My mom loves carrot cake so my sister and I decided to express our love and adoration for her through good ol’fashioned baking. The first batch was a bust, we should have taken them out of the oven a good 5-8 minutes before we did. They were a bit hard and kind of crunchy. Not fabulous at all.

Second batch was much better. Best part? They were adorable! We piped tiny orange carrots with green leaves on each cupcake. And they taste great, too. We used an Ina Garten/Barefoot Contessa recipe from Food Network (minus the raisins and walnuts).

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 extra-large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups grated carrots (less than 1 pound)
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts

For the frosting:
3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Beat the sugar, oil, and vanilla together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the eggs, 1 at a time. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Add the grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts to the remaining flour, mix well, and add to the batter. Mix until just combined.

Line muffin pans with paper liners. Scoop the batter into 22 muffin cups until each is 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and cook for a further 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack.
For the frosting, cream the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the sugar and beat until smooth.
When the cupcakes are cool, frost them generously and serve.

We celebrated Mother’s day at my parent’s house and my mom ooohed and aaahed over the cupcakes and didn’t believe us (or did a good job pretending) that they were homemade versus store bought. Love my momma!