Carrot Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yesterday was my 25th birthday. 25 years. A quarter of a century.

In my lifetime, I’ve seen some pretty significant events.

Like the launch of the World Wide Web. The passing of the 27th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The founding of Google. The first time the U.S. budget reached $1 trillion. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The O.J. Simpson trial. 9/11. The launch of beanie babies (remember those?) Wars in the Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The Clinton/Monica…situation. Boy bands. Madonna. Hanging chads in Florida. Carter. Reagan. Bush I. Clinton. Bush II. Obama. The election of the first African American U.S. president. The fall of the Berlin Wall. The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The birth of Generation Y.

And over the last 25 years, I’ve experienced some pretty significant events in my own life. That whole growing up into an adult thing. Graduating from college. Starting my first “real” job. Buying my first (and second…and third…) car. Marrying the love of my life. Becoming a part of the Marine Corps family. Living in six different states. Getting pregnant with our first little one.

25 years is celebration-worthy in our household. And my incredible husband went above and beyond to make my 25th one to remember. (You’ll have to bear with me here as I do a little shameless bragging on my darling hubby.) He planned out a whole day of my favorite things. He cooked breakfast, took me to the beach, made my favorite lunch, treated me to a shopping trip and a massage, ordered my favorite pizza for dinner, surprised me with Martha’s “Baking Handbook” (get excited for some new baking adventures!), and even allowed me to pick the movie of the night. Talk about one blessed girl!

And of course there was cake. Mini carrot cakes with cream cheese frosting, to be precise. My absolute favorite. And yes, I made my own birthday cake. No judging. It was my birthday, after all. I’m all for surprises, but some things are just too important to be left to chance.

Carrot Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten and Martha Stewart

Active time: 30 minutes
Start to finish: 2 hours
Makes 2 dozen mini-cakes

For the carrot cakes
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 pound carrots, grated
1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple

For the cream cheese frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the carrot cakes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 cupcake pans.

Beat the sugar, oil, and eggs together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light yellow. Add the vanilla. In another bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups flour, the cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Toss the raisins and walnuts with 1 tablespoon flour. Fold in the carrots and pineapple. Add to the batter and mix well.

Divide the batter equally between the cupcake pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans set over a wire rack.

For the cream cheese frosting
Place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, soften cream cheese. Gradually add butter, and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Sift in confectioners’ sugar, and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla, and stir to combine.

To assemble the cakes
Cut each mini cake in half horizontally. Pipe a layer of frosting onto the bottom half of each cake. Place the top half of the cake on the frosting layer. Add a second layer of frosting to the top of the cake. Decorate as desired. Serve chilled. Refrigerate to store.

1 Comment on Carrot Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. brunellathings
    August 23, 2013 at 9:31 pm (4 years ago)

    I came here for the recipe, but the comment I leave is about how amazing (and incredibly achieving) your life sounds! In just 25 years , wow! Sounds like you had the perfect treat for the perfect day 🙂


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