Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Icing

May 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

So good.  So. so. good.  I always thought I didn’t like carrot cake, but then I made these for a picnic.  Apparently I have been missing out all these years.

Sure, it’s a bit nontraditional, what with foregoing the cream cheese frosting, but I *love* the orange icing with it.  Really brightens it all up and make me happy.  Seriously, the orange icing gave me flashbacks to childhood when my parents took me and Evan to one of those Disney ‘live’ shows at the Target Center or something, and as a very special treat before we went, my mom made cinnamon roles with orange icing.  They were heavenly – obviously, I still remember them like 25 years later (also, they were Pillsbury.  Shhhhh).

Anyhoodle, this is an Epicurious recipe (the real one even comes with instructions to make a candied carrot curl – see:  Obviously I didn’t do that step – these things are for snacking on while I sit in bed and catch up on emails, not for impressing guest-type people.  Away we go!


For the cupcakes:

  • 2 cups of grated carrot (~4 carrots)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil (I use a scant cup)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar (I use a scant cup)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the icing
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice (I actually squeezed an orange for this, and think it made a big old difference.  Obvs I ate the other half of the orange while everything baked)
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Line muffin cups with paper liners.Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a bowl.Whisk together oil, eggs, brown sugar, grated carrots, and vanilla in a large bowl, then stir in flour mixture until just combined.

Divide batter among muffin cups and bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted into center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on rack, about 1 hour more.  This is important – if you ice the cupcakes while they’re warm it will all soak in and not turn white like it’s supposed to (*not* that I’m speaking from experience or anything).

Sift confectioners sugar into a bowl. Whisk in zest and 2 tablespoons juice until smooth (I just did the zest of the whole orange, I didn’t measure). If icing is too thick, add more juice, 1 teaspoon at a time. The Epicurious directions suggest dipping the cupcakes in the icing, but that’s to messy (my cupcakes were domed, not flat on top).  So I just spooned icing on top and if I put too much on, I tipped it upside down and let it drip off.  If you’re into showing off, put a carrot curl on top of each and let icing set, about 15 minutes.  [Carrot curl recipe can be found by following the epicurious link at the top of the page, I think].


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