Chocolate Carrot Cake Cupcakes

When friends have birthdays one of my favorite things to do is make a batch of cupcakes to celebrate and share. Sometimes it’s hard to decide between trying a new recipe that I’ve wanted an excuse to try (rarely do I need 2 dozen cupcakes in the house!) and making something classic that everyone will love. This recipe is the perfect combination of both. When I asked a friend a couple of weeks ago what her favorite type of cake is, knowing her birthday was coming up, she said her favorites carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and chocolate. After thinking about it for a while I thought, what if we combine the two?!!! And these cupcakes were born.

They’re the perfect mix of that decadent, moist and just spiced typical carrot cake with some cocoa and melted dark chocolate added for good measure. The cupcakes aren’t overly sweet so the cream cheese frosting really makes them. I topped these with chopped walnuts but you can never go wrong with some birthday sprinkles! Bonus: you can feel good about eating these because they’re filled with vegetables, so they’re basically healthy!

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Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups grated carrots (about 1 lb)
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (or sub vegetable or canola oil)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • pinch each of nutmeg and cloves
  • 3 oz dark chocolate
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • Directions

1. In large mixing bowl add apple sauce and coconut oil, mix until incorporated. Stir in sugar and brown sugar, followed by beaten eggs, until smooth. Add the vanilla and mix.

2. Stir the grated carrots into the wet ingredient mixture.

3. In a separate bowl gently mix flour, cocoa, baking powder and soda, salt and spices. Begin stirring dry ingredients into the wet a little at a time until well incorporated.*

4. Melt the dark chocolate. [I like to do this in the microwave stopping every 20 to 30 seconds to stir the chocolate, when most has melted stir chocolate to melt any remaining chunks.] Pour the chocolate into the batter and fold in.

5. Scoop batter into lined muffin pans. [I like to use an ice cream scoop for consistency.]

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 23 to 27 minutes.

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Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 5 cups powdered sugar

Using a mixer, whip butter and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and mix on medium speed until thick and smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes and add desired toppings.

*I found that I preferred to hand mix the batter for this recipe as opposed to using a mixer.

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