Carrot Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean & Orange Zest Cream Cheese Icing

Carrot Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean and Orange Zest Cream Cheese Icing

These cupcakes are a real treat! ¬†My kids begged me to make them for Easter. ¬†Anytime I take them to share at a party or potluck, I always get rave reviews. I’ve never shared this recipe with anyone so now my secret is out. Enjoy!

1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup macadamia nut oil (substitute vegetable oil)
4 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice, divided
1 tablespoon or zest of 1 large orange
1 teaspoon vanilla powder or 1 1/2 vanilla beans
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, leveled
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts (substitute nut of choice)
1/4 cup shredded coconut, plus more for garnish
8 ounces bar cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a standard 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper liners. In a bowl, combine sugar, oil, 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder or 1/2 bean, and eggs.

Stir in baking powder, baking soda, allspice, and salt. Add flour; mix. Stir in carrots, nuts, and coconut.
Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.
In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons orange juice, orange zest, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder or 1 bean. Whisk until smooth.

Frost cupcakes, and garnish with shredded coconut or shredded carrots.