Tropical Carrot Cupcakes
This Saturday was my friend Jen’s wedding shower, for which she and her awesome mom prepared tons of delicious munchies, and I’d volunteered to bring the dessert. Jen requested carrot cake cupcakes, which I’d never made before, so I instantly agreed. However, I was recently flipping through the Best of America’s Test Kitchen from 2008 that Scott’s mom had given him, and stumbled across a delicious looking recipe for tropical carrot cake – how could I resist? I’ve been eager to make one of the recipes from this book, because they tend to be a little out of the ordinary, yet you know they’re tried and true; Furthermore, this holiday weekend we just had was sizzling and perfect summertime kickoff weather for some tropical flavors! Throw in some adorbs cupcake liners and toppers that my dear friend Beth gifted me earlier this year, and I was set.
The process for this recipe was a bit unusual, but it was a fun challenge in paying close attention to recipe details, and the cupcakes were super moist, sweet and tangy; definitely a hit!
Make the Pineapple Pudding
- 1 lb frozen pineapple chunks, thawed
- 1/2 cup frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed
- 6 TBSP cornstarch
Process the pineapple chunks and concentrate in the food processor until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan and whisk in the cornstarch. Simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate, with plastic wrap pressed flush against its surface, until cold, at least 1.5 hours.
Make the Cake
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 TBSP baking powder
- 3/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 cup sweetened shredded cocounut
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 cupcake trays with paper liners. Whisk the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, ginger and salt together in a large bowl. Process carrots in the food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a large bowl and wipe the food processor dry. Process the coconut and granulated sugar until the coconut is finely chopped. Add the brown sugar and eggs and blend until the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. With the machine running, slowly pour in the oil and process until combined. Transfer the mixture to the bowl with the carrots. Stir in the dry ingredients and 3/4 cup of the cooled pineapple pudding.
Divide the batter evenly amongst the cupcake liners. I recently purchased an ice-cream scoop which works really well for this. It scoops the perfect amount of batter and it keeps everything very tidy! Highly recommend. Bake cupcakes for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
Make the Frosting
- 12 TBSP (1.5 sticks) butter, softened
- 3 cups confectioners sugar
- pinch of salt
- 16 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
- 3 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted*
With an electric mixer, beat the butter, confectioners sugar and salt on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated. Beat in the remaining 1 cup of pineapple pudding. Refrigerate until ready to use. Once your cupcakes are cooled, top them with your tropical frosting and a sprinkle of toasted coconut. Enjoy!
* To toast the coconut, spread it evenly on a baking sheet and bake it at 325 degrees for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.