Monday, October 17, 2011

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream

Today I felt like a pretty popular girl.  Actually, I felt popular all weekend.  Thanks to these cupcakes :)

I had a piano recital on Friday night, and I offered to bring something to add to the refreshments table.  I had stumbled on these the day before my  lesson, and I was desperate for an excuse to make them.  So I did, and my streak of popularity lasted from Friday night to today at lunch, through Saturday when I gave one to Kelsey at a study date and one to Rachel as a thank you for a book loan, to today when they made a hit at lunch.

I just ate two one for dessert, and I like them more today than I did on Friday.  Rachel was a little indignant when she learned I was pairing carrot cake with anything other than cream cheese frosting, but these got her enthusiastic blessing :)

So when your social calendar is looking a a little sparse, make a batch and bask in the admiration of those around you.  Or just enjoy sharing them with your best friends, because that's what it's all about!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream

from Joy the Baker

makes around 30 cupcakes

4 cups peeled and finely grated carrots
3 large eggs, room temp
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. I threw in a little extract with my bean)
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, well drained
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cloves

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line muffin tins with paper liners.  In a bowl, whisk together carrots, eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla seeds, and coconut, as well as pineapple and nuts if desired.  In another bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  Stir dry ingredients into carrot mixture until well combined.

Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full.  Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 23 to 28 minutes.  Let cool in tins on wire racks 10 minutes.  Turn out onto wire racks and let cool completely.

Dulce de Leche Buttercream

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
3 Tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
pinch salt
3/4 cup prepared dulce de leche

Cream together butter and powdered sugar on low using an electric mixer.  Add cream and vanilla and beat on medium speed  until smooth and no lumps appear.  Scrape down sides of bowl.  Add the dulce de leche and beat to incorporate.  Frost cupcakes with pastry bag and tip or knife.  Top with toasted coconut if desired.

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