How to Make Floral Carrot Cupcakes for Spring

Learn how to transform super simple carrot cupcakes into an edible garden.

Whether you're celebrating Easter, a birthday, or nothing in particular, carrot cake is a spring celebrations classic. With a few tips from professional baker and cake decorator Liz Shim, you can make any cupcakes look like May flowers, no April showers required.

Step 1: Make the Cake

When it comes to carrot cake, moistness is key, and that starts with the carrots themselves. Liz highly recommends grating fresh carrots just before baking so that they don't dry out. Buying pre-grated carrots can save on time, but they tend to be dried out or contain extra ingredients to keep them fresh. But freshly-grated carrots add great moisture and color to the batter.

Liz's recipe is also made all in one bowl to save on time and dishes, and she has a few other handy tips: A not-so-conventional addition of applesauce brings extra moisture and sweetness without having to use more sugar or oil. Plus, you can use the applesauce container to measure your oil since they're equal amounts — that's a win, win! Sift the dry ingredients directly into the bowl, gently mix until just combined, then your batter is done.

Are you a carrot cake purist, or is your ideal cake chock full of mix-ins like nuts, pineapple, and coconut? Either way, customize this cake to satisfy any preference.

Step 2: Whip Up the Frosting

A cupcake without frosting is just a muffin, right? Well, these cupcakes are certainly not complete without a good dollop of tangy cream cheese frosting.

It could not be easier to make, so long as you start with room temperature ingredients. Liz suggests using room temperature butter and cream cheese to ensure the smoothest frosting with no lumps.

Another tip from Liz: Add the powdered sugar about a cup at a time. That way, you'll never end up with a face full of powder sugar. Beat until uniform, being careful not to overmix the frosting. Once set, store at room temperature if using immediately, or store in the fridge if making ahead of time.

How to Create Marshmallow Flowers

In a few simple steps, you can transform these carrot cake cupcakes into a garden of colorful flowers.

Step 1: Grab some marshmallows.

Start with miniature marshmallows, either plain or fruit-flavored, as they tend to be pretty pastel colors. Using a clean pair of kitchen shears or scissors, cut the marshmallow in half on the diagonal to create two triangular petals.

Step 2: Dip in sanding sugar.

Dip the exposed interior of the marshmallow petals, which will be sticky, into colored sanding sugar or sprinkles to create the inside of the petal. Repeat the process with various colors of sanding sugar and marshmallows until you have enough petals to cover the tops of your cupcakes. Liz points out that this is a great time to get friends or kids involved.

Step 3: Craft your flowers.

Once you have enough petals, it's time to build. Grab a butter knife or small offset spatula. Frost the tops of the cupcakes with your cream cheese frosting, taking the frosting all the way to the edge of the cupcakes. It's best to do this right before adding decorations, since this frosting may harden or form a skin if left out for too long and your toppings may not stick.

To create larger flowers, start by placing a ring of petals, colored side up and flat side down, around the edge of the cupcake. Work in from there, adding new petals between two petals of the previous ring, repeating the process until your petals meet in the middle.

To create the center of the flower, place one or a few miniature coated chocolate candies or pearl sprinkles right in the middle. To create smaller flowers, simply place one to two rings of petals towards the center of the cupcake.

Experiment and have fun — they will taste delicious no matter what they look like! We hope you'll try these adorable and delectable carrot cake cupcakes for your next spring celebration. Happy baking!


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