Two-Bowl Carrot Cupcakes

For most carrot cakes, the cake portion serves as the vehicle to eat the frosting. But with Melissa Coleman’s recipe from her new cookbook The Minimalist Kitchen, the cupcake and icing both hold their own. The batter hits the not-too-sweet sweet spot, while the frosting is a fluffy mascarpone; a match made in carrot cake heaven. Here’s how she does it…

Carrot Cupcakes
From The Minimalist Kitchen, by Melissa Coleman

When feeding a baby under the age of one without sugar, I learned to bring out the natural sweetness of things using spices and a pinch of salt. I’ve applied that same lesson to these cupcakes, using a little less sugar than traditionally called for. They’re spicy yet sweet. When you start with really good carrots, they’ll add an extra layer of natural sweetness. The mascarpone frosting on these cupcakes is something unexpected. It’s light, but sturdy enough to hold swoops. One cupcake will leave you satisfied and happy, as a dessert should.

Carrot Cupcakes
Yields: 12 cupcakes

You’ll need:

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3⁄4 tsp ground cardamom
1⁄2 tsp kosher salt
1⁄4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
Dash of ground cloves

3⁄4 cup roughly chopped and peeled carrots (around 2 to 3)
Thumbtip of peeled fresh ginger
1 cup granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup olive oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tbsp heavy cream
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup heavy cream, chilled
3⁄4 cup powdered sugar
1⁄2 tsp cream of tartar
1⁄2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 oz mascarpone, chilled

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with liners.

Prepare the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Set aside.

Prepare the wet ingredients. In a blender or food processor, add the carrots and ginger. Blend on medium-low until shredded. In a medium bowl, whisk together the carrot mixture and all of the remaining wet ingredients until well combined. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Fold together until just combined.

Scoop the batter evenly into the lined tin, filling a little less than two-thirds full. Bake for about 22 minutes or until a light press in the middle bounces back. Let cool in the pan for a minute before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely before icing, about 30 minutes.

To make the frosting, using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and a clean bowl, add the cream, powdered sugar, cream of tartar and vanilla. Beat on high until stiff peaks form, as if you were making whipped cream. Add the mascarpone and beat again just until stiff peaks. The frosting will be light yet spreadable. Note: The cream of tartar is necessary as a stabilizer for this frosting.

Evenly divide the frosting in the middle of the cooled cupcakes. Using a butter knife, gently smooth off the top. Lightly sprinkle with coconut and hemp seeds, if desired.

Thank you so much, Melissa! Your new cookbook is wonderful.

P.S. More delicious recipes, including a dark chocolate tart with sea salt and five-ingredient chocolate peanut butter bars.

(Reprinted from The Minimalist Kitchen, by Melissa Coleman. Photograph by Kim Cornelison and food styling by Diana Scanlon. Published by Oxmoor House.)