Often carrot cake can seem like a throw back to the '70s, when they were dense and tasted ultimately too good for you. This updated version is moist, sweet and has a rich combination of spices that makes it one of the tastiest cakes ever. Adding a bit of orange and lemon zest to the smooth cream cheese icing brings out those bright flavors in the cake. I have served these cupcakes at every occasion, from picnics to weddings; it is even a terrific breakfast treat.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins with papers.
- Grate the carrots using the grater attachment on a food processor.
- Then chopped them into smaller pieces with the medal blade attachment in the food processor, so the texture of the cake will be finer.
- Before measuring the pineapple, press it through a strainer to get rid of the excess juice.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and orange zest.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices with a whisk. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture. Add the finely chopped carrots, pineapple, walnuts, and raisins.
- Fill the muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool on a rack.
- Cream together the cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium speed. Turn down the speed and add the sugar. Once the sugar is incorporated add the salt, vanilla and zest.
- Use a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip to decorate the cupcakes with the frosting.
Zoë François, author of “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” and “Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day“, studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She now calls Minneapolis her home, where she has worked with some of the top talent in the culinary world — Steven Brown, Andrew Zimmern and many chefs at the D’Amico company. In addition to writing, Zoë teaches baking classes and consults at restaurants, and she maintains her baking blog, zoebakes.com. Her third book comes out in October, “Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads in Five Minutes a Day.”