Carrot Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese
- Parchment paper
- 1/2 c. walnuts
- 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 c. dark brown sugar
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 c. canola oil
- 2 tbsp. fresh orange juice
- 1/2 lb. carrots, peeled and grated (about 1 3/4 cups)
- 1/2 c. golden raisins
- 1/4 c. dried apricots, roughly chopped
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/3 c. sour cream
- 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
- 2 tbsp. honey
- Orange and green gel paste food colors, for decorating
- Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut out twelve 5-inch squares of parchment and arrange in the cups of a 12-cup muffin tin.
- Spread the walnuts on a small rimmed baking sheet and toast until lightly golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; once cool, roughly chop. Reduce oven to 325 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars, eggs, oil, and orange juice. Add the flour mixture to the eggs and mix to combine. Fold in the carrots, raisins, apricots, and walnuts.
- Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups (about 1/4 cup each). Bake until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the frosting: Using and electric mixer on low, beat the cream cheese and sour cream to combine. Add the confectioners sugar and honey and beat until smooth. Chill until ready to use, at least 45 minutes or up to 3 days. Spread the frosting on the cupcakes.
- For carrot decorations: Tint some of the frosting orange and some green, place in a resealable plastic bag, snip off a small corner and pipe carrots and tops.