There are two camps out there… those who love carrot cake and those who don’t. It should be clearly obvious by all of our “vegetable” recipes that we are in the first camp, and we are here to tell you that carrot cake should not be underrated!
Seriously, it’s such a delicious, moist cake that it tends to overshadow the fact that vegetables are involved. So, if you are in that second camp, we are here to give you a new glimpse of what a carrot cake should be. Believe us, once you bite into this decadent cake, all your preconceived notions of vegetables in your baked goods will go out the window.
Technical Tip #1 – The Carrots
Here comes the debate over organic or non-organic vegetables… Go organic! That was easy. Seriously, we grated over 5 pounds (5 POUNDS!) of carrots by hand (BY HAND!) to bring you this recipe. We used organic, non-organic, non-organic packaged, and organic with the greens still attached, and by far the organic carrots flavor reigns supreme. That being said, whatever carrot route you take, be sure that the carrots you do buy are small, bright orange, and smooth, meaning without cracks. Cracks mean moisture has left the building, which translates to less sweet and less flavor-filled carrots.
Technical Tip #2 – Over Mixing
While it is important to make sure all ingredients are incorporated into your batter, you have to be careful not to over mix. Mixing too much will lead to more gluten development which can result in tough, chewy textures. Liquid ingredients should be creamed and mixed together before adding the flour. If you’re nervous about flour clumps, sift all dry ingredients together. Then the dry ingredients should be added to the wet ingredients. Once all dry ingredients have been added to the mixer, turn it off and then finish up by hand with a spatula. This is where your add-ins will be incorporated (in this case your carrots). Regardless if you are mixing your batter in a mixer or by hand, a good rule of thumb is to stop mixing when no streaks of flour remain in your bowl.
Overall, this classic, super moist buttermilk carrot cake will just melt in your mouth. It’s that good. And the frosting. Oh the frosting. The classic pairing for carrot cake is usually a decadent cream cheese frosting, but we went with a vanilla bean for these cupcakes. And this Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting is made for royalty. Yummmmm.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups packed light brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups packed carrots, shredded (about 1 pound)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cupcake trays with liners. Set aside.
- Shred Carrots. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, all-spice, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
- In a mixer beat eggs with brown sugar until smooth.
- Add oil and buttermilk and mix until combined.
- Add flour mixture until almost combined.
- Add carrots and mix by hand until just combined, being careful not to over mix.
- Fill cupcake liners ⅔ full and bake at 350°F for 15-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.