This is my favourite carrot cake cupcakes recipe made ‘Easter edition’ by smothering them in a beautiful matcha cream cheese frosting and topping them with a chocolate-dipped strawberry ‘carrot.’
In this recipe we will use real white chocolate to dip the strawberries in, rather than the popular ‘candy melts’ that have a list of ingredients I would rather not put into my body.
Unasked for miniature science lesson:
You cannot use your regular liquid food colouring with melted chocolate. The process of making cocoa beans into chocolate removes all of the moisture. Even when chocolate is melted into a liquid state it is still dry.
Added liquid will form a syrup with the sugar, which will cause the cocoa particles to cling and lump, leaving you with a mess where your melted chocolate once was. Instead I use powder food colour to colour the chocolate. You can find it at specialty baking stores or order it online. I found it at Bulk Barn.
How to make carrot cake cupcakes
These cupcakes are so easy to make! Start by preheating the oven to 350°F and greasing your muffin tray. In a large bowl add and stir together these grouped ingredients in the order they are listed:
- Eggs, sugar, and brown sugar.
- Oil and vanilla.
- Carrots and pineapple.
In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Add this mixture into the large bowl and stir together. Finally, fold in the walnuts if you would like to use them. Distribute the batter into your muffin tray and pop it in the oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick test comes out clean. (Oven times can vary greatly.)
When the cupcakes are finished baking, let them sit in the tray for 10 minutes then transfer them to a cooling rack. Let them cool completely before decorating.
Decorating the cupcakes
For these cupcakes I used my matcha vanilla bean cream cheese frosting. Check out that post for the recipe and video. As you know, cream cheese frosting pairs wonderfully with carrot cake. And the green colour from the matcha powder in this frosting makes the cupcakes look like the perfect little resting places for your strawberry ‘carrots’!
As for the strawberries, you will want to select nicely shaped, small berries that come to a little point. Give them a rinse then pat them dry.
Use a good quality white chocolate with real cocoa butter. You should be able to find this in the baking section of your grocery store. Chop up the chocolate into chunks to help it melt more evenly. Set aside a little bit of it to use later for the yellow drizzle topping.
Bring some water to a gentle simmer on your stovetop. Set a double boiler with chopped up chocolate in it on top. As the chocolate melts give it an occasional stir. (For instructions on melting using a microwave see note below.*)
Have a bowl with some hot water ready on a heat safe surface. Once the chocolate has melted, move the double boiler to sit on the bowl. The hot water will help maintain the melted consistency of the chocolate. Now you can add the orange powder food colouring to the chocolate. It is very pigmented so just add a little at a time until you get the colour intensity you want.
Check out the video below if you want to see the decorating process in action.
Stick a short kebab stick into the berries so you’ll have something to hold onto. Pull and hold the leaves upwards. Using a small kebab stick, get some chocolate onto the berry up close to the leaves where it would be difficult to dip.
Then, holding the stick for support, dip the berry into the chocolate and twist it around to coat it. Decide which will be the underside of the berry and scrap the excess chocolate off so that it doesn’t pool around the bottom when you set it onto the cupcake. Set the strawberry onto the cupcake and gently ease it off of the stick.
Continue this with the rest of the berries. If the chocolate begins to firm up while you are still working, you can heat it over the pot again to remelt it.
Repeat the same melting and colouring process with the yellow colour and the chocolate you reserved earlier. Then pour it into a small zip top bag. Cut a tiny whole in one corner, and use it to squeeze out a thin drizzle on top of the berries.
Your carrot cake cupcakes are all done! Let the chocolate set and harden, then store any that you don’t eat today in an airtight container in the fridge. Take them out of the fridge an hour or two before eating to bring them back to the right temperature.Print
Delectable carrot cake cupcakes smothered in a beautiful matcha cream cheese frosting and topped with a chocolate-dipped strawberry ‘carrot.’
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
one batch of Matcha Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
Chocolate-Covered Strawberry ‘Carrots’
8 oz white chocolate, roughly chopped
orange and yellow powder food colouring **
equipment: small kebab sticks and a double boiler *
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease your muffin tray.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, and brown sugar.
Stir in the oil and vanilla, followed by the carrots and pineapple.
In a small bowl, mix to combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
Add the dry ingredients to the large bowl and mix to combine. Fold the walnuts into the batter.
Distribute the batter into the muffin tray and bake for about 20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. (Oven times can vary.)
Let muffins cool in tray for 10 minutes, then cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack. Ensure that they have cooled completely before decorating.
Frost the room temperature cupcakes with Matcha Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting.
Chocolate-Covered Strawberry ‘Carrots’
Select berries that are small and nicely shaped, tapering to a point. Wash and pat the berries dry.
Carefully melt six ounces of chocolate in a double boiler over gently simmering water on stovetop, stirring often. The double boiler and any stirring utensil you use must be very dry.
Once melted, set the double boiler on top of a bowl of hot water on a heat-safe surface. Stir in orange powder food colour a little bit at a time until you achieve the desired colour intensity.
Insert a small kebab stick into the top of a berry to give you something to hold onto. Lift the leaves of the berry upwards and hold them out of the way. Use another stick to apply some melted chocolate up close to the leaves where it would be difficult to dip. [See video below for visual.]
Dip the berry using a gentle twirling motion. Use a stick to scrape some excess chocolate from what will be the underside of the berry so that it will not pool. Set the berry on top of a cupcake and gently remove the inserted stick. Repeat with the remaining berries.
Repeat the melting process with the reserved two ounces of chocolate and colour using the yellow powder food colour. Pour the yellow chocolate into a small zip top bag and cut a very tiny hole into one corner. Squeeze the chocolate through the hole to drizzle the yellow chocolate on top of the berries.
Anything with cream cheese frosting should be stored in the fridge. Wait for the chocolate to set and harden, then any cupcakes that you don’t intend to eat the day of should be stored in the fridge in an airtight container. Set them out a couple hours before you intend to eat them to bring them back to room temperature.
* You can melt chocolate using a microwave if you don’t have a double boiler. Be very careful and heat in very small increments of 15 seconds, stirring frequently, to avoid causing the chocolate to seize up and become unusable. Seized chocolate looks like a chunky mess.
** You cannot use liquid food colouring in melted chocolate as the moisture will cause it to seize. Instead use powder food colour. You can buy it online or find it at specialty baking stores. I found it at Bulk Barn.
Keywords: carrot cake, carrot cake cupcakes, easter