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Recipe: Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting for Easter

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Looking for a sweet treat ending to an Easter feast? And I’m not talking about sneaking in a couple of jellybeans and a nibble of a chocolate bunny from your kid’s Easter basket. I’m thinking something slightly more healthy and a definite crowd-pleaser: Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

There are many variations on the Carrot Cake or Carrot Cupcakes; with out without raisins, nuts, or pineapple. But yes, they all have carrots. According to food historians, carrots and other naturally sweet vegetables were used in desserts during the medieval age when sweeteners were scarce and costly. Then in the late 1900s, the carrot cake made a comeback as more health-conscious consumers were looking to satisfy their sweet tooth without all the guilt.

I, for one, am thankful to my ancestors for bringing back the carrot cake. I think I may have found the mother of all recipes; vitamin-rich carrots, antioxidant-rich raisins, and walnuts rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids make this a treat I feel good about serving my family. Plus, having the kids help make these has become part of our family Easter tradition. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Easter. Okay, Cadbury Crème Eggs are a very close second.

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from Joanne Chang’s Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Café

Ingredients

• 2 Eggs
• 1 cup packed light brown sugar
• ¾ cup canola oil
• 3 tbs lowfat buttermilk
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
• 1 cup plus 2 tbs unbleached all–purpose flour
• ½ tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp baking soda
• ½ tsp kosher salt
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
• ¼ tsp ground ginger
• 2 cups shredded carrots
• ½ cup raisins
• ½ cup chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingedients

• 12 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
• ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl or using a stand mixer, beat together eggs and brown sugar on med-high speed for 3-4 minutes, or until mixture is light in color and thick. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla. On low speed, slowly pour the oil mixture into the egg-sugar mixture.
3. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Using a rubber spatula, fold flour mixture into egg-sugar mixture until fully incorporated.
4. Add carrots, raisins, and walnuts and continue to fold until well mixed. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
5. Bake cupcakes for about 50 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool in muffin tin on wire rack.
6. Meanwhile to make the frosting, beat cream cheese (with paddle attachment) on medium speed for about a minute until smooth. It is important cream cheese is at room temperature or the frosting will be lumpy. You can microwave on medium power for 30 seconds to soften (be sure to remove foil wrapper!).
7. Add the butter and continue to beat for another minute. Then add the confectioners’ sugar and beat for one more minute until well mixed. Chill frosting in the refrigerator to firm it up before using.
8. Remove cupcakes from muffin tin and frost cupcakes. Decorate with shaved coconut, carrot strips or lemon zest.

What are your favorite Easter traditions?

Sharon Sprague is an advertising/marketing professional by day and food blogger by night. A mom to two hungry boys (and wife to a very hungry hubby), Sharon blogs about her quest to raise adventurous eaters at umommy.blogspot.com.

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