Tag Archives: easter baking

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Truth be told, people probably ask me to make Carrot Cake more than anything else. It makes sense—I make damn good Carrot Cake. It’s super moist, flavored with brown sugar and spice, and filled to the brim with carrots, raisins, and nuts. I know there are about a million ways to make a Carrot Cake, but I swear mine’s the best.

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting​

That said, it’s nice to have alternatives for when I don’t feel like making a layer cake. I’ve made carrot cake blondies, vegan gluten-free carrot cake, carrot cake petit fours, and cream cheese carrot muffins that are honestly a masterpiece. I’ve been on a cupcake kick lately, so this year, I’m adding Carrot Cupcakes to my repertoire.

These little cakes have the perfect amount of spice, and are extra moist thanks to brown sugar, sour cream, and an abundance of shredded carrots. They bake up in twenty minutes and cool in under an hour. They’re finished with my best-ever cream cheese frosting and some sweet little piped carrots. You don’t have to put the carrots on top, but it seems kind of illegal not to, you know?!

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting​

I know Carrot Cake (er, cupcakes) is super popular for Easter, but I get requests for it all the time, so it’s a year-round thing as far as I’m concerned. Okay? Okay. Don’t let anyone tell you any differently.

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting​
Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
makes 16-18 cupcakes

Cupcake Batter:
1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
~1/2 cup water, for raisins (optional)
1/3 cup raisins (optional)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil (I use canola)
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup full-fat sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups freshly shredded carrots, not packed (about 3 medium carrots)

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces full-fat brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 pound confectioner's sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For Decoration:
1/4 cup Cream Cheese Frosting (see above)
orange food coloring (or red and yellow)
green food coloring

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 16-18 cups in muffin/cupcake pans with liners. Set aside.

Toast the nuts. Place chopped pecans (or walnuts) on a dry rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven and let toast until fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. Let cool completely.

Plump the raisins. Pour water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in raisins. Let sit while you prepare the cake batter.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by sour cream and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, whisking just until combined. Scrape down the bowl as needed.

If using raisins, drain and discard soaking water.

Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold carrots into cake batter. Stir in raisins or nuts, if using.

Scoop batter into prepared liners, filling them 1/2-2/3 full (about 2 generous tablespoons). Bake 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean.

Let cupcakes cool in the pan for about ten minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy. Add confectioner's sugar and salt in two installments, until completely combined. Beat in vanilla. Once combined, beat on high for two additional minutes, until light and fluffy.

Frost cupcakes as desired, reserving 1/4 cup of frosting if you want to pipe carrots.

If piping carrots, divide frosting into two separate bowls, dying each with either orange or green food coloring. Put it into small piping bags, snip the tips, and create your carrots. Instructional video here.

Cupcakes will keep covered at room temperature for up to two days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.

Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints

Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints If these Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints look familiar, it’s because they are—these are basically just miniature versions of my Chocolate Macaroon Tart, one of my most-made and most-loved recipes ever. The golden coconut exteriors and dark chocolate interiors are a combination that simply can’t be beat (Lemon Meringue obviously excepted).Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints are made with my trusty gluten- and egg-free Coconut Macaroon base, so they’re soft & light on the inside and toasty on the outside. I made one little tweak to the original recipe and added some cornstarch for a bit more structure, but rest assured that these are just as delicate and chewy as any coconut macaroon you’ve ever had.Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints After the coconut base is rolled into balls, little indentations are pressed into each one to create the titular thumbprint. You could use your thumb, of course, but a spoon gives a more consistent shape and size and is way less messy. These initial thumbprints will become shallow during baking, so make sure to give them a second indentation when you pull them from the oven. Bigger thumbprint = more room for chocolate!Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints Ohhh yes, these thumbprints are filled to the brim with dark chocolate ganache! It’s no secret that coconut & dark chocolate are perfect together, but the creamy-chewy texture situation here is positively glorious. I can say this with confidence because…well, I’ve eaten a lot of these lately. A. Lot.Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints are a perfect addition to your Easter menu! Follow my lead and leave them plain for a simple & stunning finish, or top the pools of ganache with Easter egg candies for something a little more festive.Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints

Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints
makes about 1.5 dozen

3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 14-ounce bag (5 cups) sweetened flaked coconut
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Chocolate Ganache:
6 ounces dark chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, use a fork to whisk together sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and salt.

Place coconut in a medium mixing bowl. Toss with cornstarch. Pour in sweetened condensed milk mixture and stir together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Wet your hand and give the mixture a couple of kneads to ensure it’s very well-combined.

Scoop coconut mixture in 1 1/2 tablespoon increments (I used a medium cookie scoop) and form into balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Use the back of a very small spoon (like a 1/2 teaspoon) to slowly press a well into each dough ball. Bake 16-17 minutes, until light golden and puffed. When you remove the cookies from the oven, press the back of the small spoon into the centers again. Let cool on pans for 10 minutes before using a spatula to remove them to a rack to cool completely.

Make ganache filling. Place chopped chocolate in a large measuring cup or heatproof mixing bowl. Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is steaming and bubbles are forming at the edge.

Pour warm cream over chopped chocolate. Do not stir. Cover bowl with a lid or aluminum foil for 5 minutes. Remove lid/foil. Use a fork to stir until chocolate and cream are combined and smooth.

Spoon a teaspoon of ganache into the well of each thumbprint. Ganache will begin to set pretty soon at room temperature, setting completely after a couple of hours.

Coconut Macaroons will keep covered at room temperature for a few days.

Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints Chocolate Macaroon Thumbprints