Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting


Spring is in the air!! We’ve unseasonably warm weather here in Indiana the past few weeks.
With Spring on the way, it’s time to think of the next upcoming holiday, Easter is in April this year. Have you seen all the bunnies, carrots, and egg decor out in stores?! One of my favorite dessert recipes that pairs great with Easter and spring is carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. They are super moist, delicious, and have an Easter spirit about them that make them perfect for the holiday, but anytime of the year as well.

We have enjoy having meals with family for Easter and what perfect way to have carrot cake for everyone with Carrot Cake Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting …decorated cute for Easter.
Now I am pretty crafty but I am no artist when it comes to cake decorating, but these are simple to do and look cute!

I will share with you some simple decorating tips for simple Easter themed cupcakes below. Anyone can do!!

Not making them for Easter? That’s ok! A little bit of chopped pecans around the edges of the frosting is perfect!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:
For the cupcakes
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp Clabber Girl baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

For the frosting
8 oz  cream cheese – at room temperature
1 stick butter – at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in a medium sized mixing bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar, and eggs and whisk together. Add the applesauce, carrots, and vanilla and stir together. Then add the dry ingredients from the previous bowl and mix all together until well combined. Add the chopped nuts and stir in.

Prepare a standard sized muffin tin with paper liners of your choosing for the cupcakes. Divide the cupcake batter evenly between the muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. Test batter with a knife to make sure it comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool completely.

Once cupcakes are cooled is time to add the cream cheese frosting. In a medium mixing bowl add the softened cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Using a hand held mixer, mix together the ingredients on medium speed until smooth and creamy. On low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar and continue to beat until it is all mixed in.

Top the cupcakes off with the frosting by piping it on or with a knife. Decorate your cupcakes.
Simply roll the edges in the frosting in chopped nuts or decorate with some Easter themes like shown below.

Recipe makes 12 cupcakes. Serve or store in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

For Easter Decorating tips:
Bunny ears:
Regular size marshmallows
Pink sprinkles
Using a pair of kitchen shears, simply cut a marshmallow in half at an angle. The part that was cut open will be slightly sticky, dip that part in the sprinkles for the center pink part of bunny’s ears. Arrange them beside each other on top of the cupcake.
I added shredded coconut on top of the frosting to give a “furry”look.

Carrots:

Shredded coconut

Green food coloring

Orange Candy Melts

Put a small amount of shredded coconut in a small bowl and add a few drops of green food coloring and stir around.

Melt the candy melts and put in a plastic ziplock bag. At one corner of the bottom of the bag, cut a slit and use it as a piping bag.

Line a pan with parchment paper.

Place a little dab of coconut on the paper and using the plastic bag as a piping bag, squeeze out the melted chocolate into a carrot form. be sure to go over the coconut slightly with it so that the chocolate sets up and the coconut will stick to it.

After you have made several that you need, place in the freezer for final set up.

When you are ready to add to your cupcakes, simply remove from paper and place at the top of the cupcake.

Nest of Eggs:

Green Icing Pouch with Tip
Cadbury Mini Eggs
Simply Pipe the green icing onto the cream cheese frosting using the flower tip. Add the Cadbury mini eggs on top.
These carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting are packed full of so much flavor you will love them from the first bite!

Apple Fritter Breakfast Casserole


This apple fritter breakfast casserole combines all your favorite flavors of apple fritter donuts into a breakfast casserole. Simple to prepare, place in the oven, and enjoy apple fritter breakfast casserole for everyone to enjoy.

On our farmers market Saturdays. its a weekly tradition to head across the street and grab donuts from our local bakery. Sometimes our kiddos will join us at the market also, and they really enjoy the morning donuts and look forward to getting them.  My favorite is the apple fritter!

The sweet cinnamon breading with bits of juicy apples topped off with a creamy icing!

Delicious….

So simple! Prepare the ingredients and layer in the 9×13 and bake. Let cool then add the icing.

Apple Fritter Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients:

Apple Mixture

5 apples – peeled and chopped ( I like more tart apples, so I used Granny Smith)

6 Tbsp. butter

1 c. brown sugar

2 tsp. Clabber Girl corn starch

2 Tbsp. warm water

Casserole Base: 

4 large Croissants (12 oz)

1/2 c. heavy cream

1/2 c. apple butter

3 eggs – beaten

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Glaze:

3/4 c. powdered sugar

4 Tbsp. heavy cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions: 

For the apple mixture

In a medium size pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar to the melted butter and stir until both are completely blended. Add the chopped apples pieces to the pan and stir until they are coated well with the sugar mixture. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes longer while continuing to stir. During that 5 to 10 minutes, in a small bow stir together the corn starch and warm water and add to the apple mixture and cook/stir for the remainder of the 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside while preparing the rest of the casserole.

For the casserole

In a small bowl add the heavy cream, apple butter, eggs, and cinnamon and whisk together. Pull apart the croissants into chunky pieces and place at the bottom of a sprayed 9×13 casserole dish. Pour half of the apple butter/cream mixture over the croissant pieces and then top with half of the apple mixture. Using a spoon, gently stir around the ingredients so apple mixture and the apple butter/cream mixture are somewhat coating the croissant pieces. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool down to warm. Add glaze and serve.

For the glaze

Combine the powdered sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract together in small bowl and stir together with a fork until smooth. Drizzle over the breakfast casserole.

Optional: Sometimes when making this casserole I will add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans when cooking the apples.

All your favorite flavors of an apple fritter together in a breakfast casserole. Bake it up for a weekend breakfast or for a special occasion. It is delicious anytime!

Kids Activity: Rainbow Rocks

This activity requires prep time and overnight setting.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Clabber Girl Baking Soda
  • ¼ c. + 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 gal Vinegar
  • Watercolor Magic liquid watercolor (we chose Sargent Art®)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paper towels (for cleanup)
  • Parchment paper
  • Plastic gold coins
  • 2 large mixing bowls (we chose clear to show color)
  • Baking sheet or dry surface for drying

This recipe yields 5-6 rocks. These Rainbow Rocks are easy and enjoyable for children of all ages.

  1. Gather all ingredients.
    Rainbow Rocks Ingredients
  2. In one of the large mixing bowls, add baking soda. Slowly add water. Mixture should be moldable but not too wet.
    Making Rainbow Rocks 1
  3. Cover hands with rubber gloves. Add watercolor drops to soda water mixture. Massage soda mixture with your hands, adding color as you go until desired color is achieved.
    Making Rainbow Rocks 3
  4. While mixture is still moist, put a small amount of mixture into your hand. Take one plastic gold coin and place in the middle of the mixture. Continue to pat mixture in hands until a medium rock shape forms and the gold coin is hidden.
  5. Cover a cookie sheet or flat surface with parchment paper. Please rocks on top of parchment paper to dry overnight.
  6. After rocks have completely dried, do with them what you wish! We thought it would be fun to hide these in the yard and have children search for them. You could also simply use these as a quick kitchen table experiment.
  7. Using another clean large bowl, fill with vinegar until bowl is 2-quarters full. One at a time, drop Rainbow Rocks in and wait for the surprise.
    Fizzing Rainbow Rocks Activity


Kids Activity: Irish Soda Bread Biscuits

Being a mother of two young (active) boys, I’m always looking for activities to do with them during the cold months. As a family, we don’t usually do anything special for Saint Patrick’s Day, but we love to cook and bake together. This Irish Soda Bread Biscuit recipe is really simple and not too complicated for children between the ages of 4 – 10, with minor assistance. I found that this activity was rewarding to them! This baking experience gave them a boost of confidence that they were able to make something for the family, “all by themselves” to eat. Along with this confidence, they also learned “why”, “how” and “when” to do certain steps:

Examples –

  • “How” to identifying measurements – 1 cup, 1 ½ cup, Tbsp. and tsp.
  • “Why” and “When” to add dry and liquid ingredients
  • “How” and “Why” you infuse dried berries before mixing
  • “How”, “When” and “Why” to set the oven temp
  • “Why” and “How” do you grease or line the baking sheet
  • “How” and “Why” do you knead the dough
  • “When” to take biscuits out of the oven

Kid friendly items to have on hand before starting:

  • Step stool (for reaching)
  • Paper towels (for spills)
  • Oven mitts or kitchen towels (oven transfer use)
  • 2” biscuit cutter
  • Rolling pin
  • Parchment paper
  • Electric mixer
  • 1 – large spoon for scraping sides of bowl

Irish Soda Bread Biscuits Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 c. raisins, rinsed in hot water and dried
  • 1 c. dried cranberries, rinsed in hot water and dried
  • 1 Tbsp. caraway seeds, optional
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c. buttermilk

Steps –

  1. Make sure all ingredients and utensils are out and ready for easy access. (Wash those hands!)

  2. Fully submerge raisins and cranberries in a bowl of warm water. Leave them set for about 2 minutes to infuse.


  3. Drain water from the infused raisins and cranberries. Transfer to folded paper towels to remove any remaining water.
  4. Let your child locate, measure, add and mix all dry ingredients.

(We chose not to add caraway seeds)

  1. Add prepared raisins and cranberries to dry mixture. Mix raisins and cranberries until fully coated in dry mixture.

  1. Add eggs and buttermilk until thoroughly combined.


  2. Spread 2-3 Tbsp. flour on to a prepared surface. Remove dough mixture from mixing bowl and knead for about 3 minutes on prepared surface.


  1. This recipe states to roll dough to a ½ inch thickness. We wanted a higher biscuit, so we decided to roll out to a 2-inch thickness instead.

  1. Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, show your child how to place the cutter each time in order to use most dough the first time around (you’ll need to repeat this step with the additional dough from the first set of cut outs).

  1. Transfer cutouts to your prepared baking sheet. Place biscuits in a 400° F. pre-heated oven. Bake biscuits for 10 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

  1. Using oven mitts or kitchen towel, help your child safely remove biscuits from the oven. Let cool for about 5 minutes. We recommend eating them warm with butter!

Yield: (10) 2-inch round biscuits.