This recipe was developed as a more healthy option to serve at a baby’s or young child’s birthday party. Sweetened only with a combination of maple syrup and molasses, the moist carrot cupcakes are sure to entice children and adults alike (which is helpful, since parents and other older guests often outnumber little ones at early birthday celebrations). Paired with a tangy, mildly sweet frosting just cream cheese and maple syrup the cupcakes are also a better choice than most for anyone watching his or her refined sugar intake. Mini cupcakes get only a dab of frosting and a candied carrot chip, while standard cupcakes are dotted with a generous amount of frosting.
- Yield: 12 standard and 24 mini
- 2½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup pure maple syrup, preferably grade B
- ⅓ cup unsulfured molasses
- 1 cup safflower or canola oil
- 1 teaspoon apple-cider vinegar
- 5 large egg yolks
- 2 cups peeled, grated carrots (4 to 5 medium)
- Maple Cream-Cheese Frosting
- Candied Carrot Chips
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line standard and mini muffin tins with paper liners. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together maple syrup, molasses, oil, vinegar, and egg yolks until smooth. Add to flour mixture, and whisk until combined. Stir in carrots.
- Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until dark golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes for mini, about 18 minutes for standard. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 1 month, in airtight containers.
- To finish, fill a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip with frosting. Starting in the center and working out in circles, pipe dots all over larger cupcakes to cover. Pipe a dot in center of each mini cupcake, then top with a carrot chip. Serve immediately.