This Dahlia Bakery favorite is made sophisticated with a touch of curry powder in the cake and brown butter in both the cake and the frosting. I tried adding another element recently: a caramelized pineapple center and it worked beautifully! VERY yummy cupcake!
Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
1-3/4 sticks (200 g) unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups (250 g) packed brown sugar
1 cup (100 g) almond flour
3/4 cup (100 g) cake flour
1-3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. Madras curry powder
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
8 large egg whites at room temperature
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup (115 g) finely shredded carrot grated on the small holes of the box grater
Put the butter in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until golden brown and aromatic, about five minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Allow the brown butter to cool to room temperature.
In another large bowl, sift together the brown sugar, almond meal, cake flour, baking powder, and spices. Use a rubber spatula or plastic dough scraper to push any lumps through the sifter
Add the egg whites and salt to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Put about a quarter of this batter into the bowl with the cooled brown butter and whisk until well combined. Then add the brown butter mixture back to the bowl of the remaining three-quarters of batter and whisk to combine. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the carrot.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate the batter for eight hours or overnight.
Caramelized Pineapple Center
The day before:
In a frying pan over medium heat, melt 2 T. brown sugar with 3 T. unsalted butter until sugar is melted. Add 20 oz. crushed canned drained pineapple (or take a fresh medium-sized pineapple and chop finely), and keep over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until caramelized and aromatic, slightly brown around the edges. Let it cool overnight in the fridge.
When you are ready to bake the muffins, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the wells of a muffin pan with paper liners and set aside. (I used specialty liners in the photo).
Remove the batter from the refrigerator and scoop it into the prepared muffin liners, using a little less than half cup batter per cupcake and dividing the batter evenly among the wells of the muffin pan. Since I added the pineapple center, I filled it halfway with the batter and then put a teaspoon of the caramelized pineapple, then topped it with another dollop of batter.
Bake for 30 minutes (if using larger cupcake liners) or 25 minutes if regular liners, without opening the oven, until the tops of the cupcakes are nicely domed and evenly golden brown. At that point, check for doneness, baking a few minutes more if necessary.
Remove the muffin pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack before removing the cupcakes.
Cool the cupcakes to room temperature before icing them.
Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter
1 pound (454 g) cream cheese, softened
1 cup (135 g) powdered sugar, sifted (measure first, then sift)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
Put the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until golden brown and aromatic, 3 to 5 minutes after the butter melts. Pour the brown butter into a bowl and set it aside to cool completely to room temperature.
Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Using the paddle attachment, beat for two minutes. Turn the speed down to medium-low and slowly drizzle in the brown butter. Continue beating for one more minute then scrape down the paddle and bowl. The frosting is ready to use.
Carrot Curl Decorations
Make a simple syrup: Put one cup of sugar and one cup of water and place in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and then add the carrot strips. Works best when they are thicker, and for some reason, orange carrots (as opposed to yellow, white and purple), seem to hold their shape and color more beautifully. Lower heat to simmer and leave on heat for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 225°F and place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan. When the carrots have finished simmering, drain them and lay them in strips on the pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Moving quickly, wrap the strips around a round handled wooden spoon as soon as they come out of the oven. They will take a spiral shape immediately, and you can slide it off and go to the next. You may need to return the pan to the warm oven if they start to crack.
Cupcake and Frosting recipes from Tom Douglas, Dahlia Bakery Cookbook
Caramelized Pineapple recipe from Isabel Gates