Carrot Cupcakes with Brown-Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cupcakes with Brown-Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

[Photograph: Ed Anderson]

Sweetly sophisticated, these carrot cupcakes can credit the touch of curry powder in the batter and brown butter in the frosting to their intriguing flavor.

Reprinted with permission from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook by Tom Douglas. Copyright © 2012. Published by HarperCollins Publishers. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

  • Yield:Makes 12 cupcakes
  • Active time: 1 hour
  • Total time:10 hours, including baking and chilling


  • Cupcakes
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 3/4 cup (100 grams) cake flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon Madras curry powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (115 grams) finely shredded carrot, grated on the small holes of a box grater
  • Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. 1.

    Put the butter in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until golden brown and aromatic, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Allow the brown butter to cool to room temperature.

  2. 2.

    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.

  3. 3.

    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.

  4. 4.

    Cover the bowl and refrigerate the batter for 8 hours or overnight.

  5. 5.

    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.

  6. 6.

    Remove the batter from the refrigerator and scoop it into the prepared muffin pan, using a little less than 1/2 cup batter per cupcake and dividing the batter evenly among the wells of the muffin pan.

  7. 7.

    Bake for 25 minutes without opening the oven, until the tops of the cupcakes are nicely domed and evenly golden brown. After 25 minutes you can open the oven and check for doneness, baking a few minutes more if necessary, for a total baking time of 25 to 28 minutes.

  8. 8.

    Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack before removing the cupcakes.

  9. 9.

    Cool the cupcakes to room temperature before icing them with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting (see next few steps).

  10. 10.

    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.

  11. 11.

    Put the cream cheese into the bowl of an electric mixer and add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Then, using the paddle attachment, beat the mixture for 2 minutes. Turn the speed down to medium-low and slowly drizzle in the brown butter. Continue beating for 1 more minute, then scrape down the paddle and bowl, and the frosting is ready to use.