Carrot Cupcakes – American style

This week, the Epicurean goes for a real American treat: carrot cupcakes!

For 12 cupcakes

  • 125 gr flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 125gr light brown sugar
  • 140ml vegetable oil
  • 2 large tablespoons Greek yoghurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 cups finely grated carrots
  • ½ cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup yellow raisins

For the frosting

  • 300 gr cream cheese, room temperature
  • 70 gr butter, room temperature
  • 150 gr powdered sugar
  • 50 ml maple syrup

When Courtney Bonneau Schellekens moved to Groningen from Boston in 2009, baking excellent cupcakes professionally was not on her radar. Yet here we are 5 years later, and Courtney’s Kitchen, her American bakery on Nieuwe Ebbingestraat 47, is already in its third week and thriving!

It’s a well-deserved success for Courtney: nobody else in Groningen makes cupcakes quite like she does. The only challenge is deciding between the ginger/whisky or maple/bacon cupcakes, the brownies and blondies, or the cheesecake and Oreo pie. The café, decked out in vintage colours is inviting, and Courtney is so welcoming that you can’t help but smile whenever you are there.

Last Sunday, when the café was serving American breakfast with pancakes, scrambled eggs, and the crispiest bacon in town, the place was buzzing with excited and happy customers. Check it out if you’ve got a hankering for some good cake or try making these carrot cupcakes in your own kitchen if you are feeling adventurous.

Start by preheating the oven

Start by preheating your oven to 180°C. Place cupcake papers into a cupcake tin with 12 moulds. If you do not have cupcake papers, butter the moulds and dust them lightly with some flour so that the cupcakes will not stick. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in a bowl and whisk well so that the ingredients are evenly distributed.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, yoghurt, and eggs, until the mixture is smooth. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir lightly until combined. Add the grated carrots, pecans, and raisins and mix.

Divide the batter into the 12 cupcakes moulds – each one should be about ¾ full. Bake in the oven for approximately 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean with no crumbs sticking to it. Take the cupcakes out of the moulds when they are cool enough to handle (about 10 minutes) and let them cool down completely before decorating them with frosting.


To make the frosting, a mixer is really the best option, but if you don’t have one, it’s easy enough to make with a little patience. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and beat with a wooden spoon (slowly at first so the sugar doesn’t decorate your entire kitchen) until the mixture is soft and fluffy. By hand, this may take about 10 minutes: a mixer will manage in about 4.

How you decorate the cupcakes is entirely up to you. I typically spread the frosting with a spatula or spoon and top with a few extra toasted pecans, but if you are handy with a piping bag, have a blast! The cupcakes will taste delicious any way you decorate them.

Anastasios Sarampalis is a lecturer at the Psychology Department.