A popular cake in a mini form. These carrot cake cupcakes with orange cream frosting will go down a treat! The best part is that they bake quicker than a regular cake too. So, you can have a delicious mouthful of carrot cake ready in less than an hour.
Based on carrot cake, these perfect little portions just taste so good with the Orange Cream frosting. I am trying really hard to stop myself eating the whole lot. Oh but what the hey, I’ll have just 1 more….. or maybe 2….! You may just find me knee deep in them later, munching the lot. I can’t help it, I blame the cupcakes.
Cupcakes have endless possibilities for flavour combinations. You could try these Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes too for another delicious small cake treat.
The best thing about cupcakes, is that they bake so much quicker than a regular cake. There is no waiting around with cupcakes, 15 minutes and they’re ready to take out of the oven. They only downside is waiting for them to cool, if you can resist, that is.
Why Use Carrots in a Cake?
Carrot cake takes its name due to the presence of shredded carrot in the cake batter. However, if you were concerned at all that it actually tasted like carrots, don’t be. Carrots in carrot cake are used as a moistener, flavour enhancer, to create some texture and as an added bonus, provide little specks of orange colour throughout the baked cake.
While carrots do provide some of the flavour in this cake, you won’t specifically be able to point it out as carrot flavour, rather, it gives the cake a sort of earthy sweetness. Combine this sweetness with mixed spice, fresh orange, fruity sultanas and dark brown sugar and you end up with a flavour that is quite unique to a carrot cake. All the flavours blend together to produce a moist, dense cake that has a slightly crumbly texture without falling apart on the plate.
Grate the Carrots
When it comes to grating your carrots, you want to grate them as finely as possible. The carrot in carrot cake softens as the cake bakes and due to the short cooking time of carrot cupcakes, you don’t want large chunks of carrot in your batter.
Large pieces of carrot will remain uncooked and hard, ruining the texture in your cake.
My Carrot Cupcakes Haven’t Risen
Being an oil based cake rather than using butter, helps these cupcakes stay moist for longer, meaning that they keep very well without going stale.
However, you can run into problems when it comes to the cupcakes rising when there is oil present.
If you find that you are having problems with your carrot cake cupcakes rising during the baking process, it could be down to these things:
- How old is your baking powder and bicarbonate of soda? Both of these products diminish in the effectiveness when they’ve been opened a while, regardless of their expiry date. Only use these products within 6 months of opening and store them correctly in a cool, dark place in an airtight container. Do not put them in the fridge.
- Beat the eggs well. While you are not beating the eggs as you would egg whites for a pavlova. You do want to give them some time with a whisk. When you beat the eggs with the sugar, give them some time to become creamy and airy. Once they have reached a creamy consistency, drizzle in the oil gradually while you continue to beat the eggs. You can then fold in the rest of the ingredients while keeping the bubbles in the batter. Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment to beat your eggs, is by far, the easiest solution.
- Preheat your oven. Don’t put your mini carrot cakes in a cold oven, they won’t cook evenly, they’ll take longer and they won’t rise as well.
Remember, however, that carrot cake cupcakes have a different texture to your usual sponge cupcakes, they’re meant to be denser.
The Cream Cheese Frosting
No carrot cake would be the same without a delicious topping of sweet cream cheese frosting and this orange flavoured cream cheese frosting pairs so well with the carrot cupcakes that they were simply made for each other.
The fresh orange juice combined with the finely grated orange zest, gives the frosting an extra tangy flavour. When you spread it on top of your spiced carrot cake, you will not be disappointed.
Runny frosting can be a result of a warm room, the cream cheese and butter will soften at room temperature after a while. If you’re cream cheese frosting is too runny, place it in the fridge for around 30 minutes before using. If, after this time, it still remains too liquid, try gradually adding a little more icing sugar to the mixture.
Once decorated with the cream cheese frosting, it’s important to store your cupcakes in the fridge. Don’t leave decorated cupcakes out on the side.
I would advise to decorate the mini carrot cakes, when you’re ready to serve them. This is because the cupcakes will also keep for longer without the cream frosting on top. The frosting can be kept separately in the fridge for when you are ready to begin decorating and serving.
Your frosting should be store in the fridge and will keep for up to a week. You can freeze your cream cheese frosting if you’d prefer. Place it in an airtight container in the freezer and it will last up to 2 months.
You can freeze the cupcakes without the icing, just take out of the freezer and allow to defrost before you decorate them.
If you store undecorated in an airtight container, they’ll be good for about 4 days. You can make a smaller amount of the topping when you need it. Decorated cupcakes need to be stored in the refrigerator.
It’s important to grate the carrot as finely as you can, you don’t want large chunks of carrots in your cupcakes. I use a box grater, but you can also use a food processor too.
Yes, it is a good idea to peel the carrots first as the outer layer of skin is usually dry and more tough.
Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
For The Cupcakes
- 300 g Plain Flour
- 1 tbsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
- 1 tsp Mixed Spice
- 1 pinch Salt
- 120 g Dark Brown Soft Sugar
- 1 tbsp Grated Orange Zest
- 150 ml Sunflower Oil
- 3 Eggs
- 50 ml Fresh Orange Juice
- 126 g Carrots, Finely Grated
- 100 g Sultanas
For the Orange Cream
- 100 g Cream Cheese
- 80 g Unsalted Butter
- 2 tbsp Orange Juice
- 1 tbsp Orange Zest, Finely Grated
- 400 g Icing Sugar
- Preheat your oven to 160C
- In one bowl, sieve the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate, mixed spice and salt into a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, place the eggs and beat well until creamy. Add the sugar and beat again. Add the oil, eggs and juice and mix until you have a batter.
- Lower the speed and gradually add the oil in a drizzle as the eggs are still being beaten.
- Fold in the flour mixture to the batter until combined.
- Add the carrot and orange zest and fold through, followed by the sultanas.
- Pour into your cupcake cases until they are roughly 3/4 full and place in oven for 15mins until golden and cooked through.
- To check that the cupcakes have cooked through, pierce with a toothpick, it should come out clean. If there is uncooked batter present, cook for a little longer.
- When ready, take the cupcakes out of oven, transfer them to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
- Beat the cream cheese and butter until fully combined, add the orange zest and juice and mix again.
- Add the Icing Sugar and mix again until the mixture turns pale.
- Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, Spread or pipe the orange cream on top and decorate with a little extra orange zest.
Recipe Notes and Guidance
- If your frosting is too runny, put it in the fridge for 30 minutes to harden up before using.
- Store decorated cupcakes in the fridge.
Looking for more cupcake Recipes?
Check out these Battenburg Cupcakes Now!
If you have any other questions please feel free to post them below and I’ll reply.