This is my version of carrot cake with an Italian twist. And boy are these good.
Instead of your typical walnuts or coconut (which I also really really love), this carrot cupcake batter is studded with pistachios and golden raisins. These cakes are topped off with rich, creamy and not-too-sweet cream cheese-mascarpone frosting, and a light dusting of pistachios so you get a hint of what’s inside.
I did my research and tested this recipe not once, not twice but three times in a 12 hour period. There are a heck of a lot of cupcakes in my freezer now. On the bright side (not that there’s anything wrong with a freezer full of cupcakes), this recipe is now amazing. These carrot cupcakes are super moist, not too dense and have just the right amount of sweetness. Ask my coworkers if you don’t trust me. Hope you give ’em a try!
This is my version of carrot cake with an Italian twist. The batter is studded with pistachios and golden raisins, and the frosting is made with a combination of cream cheese and rich mascarpone.
- 1 ¼ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, heaping
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup buttermilk or substitute*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1 ½ cup grated carrot (about 3–4 carrots)
- ½ cup golden raisins
- ⅓ cup roasted pistachios, roughly chopped, plus 2T, finely chopped
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 4 oz mascarpone cheese, softened
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat oven & prep pan: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line or grease a standard cupcake pan.
- Mix dry ingredients: In a large bowl, shift together dry ingredients (flour through cloves).
- Mix wet ingredients: In another bowl, beat together eggs and sugars until well-combined and slightly fluffy. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla. Whisk in oil. I like to pour in the oil slowly while constantly whisking, so it’s well-emulsified. Fold in carrots, raisins and pistachios.
- Mix wet & dry: Incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in 3 additions. Do not overmix. Fold in carrots, raisins and pistachios.
- Bake: Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling about ¾ of the way up. Bake on the center rack of the oven for about 16-20 minutes, rotating half-way through, or until a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
- Make frosting: As the cupcakes cool, use a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to beat together the cheeses and butter over medium speed until light and fluffy. Incorporate sugar in 3 additions, starting on low and increasing speed as the sugar becomes incorporated. Stir in salt and vanilla.
- Decorate & eat: If desired, transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with a wide, round tip. Chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes, so the frosting holds its shape better when decorating. Pipe frosting onto cakes in a circular pattern, working from the outside in. Lightly sprinkle frosted cupcakes with the finely chopped pistachios. Enjoy.
- For a buttermilk substitute, mix together ¼ cup of regular milk with ¾ teaspoon of white vinegar and allow to sit while preparing the other ingredients.
- Prep Time: 35 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American, Italian
- Serving Size: 1 cupcake
- Calories: 456
- Sugar: 37g
- Sodium: 243mg
- Fat: 27g
- Saturated Fat: 8g
- Carbohydrates: 51g
- Protein: 5g
Keywords: carrot cake, cupcakes, carrot, mascarpone, cream cheese