At this point I have mentioned brown butter enough that my thoughts on it are obvious 🙂 It makes so many baked goods tastier though, so of course it has to go into these carrot cake cupcakes too.
This is a fairly straight forward carrot cake recipe based roughly on one from Brave Tart. The only unusual things are adding browned butter and a 2:1 ratio of AP flour and whole wheat flour in the batter. As mentioned in my buttermilk banana muffins post, I find that carrot and banana baked goods go really well with some whole wheat flour as the nuttiness of the flour enhances the flavor of the carrot or banana.
This recipe has a lot of carrots, which I love, and some chopped pecans as well which you can include or leave out if you prefer. The batter is flavored with the typical spices of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove.
I used a typical cream cheese butter cream for this. I like my cream cheese icing heavy on the cream cheese, so I use a full bar of cream cheese and 1 stick of butter. This recipe made around 16 generous cupcakes, and you can double it if you want to make a three layer 8 inch round carrot cake. You’d probably need extra icing for it, if you like a lot of icing like I do.
Brown Butter Carrot Cake Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
- 7 oz pecan pieces
- 3 cups firmly packed shredded carrots about 12 oz
- 2 sticks unsalted butter 8 oz
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cup spooned and leveled AP flour
- 1/2 cup spooned and leveled whole wheat flour or use more AP
For the icing:
- 1 8 oz block cream cheese room temp
- 1 stick unsalted butter room temp
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 tbsp cream
For the cupcakes:
- Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners and heat the oven to 350. Spread the pecans on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 5-8 minutes until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool and chop into small pieces.
- Heat the butter in a small sauce pan until foaming. Swirl and watch the butter until it begins to brown. Stir with a baking spatula, scraping the bottom until there are lot of golden bits floating. Do not burn.
- Shred the carrots and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle, add the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla and eggs. Mix on low until combined and then raise to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.
- Slowly drizzle in the browned butter while the mixer is on medium. In a bowl, whisk the AP and WW flour together. Reduce the mixer to low and add the flour. Mix only until it mostly comes together. Stop the mixer and fold in the pecans and carrots by hand, making sure all the flour is mixed in, but don't overmix it.
- Using a large cookie scoop, scoop batter into your cupcake liners filling them about 3/4 of the way full. These rise a little but not drastically. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake 10-15 more minutes until the centers have risen and a tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Check them every 5 minutes because you don't want to overbake them.
- Place on a cooling rack to cool completely before you frost them.
For the icing:
- Beat the butter and cream cheese with the paddle attachment until fully combined and smooth. Add the vanilla and the powdered sugar and mix on low to combine. Raise to medium and whip until smooth. Add the cream and continue mixing on medium until nicely whipped. Adjust the cream/sugar as needed for desired consistency. Pipe onto cupcakes.