Recipe video above. Carrot cake, but in cupcake form! These little beauties are ultra-moist, spiked with cinnamon and dotted through with nuts. Crowned with a creamy and fluffy cream cheese frosting, they're perfect as little treats or served for dessert.While carrot seems like a bizarre thing to add to a cake, the reason for it is very simple: It results in a moist and tender crumb quite unlike any other type of cake. It doesn't taste like carrot at all, and were it not in the name nobody would be the wiser!
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (all oven types). Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake liners.
Canned pineapple: Drain crushed pineapple well, reserving the juice. Measure out 3/4 cup pineapple and 2 tbsp pineapple juice.
Whisk Dry Ingredients: Whisk Dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Whisk Wet Ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, vinegar, eggs, sugar, oil and the 2 tbsp pineapple juice from Step 2.
Add-ins: Stir in carrot, crushed pineapple, coconut and pecans into the Wet ingredients bowl.
Combine Wet & Dry: Pour Wet into Dry ingredients, stir only until flour is no longer visible. Batter will be lumpy (from the stir-ins) and thick, but runny.
Fill muffin tin: Divide batter between 12 holes. (A 3-tbsp levered ice cream scoop makes life super-easy here.)
Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and fully cool before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream butter: Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer (or whisk attachments for hand mixer), beat the butter for 1 minute until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
Cream cheese: Add cream cheese then beat for 1 minute until smooth.
Icing sugar: Add 1/3 of the icing sugar, then starting on the lowest speed (to avoid a powdery explosion!), beat until mostly incorporated. Add half the remaining icing sugar, beat it in, then the remaining icing sugar.
Fluff it! Beat on high for 2 minutes until fluffy. Add vanilla and salt, beat briefly to incorporate.
Pipe: Transfer to piping bag fitted with a round tip (or ziplock bag with snipper corner). Pipe on to cupcake, sprinkle with chopped walnuts or pecans if desired.
Note about different measures: Cups and other cooking measures differ slightly from country to country. This cake has been tested to ensure it works using both metric (Australia, UK, Europe) and US measures.1. Crushed pineapple – 20oz = 565g, not 440g. However, in Australia, crushed pineapple comes in 440g so I just use 1 x 440g can. The first time I made it, I measured 565g out accurately, but the 2nd time I just used 1 x 440g can and did not notice a difference.2. Vinegar (sub lemon juice) – This gives baking soda/bi-carb a rapid activation boost to give this cake rise. Required in this recipe because it's such a moist cake.3. Baking soda / bicarb – This is about 3x stronger than baking powder. You can sub 6 tsp baking powder but cake will have slightly less rise.4. Carrot – Grate first then measure using cups (packed firmly). Avoid long strands of carrot in cake by holding the carrot perpendicular to grating face, ie. 90 degrees against the grater, rather than on an angle.5. Cream cheese – Use block, not the soft spreadable cream cheese that comes in tubs.UK cream cheese - only tub spreadable is available still, to my knowledge. So use HALF the amount of spreadable cream cheese ie 90g/3oz for one batch, AND add about 1/2 tsp lemon zest (to up the tang slightly).6. Icing sugar – Called powdered sugar in the United States. Use soft icing sugar, not pure icing sugar.7. Cake pan: DO NOT try this in a single round cake pan. The weight of the batter is too great and the cake comes out too dense. It must be split at least two pans, or 1 rectangular pan (Note 1 for size). This recipe makes plenty of frosting for either. The cake is so moist, it's terrific as a single-level cake without needing extra frosting sandwiched in between – and goes further too. 8. Storage – The cake is so moist, the crumb actually gets semi "wet" if not stored in the fridge when it's super hot and humid (like Sydney summer!). Also, the frosting gets too soft. Let it come to room temp before serving (~ 10 min).9. Nutrition per serving, including all frosting.