carrot cupcakes with coconut cream cheese frosting

Carrot cake is one of my favorite treats of all time!  But I think if I'm honest with myself, it's all about the frosting.  I just adore cream cheese frosting in any form...  on cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, or just by the finger-full... and cupcakes seem to be the best excuse to pile it on.  

As you can see, I don't skimp on the frosting with these cupcakes.  You could definitely get away with less, if you'd like...  but why?!

Carrot Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

for the cakes:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups butter, melted & cooled to room temperature
4 large eggs
3 cups very finely grated carrots
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut (optional)
for the frosting:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, toasted**

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line two muffin pans with papers (to make 24 cupcakes).

Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and butter until well blended, then whisk in the eggs one at a time. 

Add the flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots and coconut. Divide the batter among cupcake molds, filling about 3/4 of each.

Bake the cupcakes for 14 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool in pans for five minutes or so, then remove to a cooling rack. Let the cupcakes cool completely before icing them.

In a stand mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. Spoon into a gallon ziploc bag and chill for 10 to 20 minutes.  Pipe the frosting out onto the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle generously with toasted coconut.

**To toast the coconut:  Spread the coconut on a baking sheet.  Bake for about 5-8 minutes in a preheated 350ºF oven until lightly golden brown.  Let cool before sprinkling on the cupcakes.

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