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Carrot Cupcakes for a 12th Birthday!

Who would have thought that I would ever be the proud owner of a 12 year old boy? One day you are pulling him down off of the bookshelf and the next, you are buying him Axe deodorant and he is asking you if you think he will look good with a beard?

Since we are not classic birthday cake people, we always do a pie or creme brule or something like that for birthday dinner but , as devoted to my son as I am, I am NOT making 20 little creme brules for him to take to school to celebrate with. Anyway, he will get creme brulee on Friday night for his family birthday dinner. I am not heartless.
After some thought, he requested carrot cupcakes and I am always down with carrot cake. Since these are to take to school and we are a nut free world now, I had to leave out the walnuts but I still like a bit of crunch to my carrot cake. Poppy seeds were the obvious choice because they look pretty, they are crunchy and they are not nuts. I used a Martha Stewart recipe that I like with a couple of small changes and they came out perfectly.

Happy Birthday to my beloved spawn, fruit of my loins, bearer of my facial features and light of my life.

Little Shack's Birthday Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from Martha Stewart

1 lb organic carrots, washed and grated (organic means you don't have to peel them)
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of sunflower oil
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
2 tbls poppy seeds
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

cream cheese frosting

Preheat the oven to 350F

Line muffin tins with paper liners (I used two 12 cup tins). In a big bowl, mix together carrots, eggs, sugar, oil, apple sauce, vanilla and poppy seeds.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and pumpkin pie spice. Stir the flour into the wet mixture and mix until combined.

Divide the batter amongst the 24 muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until testers come out clean or for about 25 minutes. Let cool in the tins for ten minutes and them remove to wire racks until completely cooled. You can store than overnight at room temperature or freeze them for up to two months in an airtight container.

I like to frost them the day we are eating them and then they are good for up to three days in the fridge.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
adapted from Martha Stewart

1/4 cup room temperature butter
9 oz or 250g block of cream cheese at room temperature
4 cups of icing sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Beat the butter and the cream cheese until it's smooth. Add the vanilla and then the icing sugar, 1 cup at a time, blending between additions until it's all incorporated and smooth. Beat it until it's light and fluffy. You can refrigerate until you  need it a day ahead.

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