Jamie’s grandmother joined us last year for his birthday/Christmas (which fall within two days of each other), and she traveled with her own pans and yellowed hand-written recipe card to whip up the best carrot cake I’ve ever had. I would’ve never previously cited myself as a carrot cake fan before trying Mamaw’s, but she sure converted me into one.
Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Homemade Buttercream Icing
A few weeks ago I noticed we had a bag of shredded carrots that needed to be eaten, and since Jamie was working way late that night, I told Hadley to pull up her kitchen stool and do a little baking with me for fun. I didn’t want to make Mamaw’s full two-layer cake, so we tried our hand at cupcakes. We halved her recipe to make around a dozen cupcakes and then whipped up a homemade vanilla buttercream icing to go on top since I didn’t have any cream cheese on hand to make Mamaw’s icing.
The end result was outrageous, and I’ve continued making a dozen here and there for various occasions the last few weeks.
One of my closest girlfriends here in Kansas had her first baby this week (!!), so Hadley and I whipped together a few to bring her and her husband to enjoy in the hospital since I know carrot cake is her favorite! I snapped a few pictures and off they went.
Side note: I’m typing this post standing up at my kitchen counter because if I sit down Sadie will be all over mama, and I just looked up and stared right at the cupcakes that are left. And now I’m salivating, and it’s 9:51 a.m. and I really don’t need to eat a cupcake. Practicing some major willpower right now!
This is the kind of sweet treat where you do not want to sample the batter. It tastes like a ton of sugar mixed with vegetables. No good.
But lemme tell ya – those chunks of carrots that make the batter taste so gross are the same chunks that end up making this cupcake so incredibly moist and perfect. I don’t understand how carrots do that, but oh my stars… these are so good. And you know what makes these even better? I don’t know how this is possible, but they taste five times better the day after you make them. I know this to be true because it’s now 1:29 p.m. and I gave into my craving and indulged in one after lunch. Yum-o!
A couple suggestions:
1.) I mince carrots in our Ninja blender every time. I get them super fine and then press them into a measuring cup to get the exact amount I need.
2.) It goes without saying that I’m not exceptionally skilled in making cupcakes presentable, but these icing tips are my absolute favorite to use. I stand the a gallon bag up in a tall glass and use a bowl scraper to spoon in the icing. Very easy!
3.) I only used the pecans like sprinkles, but carrot cake typically includes them in the batter or the cake batter, so feel free to add them to that if you’d prefer.
I hope you enjoy these cupcakes! If you give them a try, I’d love to see your pictures! Feel free to send me a DM or tag me on Instagram. 🙂
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1.5 cups finely chopped carrots (we like to use our blender/food processor for this!)
- ½ cup (one stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1¾ cup powdered sugar
- ½ tsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- a pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp chopped pecans (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix all dry ingredients together.
- Add oil and mix.
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing between each.
- Add carrots and mix well.
- Grease cupcake pan or insert cupcake liners. This recipe will yield 12 regular-sized cupcakes plus about four minis. Fill each a tad over halfway.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes.
- Beat powdered sugar and softened butter together well.
- Add remaining ingredients and beat for 3-4 minutes using an electric mixer.
- Frost cupcakes once cooled.
- Top with finely chopped pecans.
- Enjoy immensely!