I have to say, I’m not usually a big fan of cake. But I do have my exceptions and carrot cake is one of them! I’m not sure whether it’s the extra moist cake, the added texture of the shredded carrots, or the incredibly luscious cream cheese frosting. (Who am I kidding… it’s totally the frosting!)
So I recently went to a birthday dinner to celebrate our dear friend Ole’s birthday. I wanted to contribute something to the meal, and since I heard Ole is a big fan of carrot cake, I thought it would be fun to make some carrot cupcakes for dessert and top them with hand-made marzipan carrots!
I found these awesome lime green polka dotted cupcake papers at Sur La Table and thought they would be the perfect addition.
The cupcake portion of this recipe comes from Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite food blogs. The resulting batter is super moist and delicious, due in part to the carrots being finely grated before going into the batter.
Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe Source: Smitten Kitchen
Makes 24 cupcakes.
For the cupcakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
4 large eggs
3 cups peeled and finely grated carrots (from about 1 lb. of carrots)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line cupcake pan with paper liners. If not using paper, then make sure to butter and flour the pan.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger until blended. In a separate large bowl, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Whisk in eggs one at a time to oil and sugar mixture. Add flour mixture and mix until evenly combined and all the flour is incorporated. Stir in carrots and walnuts.
4. Divide batter among cupcake molds and fill to 3/4 full. Bake cupcakes 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of one comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1. In standing mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Slowly add confectioner’s sugar and once incorporated, beat frosting on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes until fluffy.
2. To assemble, place frosting in large piping bag fitted with a large round tip and pipe a generous pillow of frosting over each cupcake. Finish by topping with a marzipan carrot!
For the marzipan carrots:
1 (7oz.) box of marzipan
Red, yellow and green food dye, preferably gel
1. On a clean surface, take half of the marzipan and gently knead it until softened. Add a small and equal amount of red & yellow dye to marzipan (start off sparingly, you can always add more color if needed) and knead until fully incorporated and marzipan has turned a beautiful orange color.
2. Divid into 24 small pieces. Take each piece and roll into a cylinder, tapering to a point at one end. Repeat with remaining pieces and set aside.
3. Take another small portion of marzipan, gently knead, and color with green dye. Pinch off a pea-sized piece and roll out to form a thin cylinder about an inch long. Lay cylinder along top end of a carrot, and using a toothpick, press the center of cylinder into the top of the carrot, forming two “leaves”. Repeat with remaining carrots.
4. To create the “wrinkles” in the carrots, gently score the sides of the carrots with a small paring knife.