One of my family favorite desserts is carrot cake and carrot cake cupcakes. These carrot cake cupcakes with orange buttercream frosting are a super delicious cupcake recipe everyone raves over. These cupcakes are made with the works, including walnuts, carrots, coconut, and pineapple to give the cake a lot of pulp and extra flavor. The orange zest buttercream frosting pairs nicely with these flavors as well, complimenting the carrot and bringing out the brightness of the pineapple.
I especially like carrot cupcakes, because they are easy to take on the go and they are already portioned out. There are a lot of different approaches to making a good carrot cake.
Carrot cake is a unique treat that some regard as a healthier cake, others applaud its high level of indulgence. With their orange frosting, these carrot cupcakes strut proudly along the line dividing rich nutrients and rich decadence. Whether you like dense cake or fluffy or however serious you are about creating the perfect stylized food photo, these carrot cupcakes are a sheer delight that you will want to recreate again and again.
Is Carrot Cake Healthy?
While carrot cake does contain a lot of good things, it also contains a high volume of sugar and fat. So you can’t exactly categorize it as healthy, despite the positive attributes it contains.
Carrots, nuts, raisins, etc, make Carrot cake appealing for those who want a healthier dessert, but it’s actually pretty middle-of-the-road, even in terms of healthier desserts. While much tastier, carrot cake ranks below angel food cake and flourless chocolate cake on the healthy cake scale. While recipes may differ, carrot cake is generally less healthy than strawberry shortcake.
The unhealthiness of carrot cake comes from the fat and sugar content and the density of the cake, which make a single slice anywhere from 300 to 600 calories. However, The presence of healthy ingredients should not be underestimated. It’s always good to eat your fruits and vegetables. So if you are going to indulge, you may as well do it with Carrot cake as opposed to other lower-calorie options.
A Dangerously Delicious Combo
There was an article out not too long ago that got a lot of traction claiming that among other combinations, oranges and carrots don’t mix. This was news to me as carrot/orange juice blends are pretty common. Of course, this article turned out to be a hoax filled with meritless claims.
Actually, carrots and oranges make a terrific combination for your overall health and they taste great together, too. That’s why I incorporated orange zest in the buttercream frosting for these incredibly decadent carrot cake cupcakes.
There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who like dense cupcakes and those who like fluffy cupcakes. Carrot cake is already decidedly dense, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a brick. If you prefer to have your cupcake a bit more on the airy side, the secret is to add more air!
All you have to do is allow bubbles in the batter while mixing. If you overmix the batter, these bubbles will be smoothed out and result in a denser cake. The bubbles in the batter help keep the cake light and fluffy as it bakes.
If you like your cupcakes on the denser side, there are a couple of ways to achieve this goal. The first is to replace the oil in the cake recipe with butter. Cream the butter and sugar thoroughly before adding to the rest of the mix. Over Creamed butter traps air in the cake batter that later escapes and deflates the cake while cooking.
If density is not the intended result, you should only cream the butter and sugar for 1-2 minutes.
The other method for adding density to your carrot cupcakes is to add extra egg yolks. Another 2 egg yolks will add the thickness to your cupcake that you love. This is different from deflating your cupcake as it enriches and thickens the cake batter instead.
Cool Your Frosting
One important tip when making your carrot cupcakes is to patiently cool your frosting. Don’t get too excited about it. It needs to cool for about 3-4 hours in order to set. This will allow you to adjust the hue and assess the texture prior to frosting your cake.
Darker colored buttercreams darken over time, so if you want Instagram worthy shots, hold out just a little longer before you complete your carrot cupcakes.
Traditionally cream cheese frosting is the choice pairing with carrot cake. This is why this particular recipe uses cream cheese as part of the frosting formula. However, buttercream as an alternative has a lot of benefits. It’s easy to add a lot of flavor, which we take advantage of with the orange juice and zest.
It’s also typically easier to work with, especially if you take great care in styling your cupcakes. Buttercream tends to be an airier frosting, but both buttercream and cream cheese frostings are decadent in their own way.
How Long Can You Store Carrot Cupcakes?
Carrot cupcakes can last for 2-3 days when stored properly. The key is to avoid exposing the cake to air. For this reason, it’s best to keep your carrot cupcakes in the baking tray to keep the cups surrounded, but you can also plate them and completely wrap them in plastic.
To store frosted carrot cupcakes, you will need to keep them in a deep container that seals. Make sure there is enough clearance above the cupcakes to avoid scraping the lid of the container so your frosting does not get flattened.
Ingredients needed to make Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream Frosting
- Baking soda
- Vegetable oil
- Crushed pineapple
- Orange zest
- Orange juice
- Chopped walnuts
(Actual measurements in the recipe card below.)
How to make Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream Frosting
- Preheat oven to 350º and add paper liners to cupcake tins.
- In a medium bowl whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
- In a large bowl combine eggs, oil, buttermilk, sugar, and vanilla. Beat on low until combined.
- Add flour mixture into the large bowl. Mix on low until combined with wet ingredients.
- Fold in grated carrots, coconut, pineapple, and stir.
- Pour batter into cupcake liners 2/3 full, and bake for 20-23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in cupcake comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cupcakes cool completely before adding frosting.
How to make Orange Buttercream Frosting
- In a medium bowl beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
- Add vanilla, powdered sugar, orange zest, and orange juice.
- Beat until smooth.
Try These Delicious Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream Frosting Today
Here are a few more delicious recipes that can be found on the blog
- Banana Nut Cream Cheese Cupcakes
- Chocolate Brownie Pudding Cake
- Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake
- Easter Sugar Cookies
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
- 3/4 cups vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 20 oz crushed pineapple, drained
- 3 1/2 cups carrots, grated
- 1 1/2 cup coconut, flaked
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 2 tsp fresh orange juice
Preheat oven to 350º and prepare a muffin pan with liners.
In a medium bowl whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
In a large bowl combine eggs, oil, buttermilk, sugar, and vanilla. Beat on low until combined.
Add flour mixture into the large bowl. Mix on low until combined with wet ingredients.
Fold in grated carrots, coconut, pineapple, and stir.
Fill up each liner 3/4 full. Bake for 20-23 minutes or until center is fully cooked.
Remove from oven and let cool.
In a medium bowl beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
Add vanilla, powdered sugar, orange zest, and orange juice.
Beat until smooth.
Recipe inspired from my Carrot Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
Here are a few pics that are the perfect size for pinning to Pinterest.
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