Mango-Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I baked something! I bought butter! I used my mixer! My world was turned upside down!

Ok, not really. (Sorry for all the shouting.) However, I won’t lie. It felt amazing to bake again.

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The other day, when I received the latest issue of Better Homes & Garden magazine, my eye immediately zoned in on the front cover. I couldn’t get this cake out of my mind.

Typically, I try baking something new about once a month on one condition: after the appropriate taste testing, it has to go to my husband’s office. Otherwise, it gets devoured here at home and yea, that’s never a good idea for all parties involved. Minus the cake, of course.

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Since I don’t have the patience right now or stamina to construct a cake (even a simple one), I decided to go the cupcake route. Plus, my husband would have a greater chance at getting these in one piece over to his office rather than ask him to carefully transport a cake.

Give this recipe a try! I promise, the mango only enhances the carrot and my taste tester said he didn’t even know it had mango, and trust me…he would know.

These cupcakes are the perfect way to celebrate the Easter season!

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Mango-Carrot Cake Cupcakes
slightly adapted from  BH&G April 2013 issue

Prep Time: 40 min.
Bake Time: 25 min.
Oven: 350F
Cool: 10 min.
Serves: 18 cupcakes

Ingredients
2 C all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground allspice
1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
1 C granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 C mango juice blend (such as Odwalla or Naked Juice)
3 C finely shredded carrot

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. regular cream cheese, softened
1/4 C unsalted butter, softened
1 t pure vanilla extract (I used clear, to maintain the white color intact but regular works fine)
4 C confectioner’s sugar
*In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until combined. Add vanilla extract and slowly, add 1 cup of sugar at a time. Beat until completely smooth. 

Carrot Ribbons
Using a vegetable peeler, thinly slice 3 small and skinny carrots lengthwise. Place in a bowl of ice water for at least 30 minutes. Drain well before using. Garnish cupcakes with ribbons, cutting into smaller sections if necessary.

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two standard size muffin tins; set aside. (Optional: use cute cupcake liners, very lightly sprayed with oil.) In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and all the spices.
2. In a large bowl, beat butter on medium-high speed 30 seconds. Gradually, add the granulated sugar and beat until combined. Beat 2 minutes more. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Alternately add flour mixture and 3/4 cup of the mango juice; beat on low after each addition just until combined. Stir in shredded carrots. Pour 1/4 cup of batter per cupcake into prepared muffin tins.
4. Bake 20-22 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely.
5. Place remaining 1/2 cup mango juice in a small saucepan; bring to boiling. Boil gently, uncovered, 3 to 4 minutes or until reduced to 1/4 cup. Remove from heat; cool. Brush tops of cupcakes with reduced juice. Top with cream cheese frosting and if desired, garnish with carrot ribbons.

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