Tag Archives: Easter

Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins

Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins

There are two kinds of people: the ones who love carrot cake and the ones who don’t. I’m decidedly the former, as evidenced by posting two carrot recipes in a row. To those of the latter persuasion, let me say this: sorry, not sorry.

Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins

Where last week’s carrot cake was vegan and gluten-free, this week’s muffins are quite the opposite. Made with a carrot-flecked batter and filled with a little well of sweetened cream cheese, these Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins are a delightful addition to your Easter repertoire.

If these look familiar, it’s because they are…kind of. They’re inspired by some cream cheese-filled muffins Starbucks used to have (and maybe still does) that looked cute, but didn’t taste very good. These muffins, however, look cute *and* taste great. I should know—it took eight batches to get them just right!

Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins are simple to make, but require some special assembly. Once you’ve whisked up the carrot muffin batter, put 3 tablespoons in each well of a standard muffin pan. Next, pipe some sweetened cream cheese into the center of each well of batter. It’s about a heaping tablespoon of cream cheese per muffin, but since that’s impossible to measure while piping, I have a little trick. The wells are about 3/4 full before the cream cheese, so when I pipe it in, I watch for the batter to juuuuust reach the top of the well. It’s the perfect amount every time.

Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins

These muffins bake up in just about 20 minutes, getting some lift from a 425F start, then baking to perfection at 375F. The cream cheese will rise to the upper third of the muffins and expand a bit, which is a very good thing as far as I’m concerned. If you’d like a well that goes further into your muffins, bake them at 350F for 20 minutes. You should know, though, that if you go for the lower temperature, you’ll have flatter muffins.

That said, they’re delicious both ways. There’s no wrong way to get your carrot cake on, after all.

Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins
makes 12 muffins

Carrot Batter:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
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
1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil (I use canola)
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups shredded carrots, not packed (about 3 medium carrots)

Cream Cheese:
1 8-ounce brick full-fat brick-style cream cheese
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners, or grease well. Set aside.

Make the carrot batter. In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together oil and water. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Whisk in dry ingredients in two installments, mixing just until combined. Set aside.

Fold shredded carrots into the dry ingredients. Add liquid in two installments, stirring to combine. Batter will be thick. Let batter sit 5 minutes while you prepare the cream cheese.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until it’s fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in confectioner’s sugar until combined. Load mixture into a piping bag, twist to close and snip off a corner.

Assemble muffins. Put 3 tablespoons of the carrot batter into each well of the prepared muffin tin. They will be about 2/3-3/4 full. Tap pan on the counter 5 times to release any large air bubbles. Pipe cream cheese into the center of each well until the batter reaches the top of each well (or within 1/8-inch of the top). Wet your finger and smooth down any peaks on the cream cheese to prevent burning. Tap pan 5 times on the counter again to help the cream cheese settle.

Bake muffins 5 minutes before reducing the heat to 375F for another 15-16 minutes. Muffins are ready when a toothpick inserted in the non-cream cheese section comes out clean. Let muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake​

With Easter coming up next weekend, I’ve got carrot cake on my mind. To be more specific, I’ve got this moist, flavorful and incredibly simple Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake front and center in my brain. It’s everything I love about the classic cake—the texture, the spices, the frosting—just made a little more accessible. I totally love it!

Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

To make this sweet little cake, I began with my go-to vegan, gluten-free cake formula and then slowly, but surely, figured it out. I toyed with all sorts of different ratios of pumpkin to grated carrots, and adjusted the spices until they were just right. Ten practice cakes and two scrapped photoshoots later, I think I’ve finally nailed it.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

My Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake is tender, fragrant, and packed with carrots, raisins and walnuts, though you can leave out those last two ingredients if you’re not a nuts-and-fruit-in-your-cake kind of human. Paired with my go-to Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting, it’s so good, even the non-gluten-free, non-vegans (like me!) will go back for seconds.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake​

This recipe is written for a single layer of cake and a corresponding amount of frosting. I kept it simple because making layer cakes has seemed exhausting lately and it’s no fun to make something that exhausts you. If you’d like to make this recipe into a layer cake, I’d double the batter for two 9-inch round cake pans and triple the frosting. You could even quadruple it—nobody worth knowing has ever been unhappy about extra cream cheese frosting, especially when piped into little carrots.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake​
Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
makes a single layer 9-inch round cake

1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
~1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons pure pumpkin purée or unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1 cup grated carrots
1/3 cup raisins (optional)

If you would like a layer cake, double the recipe for two 9-inch pans. Triple the frosting recipe that follows.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch round or square cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Place chopped nuts of choice (if using) on a dry rimmed sheet pan. Roast in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until fragrant. Remove and set aside to cool while you prepare the cake batter.

Pour apple cider vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Add non-dairy milk until liquid reaches the 1 cup mark. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes, until curdled. Stir in pumpkin (or applesauce) and vanilla. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together brown sugar, granulated sugar, potato starch, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, almond flour, and salt. Stir in grated carrots, raisins and toasted nuts (if using).

Add liquid ingredients in two installments, stirring until combined. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure thorough mixing.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth to the edges with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap pan on the counter 5 times to release any large air bubbles. Transfer to the oven and bake 32-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs (not wet batter).

Let cake cool completely in its pan on a cooling rack. Run a thin knife along the edges of the pan before inverting to release.

Place cake on desired platter. Frost as desired with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below).

Frosted cake will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Unfrosted cake may be triple-wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before frosting.

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
makes enough for the top of one sheet cake

2 ounces (1/4 cup) vegan butter, room temperature (I like Miyoko’s)
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) shortening, room temperature (I like Nutiva)
1 ounce (2 tablespoons, 1/8 of an 8 ounce tub) vegan cream cheese, slightly softened
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
green food coloring, for piped carrots (optional)
orange food coloring, for piped carrots (optional)

Frosting may get very soft at room temperature depending which vegan cream cheese you use. Plain Miyoko’s brand vegan cream cheese is my gold standard for flavor and holding up well at room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat vegan butter, shortening, and vegan cream cheese until light and fluffy. Mix in confectioners sugar in two installments, mixing until combined and fluffy. Mix in salt, followed by vanilla.

If piping carrots, dye 2 tablespoons of frosting green and 2 tablespoons orange.

Use plain frosting to frost the top of the cake as desired. If piping carrots, put colored frostings in separate piping bags, snip small corners and pipe as desired. I make carrots by following the method on this video.

Friday Favorites: Coconut

Friday Favorites: CoconutI realize that I can bake with coconut anytime of year, but there’s something about spring that makes me want to put it in everything. Between its chewy texture and sweet, tropical scent, I just can’t get enough. Coconut is delicious as a primary flavor, of course—looking at you, Coconut Truffles—but it’s also a structural powerhouse and can be molded and shaped into naturally gluten-free tart crusts and scooped into macaroons. Toasted and crisp or soft and light, it’s a great ingredient to have in your baking arsenal! Here are some of my favorite coconut recipes from the archives.Friday Favorites: CoconutChocolate Macaroon Thumbprints

I posted these simple cookies earlier this week, but they warrant another mention. Made with my naturally egg- and gluten-free Coconut Macaroon base, these are toasty on the outside, soft & light on the inside, and filled to the brim with dark chocolate ganache.Friday Favorites: CoconutFive Ingredient Chocolate Macaroon Tart

This tart is the inspiration behind the macaroon thumbprints! It’s one of my all-time most popular recipes and it’s easy to see why. Between the golden & grain-free coconut macaroon crust and rich chocolate filling, this simple dessert is almost impossible to resist. I posted a Lemon Meringue version of this recipe a couple of weeks ago—it’s not to be missed!Friday Favorites: CoconutCoconut Cupcakes

These cupcakes are just a miniature take on classic coconut cake. If you’re into buttery, coconut-scented cake, coconut buttercream and a thick layer of chewy coconut, you’ll love these.Friday Favorites: CoconutCoconut Pineapple Cake

I haven’t posted a classic coconut cake on here yet, but I have taken the basic formula and filled it with the brightest, tangiest pineapple filling and that’s delicious, too.Friday Favorites: CoconutCoconut Cream Pie

Find me a person who says they don’t like Coconut Cream Pie and I will do everything in my power to change their mind. And by “everything in my power,” I mean “make this creamy, wonderful pie,” and by “change their mind” I mean “I don’t actually care that much, I’m too busy eating pie.”

Have you made these or any of my other coconut recipes? Let me know in the comments or on social media! Happy Easter, y’all.

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

Easter Egg Hunt Cupcakes

Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesHow cute are these Easter Egg Hunt Cupcakes?! They’re a miniature version of the towering surprise-inside Easter Egg Hunt Cake I made a few years back, and truth be told, I think I love them even more than the original. Layer cakes are great and all, but it’s pretty hard to resist cupcakes topped with Easter candy and filled with sprinkles!Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesEaster Egg Hunt Cupcakes start with the same vanilla sour cream cupcake base I used for my Red Velvet Marble Cupcakes last month. Here it’s baked up plain, but that’s the only thing that’s plain about these little cakes. It goes without saying that this recipe is pretty extra.Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesBefore frosting, each cupcake is filled with sprinkles for a surprise effect. To achieve this, a cone-shaped piece of cake is cut out of the top of each cupcake, leaving behind just enough room for a teaspoon of sprinkles. Then the little conical toppers are trimmed into disks so that they fit right back on top of the cupcakes, concealing the surprise inside. Once the cupcakes are frosted, the cut-outs won’t be visible, making it all the more fun when your family and friends bite in and sprinkles come running out!Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesEaster Egg Hunt CupcakesLike the layer cake that inspired them, these cupcakes are frosted with green-tinted vanilla buttercream and decorated with little Easter scenes made of green coconut “grass,” egg-shaped candies and Peeps bunnies.

Pro-tip: slice off the rounded bottom edges of your Peeps bunnies and slick the exposed marshmallow with frosting so that they sit nicely on your cupcakes. You don’t want to spend all of Easter propping up marshmallow bunnies, you know?!Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesI can’t get over how festive these are! I say this about at least one recipe a year, but these might be the cutest things I’ve ever made. And maybe soon they’ll be the cutest things you’ve ever made.Easter Egg Hunt Cupcakes

Easter Egg Hunt Cupcakes
makes 12-14 cupcakes

Cupcakes:
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Frosting:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
a few drops of green food coloring
3 tablespoons heavy cream

For assembly:
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
a few drops of green food coloring
Peeps bunnies (optional)
rainbow sprinkles (jimmies) or seasonal sprinkles
Easter egg candies (I used M&Ms)

Make the cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Combine milk and sour cream a liquid measuring cup, then use a fork to whisk them together. Set aside.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, combining completely after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Mix in half the dry ingredients, followed by half the milk/sour cream. Add the remaining dry ingredients followed by the remaining milk/sour cream.

Fill liners 2/3-3/4 full. Tap full pan on the counter five times before baking for 18-19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Add confectioner’s sugar and salt in two installments, combining completely after each addition. Beat in vanilla, food coloring & heavy cream until combined. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together coconut and food coloring until combined. If using Peeps bunnies, trim off 1/2-inch of their curved bases so that they are flat.

Fill cupcakes. Working with one cupcake at a time, use a small paring knife to carve out a 1-inch deep hole in the top. The removed piece should be conical; slice off the narrow/pointed end so that you have a little disk of cake. Fill the hole in the cupcake with ~1 teaspoon of sprinkles, then place the disk of cake on top to cover them. Repeat process until all cupcakes have been filled.

Frost and decorate cupcakes. Use an offset icing spatula to frost filled cupcakes, leaving the tops relatively flat. Sprinkle on green coconut (or gently dip cupcakes into a bowl of coconut), then decorate with egg candies and Peeps bunnies. I find it easiest to get the Peeps bunnies to stick by dipping their trimmed flat bottom edges in frosting before adhering to the frosted cupcakes.

Serve. Cupcakes will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to five. Peeps bunnies will get stale over time.

Easter Egg Hunt CupcakesEaster Egg Hunt Cupcakes