Rainbow Carrot Cake  | January 18, 2017

If you ask me my favorite cake flavor I would not say carrot cake.  It is delicious and it is a nice change of pace sometimes but it always seems like a daunting amount of work.  I was batting around ideas with all my office mates and there was a mention of making carrot cake.  Oh my goodness, the response that followed the suggestion of carrot cake – I basically needed to grab something so as not to be blown down by the enthusiast roar!  So carrot cake cupcakes it is!

I rave about Seattle’s access to great produce all the time but I started this recipe with some of the most beautiful rainbow carrots of all time.  First, I rinsed them and gave them a quick scrub in the sink with the assistance of our latest products, the Prep n’ Rinse.  It is a colander that fits in your sink but instead of round it is a flat rectangular.  This is helpful because it double as a work surface.  To be able to set vegetables that you are preparing for a stew for example and rinse them all without setting them in the bottom of your sink or transferring wet vegetables to your counter is incredibly convenient.  Also, when peeling carrots or potatoes, to rinse and peel multiple items and then  set them aside on the colander before discarding the peels makes the job move much more quickly.  You can even use it as a dying rack for that lone wine glass at the end of the night.

So after you peel all the carrots – using Tovolo’s Tri-Peeler, you grate them.  I just use a box grater.  It made the most stunning pile of peelings!  It looked like a cross between perfect autumn leaves and finely grated Crayola crayons.  It was almost a shame to eat them.  Almost

With carrot cake, I want spice but also want the carrots to be the star.  I am a bit of a purist so I don’t prefer to add many other types of fruit like raisins or pineapple into my carrot cake.  I think of that being more of a Hummingbird Cake rather than a traditional Carrot Cake.  So armed with cinnamon and cardamom, the rainbow carrot cupcakes were born.  To bring out the spice in the cupcakes, I made Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting but also added a little lemon zest for that zip of brightness.  It was so lovely!  PERFECTION on the carrot cupcakes but also would be amazing with chocolate or vanilla cupcakes not to mention a spice cake.

The recipe is very straight-forward as it is originally from Food & Wine Magazine.  I think you could even skip the frosting (but why would you) and have a fabulous carrot muffin.  Please enjoy!

Rainbow Carrot Cupcakes with Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting

YIELDS 24 cupcake  |  PREP TIME  30 minutes + baking  |  PRINT PDF


adapted from Food & Wine Mag

  • 1 cup pecans (4 ounces)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 pound rainbow carrots, peeled and coarsely shredded


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 – 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 325F. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  • Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes, until fragrant. Cool and finely chop the pecans.
  • In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, buttermilk and vanilla. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar at high speed until pale, 5 minutes. Beat in the liquid ingredients. Beat in the dry ingredients just until moistened. Stir in the carrots and pecans. Scoop batter into cupcake liners. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until springy and golden. If a toothpick comes out cleanly they are baked. Let the cakes cool on a rack for 30 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese at high speed until light, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, cardamom, and lemon zest, then the confectioners’ sugar; beat at low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.