapple to the bowl and fold in. Be sure to mix everything together thoroughly as the fresh carrot can often hide together in little huddles in the batter.
- Proceed to fill the lined cupcake tins immediately. Do not let the batter stand. Divide the batter evenly between 15 lined cupcake tin holes. I like to first fill each liner halfway, stir the remaining batter again, and then fill the liners the rest of the way so that the first 5 cupcakes don't get all the extra bits and the last few cupcakes just get batter with no raisins, pineapple, etc.
- Bake at 180ᵒC/356°F for about 25 mins, rotating the tins halfway through baking. The cupcakes should be a deep golden brown. Also test the cupcakes with a toothpick – if the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done.
- Leave to cool in the tins. Once completely cold, remove from tins.
- Make Philosophy of Yum Cream Cheese Frosting. Pipe onto cupcakes as desired and sprinkle the remainder of the chopped pecans generously on top. Enjoy!
If you give this recipe a go, tag me on facebook, twitter or instagram @philosophyofyum because I would LOVE to see!