Before we had any of our stuff, before we had a permanent place to sleep, and right around the time I was starting to get really stressed about our recent move, my husband and I went for a relaxing, well-deserved lunch out. We picked one of Austin’s most popular greasy spoons, Magnolia Café, and had the most unbelievably tasty sandwich and salad. All the while, though, I was staring up at the chalkboard advertising the desserts… warm cinnamon-apple cake, pecan pie, carrot cake. Oh, carrot cake. Be still my heart!
Knowing full well that Southerners know how to do it right (meaning, with LOTS of butter), I ordered a slice to go and dipped my fork into the plastic container while we waited for our check. Good god. It was the most velvety, rich, melt-in-your-mouth dessert I had ever, ever had. Would one more “ever” make you believe me? Okay, then. EVER.
Though I don’t think another carrot cake will ever come close to that experience (go to Magnolia and try a slice for yourself), I was pretty darn excited to try. With this recipe, it was a near-perfect success. The cake was buttery soft and mouthwateringly moist, and sorry scale, but I couldn’t stop at one!
If you’re a carrot cake lover like me, try these for yourself sometime and I think you’ll agree that this easy, scrumptious recipe produces one incredible carrot cupcake with rich, heavenly cream cheese frosting. If want to impress, or if you like a little crunch, sprinkle on some chopped pecans for a sweet Southern touch. If you’re like the rest of us, just gorge yourself on cupcakes and forget the garnish. Yum!
Yield: Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
2½ cups (12.5 oz.) all-purpose flour
1¼ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. salt
1 lb. (6-7 medium) carrots, peeled
1½ cups (10.5 oz) granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1½ cups canola, safflower or vegetable oil
For the frosting:
12 oz. cream cheese
7½ tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3¾ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt; whisk together and set aside. Shred the carrots (you should have about 3 cups) into the bowl with the dry ingredients and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the sugars and eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Add the oil. Stir in the carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain.
Scoop evenly into the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan at least 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired. (I used a Wilton 1M tip for my pastry bag)
Adapted from Annie’s Eats