I’m sure it comes as no surprise to my regular readers that I have become the designated birthday treat baker at work since starting residency.  Actually, this is a responsibility I created all on my own.  I thought it would be mutually beneficial, as it would give me another outlet to unload some baked goods and try some new flavors, while celebrating all my coworkers’ birthdays.  Win-win(-win – if you watch “The Office”) :)  So, last month our chief resident had a birthday and I asked her what sort of cupcakes she would like.  She mentioned that she had been craving carrot cake, and I was thrilled to hear that as I have been wanting to make carrot cake for quite some time.  I have another recipe with more mix-ins that I want to try as a layer cake, but for these cupcakes I thought I would go the classic route with just a basic traditional cake.

These were fabulous!  The cake was perfectly spiced, light and moist.  The thing I really love about this recipe is the use of the food processor to shred the carrots and to mix the batter.  I adore my stand mixer, but it’s nice to only dirty one appliance at a time.  (Though I guess I still used it for the frosting – but you know.)  I was a bit concerned that the shredded carrot pieces would be too large and affect the texture of the cake, but I think they were just fine.  I look forward to making these again!

  • Yield about 20-22 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:
2½ cups (12.5 oz) all-purpose flour
1¼ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. salt
1 lb. (6-7 medium) carrots, peeled
1½ cups (10.5 oz) granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1½ cups canola, safflower or vegetable oil

For the frosting:
12 oz. cream cheese (not softened)
7½ tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
3¾ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted


  • 01

    Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt; whisk together and set aside.

  • 02

    In a food processor fitted with a shredding disk, shred the carrots (you should have about 3 cups).  Add the carrots to the bowl with the dry ingredients and set aside.  Wipe out the bowl of the food processor and fit with the metal blade.  Process the sugars and eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds.  With the machine running, add the oil in a steady stream through the feed tube.  Continue to process until the mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 20 more seconds.  Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.  Stir in the carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain.

  • 03

    Scoop evenly into the prepared cupcake liners.  Bake for about 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan at least 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • 04

    To make the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.