Happy Easter! I hope you are all enjoying this nice weekend, regardless of whether you celebrate Easter, Passover, or maybe nothing at all. Even if you don't consider today a "holiday," it's been a perfect weekend here, with beautiful sunny spring weather. That alone is enough reason to celebrate, don't you think?
As promised, I'm here today to give you an update on our most recent cupcake sale (held at work to support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society--see original sale with more fundraiser details here). Since today is Easter, we held our sale on Friday and made it a spring-themed cupcake sale. We decided to go with two spring flavors: Carrot cupcakes and lemon. Today, I'll focus specifically on the carrot cupcakes.
This carrot cupcake recipe is from Annie's Eats. No surprise there; I get a majority of my cupcake recipes and inspiration from Annie's website. Not only are her food photos absolutely gorgeous, but pretty much all of her recipes end up being a success. I highly recommend being a follower of her blog...it's definitely one of my top 3.
When my mom used to make carrot cake for us growing up, she always used fresh carrots and had a electric shredder to efficiently shred the carrots for the recipe. I, on the other hand, am not so "rich" in kitchen appliances and gadgets, so I purchased packaged shredded carrots from Trader Joes. These work perfectly fine, but I ended up roughly chopping the shredded carrots with a knife to make even smaller pieces. If you don't have a shredder and decide to use packaged shredded carrots, I highly recommend doing the same.
I absolutely loved the way the carrot cupcakes turned out. They were the perfect spring cupcake for our sale. The cake was incredibly moist and had a delicious blend of spices. My supervisor and I both enjoyed one during a break and luckily, these were going for a good cause because if they were just for me, I probably could have eaten A LOT more. Of course, the cream cheese frosting was one of the biggest contributors to the flavor of this cupcake. I love cream cheese frosting, and this frosting was great because it allowed the cream cheese flavor to shine through. It wasn't over-sweetened with too much powered sugar, like some bakery varieties tend to be. Also, since we were selling these cupcakes, we made sure to choose a recipe with no nuts to avoid the exclusion of those with nut allergies. However, I think these would taste great with chopped walnuts. I'll probably make these again in the future with this addition.
Now, I bet you're wondering how I made the butterflies on top of the cupcakes. Well, to sum it up briefly, the antennae and wings (outline first, then color) were piped onto wax paper. Before dry, I used a toothpick to blend the outline and color together, and then sprinkled with white non-pareils. They can then be assembled on top of each cupcake, with chocolate chips placed underneath the wings to prop them up at an angle, and then use more melted chocolate melts to pipe the body in between the arranged wings.
To get a much better instructions and step-by-step photos for how to make these butterflies, please visit Annie's tutorial here.
I'm happy to say that this spring cupcake sale ended up being another success. We sold all of our cupcakes and raised a lot of money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Be sure to keep an eye out for the second cupcake recipe from our spring cupcake sale. I'll be sharing it soon!
Yield: about 2 dozen cupcakes
Recipe slightly adapted from Annie's Eats
For the cupcakes:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb (6-7 medium) fresh carrots, peeled and shredded (or 16 oz. pre-packaged shredded carrots)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups canola, safflower or vegetable oil
For the frosting:
12 oz. cream cheese (not softened)
7 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Tbsp clear vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
To make the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt; whisk together and set aside. Shred carrots, if needed; then add carrots to the bowl with the dry ingredients and set aside. In a stand mixer, beat the sugars and eggs at high speed until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds. With the machine still running, carefully add the oil in a steady stream, reducing speed if necessary. Continue to beat until the mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 20 more seconds. Stir in the carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain.
Scoop batter evenly into prepared cupcake liners. Bake for about 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
To make the frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes and decorated as desired.