Mom’s carrot cake has always been a family favorite dessert. I especially like the addition of crushed pineapple, pecans, and the perfect combination of spices. Better yet, the cream cheese frosting is truly the icing on the cake. She has always used Philadelphia Cream Cheese to make her delicious creamy and smooth frosting. I can’t imagine using any other brand to make it.
When I was a little girl mom would have me grate the carrots, open the can of crushed pineapple, and crush the pecans into small pieces with a rolling pin. After all that I would patiently wait for her to make the frosting so I could ask for the beaters glazed with that fluffy frosting. My brother and I would always argue, as siblings do, as to who got which beater. I think kids have a keen eye for spotting the beater that has more frosting than the other one. Not a speck of frosting was left on the beaters after we licked them clean.
Today while at the market I spotted piles of fresh carrots and decided it was time to make mom’s carrot cake. However, instead of a cake, I decided to make cupcakes — spring just feels like cupcakes. My kids love this recipe and couldn’t wait to eat one. As I creamed the butter and cream cheese to make the frosting they stood there patiently waiting for the beaters. As you can imagine, they argued as to whose beater had more frosting, just like my brother and I did.
Instead of frosting the cupcakes with my pastry spatula I decided to utilize my frosting bag and swirl a big heap of frosting on each cupcake. The smell of the cream cheese frosting and the cupcakes baking in the oven lingered like the sweet memories of my childhood so many moons ago. I felt like a child again and was just as excited to eat a beautifully frosted cupcake.
Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 3 eggs
- 1 egg white
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
- ½ cup applesauce
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 1/2 cup crushed pineapple including the juice
- 2 ⁄3 cup crushed pecans optional
- Cream cheese frosting:
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 package 8-ounce PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place cupcake cups in your cupcake tin and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, egg white, sugar, oil, and applesauce.
- In a separate bowl combine all dry ingredients. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and beat all together.
- Add carrots, pineapple, and pecans (optional), and mix again. Spoon enough batter into each cupcake filling about 2/3 of the way.
- Place pan on the middle oven rack and bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes and then remove from the pan. Allow cupcakes to cool completely on wire racks before frosting.
- Make cream cheese frosting:
- In a large mixing bowl cream together butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract.
- Gradually beat in confectioner’s sugar. Add milk to desired consistency. Don’t make it too thin or it will slide off the cake.
- Frost cupcakes with a small spatula or use your favorite pastry tip. Garnish with crushed pecans if desired.
Written by Veronica / Photos by Veronica