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Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Orange-Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes and Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook
Makes 2 to 2 ½ dozen cupcakes

1 pound carrots, peeled and finely grated
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Frosting: (Makes enough for close to 3 dozen cupcakes)
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 packages (8 ounces each) full fat cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
¾ teaspoon finely grated orange zest (from 1 orange)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of salt

1. Make cupcakes: oven to 325F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together carrots, eggs, buttermilk, sugar, oil, and vanilla*. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Stir flour mixture into carrot mixture until well combined.
2. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each with 2 tablespoons of batter. Bake, rotating halfway through, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 23 to 28 minutes. Cool in tins for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
3. While cupcakes are cooling, make frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese and beat until combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add orange zest, salt, and ginger, beating until combined. Gradually add in confectioners’ sugar and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Top with fondant carrots just before serving.

*Note: If you’d like, feel free to add ½ cup golden raisins and/or 1 cup of toasted, chopped pecans to the batter with the rest of the wet ingredients.

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