Coconut Nest Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Coconut Nest Carrot Cake Cupcakes 1

Cupcakes are quintessentially cute. There’s just something about a perfect, little cake in miniature form that gets people giddy. The downfall to the adorable confections? They can sometimes be the target of dryness, and there is nothing worse than a beautiful cupcake with a dry, crumby interior. Cue, the carrot cupcake! I can guarantee these puppies will not succumb to the dry cupcake curse. The carrots add a great deal of moisture, and the pecans in the batter and the toasted coconut add a nice bite. The frosting is a citrus take on the traditional cream-cheese frosting, and give the cupcake an extra zing. These carrot cupcakes will be the perfect addition to your Easter brunch, visually and flavor-wise. Oh, and did I mention I added some booze in these, too? Enough said.

Coconut Nest Carrot Cake Cupcakes 2
Carrot Cake Coconut-Nested Cupcakes
(Makes 24 cupcakes)

2 1/4 all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
3 cups grated carrots
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
Gran Marnier(orange liquor)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a cupcake sheet with cupcake liners.

Sift the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon in a bowl. In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, mix the sugar and vegetable oil until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time. Fold in the carrots and walnuts. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes before adding to the cupcake pan. 

Use an ice cream scooper to portion out the batter amongst the cupcake pan. Bake for 30 minutes. After a few minutes of cooling, brush a tablespoon or so of Gran Marnier on each cupcake. *Once cooled, if you want to store them before you frost, the cakes can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap to keep moist.
Coconut Nest Carrot Cake Cupcakes 3
Frosting:
3  16 oz. pkgs. low-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar*
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. Gran Marnier (orange liquer)
1 tsp. orange zest
juice of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1/2 orange

Mix together with a whisk attachment. *I prefer my frosting more tangy, but if you like yours sweeter, add a few more tablespoons of powdered sugar.

Assembly:
jordan almonds or miniature cadbury eggs
sweetened shredded coconut

Toast the coconut on 350 for about five minutes, or until lightly browned. Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle the toasted coconut atop to resemble a nest. Add two jordan almonds or miniature cadbury eggs on top.

Bon Appetit and Happy Easter!

Xo, d.

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