Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 24 Cupcakes

  • 1 pound medium carrots, peeled and finely grated
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod reserved for another use (or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and finely chopped (optional; how-to follows)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Sweetened shredded coconut, toasted (how-to follows), for decorating

How To Toast Coconut

  • Preheat oven to 175 ºC. Spread coconut evenly on rimmed baking sheets; toast, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, about 10 minutes (or longer if darker color is desired). Transfer sheet to a wire rack; let coconut cool completely.

How To Toast Nuts

  • Preheat oven to 175 ºC. Spread nuts evenly on a rimmed baking sheet; toast, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes (watch carefully to prevent burning). Transfer sheet to a wire rack; let nuts cool completely.

 Preheat oven to 160 ºC. Line 2 standard muffin tins with paper liners. In a bowl, whisk together carrots, eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla seeds, and raisins and nuts. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Stir flour mixture into carrot mixture until well combined.

 Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until testers inserted into centers come out clean, 23 to 28 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks, 10 minutes. Turn out cupcakes onto wire racks, and let cool completely. Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen for up to 2 months in airtight containers.

 Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, and then vanilla; mix until smooth.

 Frost cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature, and sprinkle with toasted coconut (press gently to adhere) before serving.

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