oh, hey there!
These carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting??? Wowza. And I don’t even like carrots. On the raw veggies scale, carrots fall waaaaaay below yummy mushrooms and just above dirt-covered celery. But . . . toss those orange sticks in some cake batter and top it with a crazy-good cream cheese frosting??? Now, we’re talking!
When I was in college, I spent most of my years living with two of my very best girlfriends. Having never had sisters, I learned from Kimber and Ally what it meant to share closets, gossip, an under-stocked refrigerator, grumpy days, belly laughs, and much much more. For four years of college, they rode the roller coaster that was me finding what it meant to be me. Which means they understand me quite possibly better than I understand myself. They’ve also survived YEARS of my experimental cooking. On multiple occasions, they have dived into whatever catastrophe or recipe I’d bombed, following it up with a LOT of wine.
Ally’s favorite cake in the world is a carrot cake from a family-owned bakery in Idaho Falls–Babe’s Bakery. Throughout college, I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of deliveries from her family for birthdays and graduation. That carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is the CARROT CAKE OF YOUR DREAMS. It’s heavy. Dense. Spiced. Moist. There are not enough words to properly give the praise and hallelujah that that cake deserves.
I was determined to imitate this recipe, since, ya know . . . Idaho Falls is a little far for cake . . . (And you thought I had no limits.) Unfortunately, it was also too far to go to get a sample for my recipe-testing. So going on an aging memory and recon performed by Ally’s sweet mom, I went through one . . . two . . . three . . . FOUR recipes of carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting before I had it perfect. Goodness gracious. Carrot cake has never been a go-to of mine, so I was starting entirely from scratch with only three clues:
A counter covered in pineapple juice and one too-dense batch of carrot muffins later and . . . BOOM. Lightly spiced, heavy, dense, moist, sweet carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and hidden shreds of carrot, zucchini, and pineapple. Yessssss. These carrot cupcakes are Ally-approved and delicious! The zucchini adds filler, while the pineapple keeps these cupcakes moist and sweet.
Enjoy with a friend!
25 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
45 minTotal Time
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons white sugar
- 3/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained
- 3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups + 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- 1/4 cup shredded zucchini
- 8 oz full fat cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- Shred carrot and zucchini. Pour crushed pineapple into a sieve and drain. (It will still be very wet.)
- Preheat oven to 365 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
- Whisk together oil, sugars, and pineapple in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Alternate stirring dry ingredients and buttermilk into wet ingredients. Fold in shredded carrot and zucchini.
- Fill cupcake liners halfway full. Bake cupcakes for 18 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Turn cupcakes out onto a cooling rack immediately and flip them right-side up to cool.
- Make frosting. On a high speed, mix cream cheese, butter, vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar.
- Frost cupcakes and store in refrigerator.