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Carrot Cake Cupcakes With Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

So, you may or may not have noticed, but my posts are kind of not holiday-oriented. Okay, they're not holiday oriented at all. I give you guys apple pie in May, chimichangas in March, coconut macaroons in August, and s'mores cookies in December. My internal holiday clock is totally out of whack. But I have good news. I'm going to make a solid effort to give you guys holiday-themed recipes in the correct time frame, starting with these carrot cake cupcakes.

Of course, it would have made more sense to post these cupcakes pre-Easter, but I happen to think that mamas would love a good carrot cake too. And this one isn't just good, it's GREAT. So you'll definitely rack up some brownie points if you make these over the weekend.

I actually made these for a new mama herself and she couldn't stop raving about them, and immediately asked me for the recipe. Smart move on her part. Because this is the recipe you want to have. This is the only carrot cake recipe you'll ever need. Guaranteed, or... well, there really isn't an 'or' because I know it's guaranteed!

This is about the time where I throw a bunch of adjectives at you to describe how/why these cupcakes are so amazing and better than any other carrot cake cupcakes you've ever had. So, let's get right on with it. These cupcakes are: moist, flavorful, tender, delicious, not too carroty, not too sweet, just dense enough, decadent and perfectly spiced. And the frosting honestly deserves it's own set of adjectives. I mean, it has browned butter in it for crying out loud.

I don't even like cream cheese frosting, but this one, I couldn't keep my finger out of. The nutty undertones from the browned butter give it an incredibly divine flavor, which pairs perfectly with the spices in the carrot cake. And then on top of all this amazingness, there's crushed pecans to add a lovely finishing crunch to your bite.

Can you imagine what all of that tastes like combined? Don't imagine. Make it happen. This weekend. Kthanksbye.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes With Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 15 cupcakes
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1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup applesauce
3 large eggs, room temperature
pinch of vanilla powder (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 and 1/2 cups finely grated carrots

For the brown butter cream cheese frosting:
1/2 cup(1 stick) unsalted butter
pinch of salt
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 and 1/2 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar, sifted

Crushed pecans, for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In another bowl, stir together sugars, oil, and applesauce until smooth and well-blended. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two additions, mixing after each addition just until combined. Fold in grated carrots.

Pour batter into prepared cupcake liners, filling each one 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in tin for 5 minutes, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, brown butter in a saucepan following these directions. Remove browned butter from the heat and pour in a heatproof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour, or until it has reached a soft "room temperature butter" consistency; NOT completely solid. If it becomes solid, you will have to wait for it to come to room temperature again.

In a bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat chilled brown butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add salt and powdered sugar and beat until fluffy and well-combined.

Spoon frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large decorating tip. Pipe frosting into a swirling motion onto each cupcake. Top with crushed pecans.

Adapted from Cooking Classy

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