Carrot Cupcakes

‘Tis the season for carrot cupcakes.  My favourite part of most cupcakes is the frosting.  Now, there are two camps of people when it comes to cupcakes; the icing-lickers who use the cake part of the cupcake merely as a conduit for the frosting, and then there are those who scrape the icing off and eat only the cake (which is terribly, terribly wrong.)  The icing I use for these babies is a decadent vanilla-bean mascarpone buttercream.  I’m surprised any of it actually made it onto the cupcakes.  For those of you who don’t like the best part of the cupcake, unfrosted carrot cupcakes make great snacks!

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts, plus more for garnish (optional)

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup mascarpone, at room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together carrots, eggs, sour cream, sugars, oil and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined.  Add walnuts (if using) and stir until fully incorporated.
  5. Fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full with batter. Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting the cupcakes.
  6. Make frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the butter and mascarpone until light and fluffy.
  7. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
  8. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla bean seeds, the heavy cream and the salt.  Whip until fully combined.  If the icing is too soft, add a bit more powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.  If the frosting is too stiff, add a little heavy cream to thin it out.
  9. Frosted cupcakes can be stored in the fridge for up to three days.

*Yield: 24 cupcakes

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