About the Recipe
For the cupcakes
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs (or flax eggs for vegan)
⅓ cup neutral oil
2/3 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
1 ½ cups lightly packed peeled and grated carrots
For the frosting (or use this vegan cream cheese frosting)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
For the garnish: finely chopped pistachios, pecans or walnuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place muffin liners into a standard 12-cup muffin tin.
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, and kosher salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the oil and applesauce. Stir in the grated carrots.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring only until just combined (but making sure no pockets of dry ingredients remain).
Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups (about ¼ cup in each).
Bake for 23 to 25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to fully cool, at least 1 hour. (Set out the butter and cream cheese at room temperature for 1 hour while the cupcakes cool.)
When the cupcakes are cool, make the cream cheese frosting: Make sure the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature. Use a fine mesh sieve to sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Beat the butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes until completely smooth, scraping once. Reduce the speed to low, then add the vanilla. Slowly add the powdered sugar until it comes together into a thick icing.
Use a pastry bag to pipe the icing onto the cupcakes, or refrigerate the icing up to 1 week until frosting. (You can use the entire quantity of frosting or less if desired for a lighter cupcake.) Top with finely chopped pistachios.
Storage info: Leftover cupcakes can be stored refrigerated for up to 4 days, but are best served as fresh as possible (bring to room temperature before serving). If making in advance, store the cupcakes refrigerated without frosting; add icing as close to serving as possible. Freeze the un-frosted cupcakes for up to 2 months, but again: we recommend making them closer to serving for best results. You can also freeze cream cheese frosting for up to 1 month. Make sure to bring it to room temperature and stir it before using.