Carrot cake has never looked so beautiful! Using a few simple techniques, turn regular cupcakes into a show-stopping dessert display for Easter or any spring celebration. This beloved cupcake design is one we’ve been testing for a while. On their own, they’re simple yet stunning — but joined together with a few frosting leaves and tied together with an icing bow, these cupcakes create a bouquet of Easter sweetness!
Looking for more Easter ideas? Try Ina Garten’s comforting Easter favourites from brunch to dinner.
Lemony Cream Cheese Frosting
For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. For this design, use a combination of mini, standard and extra large cupcakes liners. With this recipe, you can make approximately 12 mini cupcakes, 12 standard size cupcakes and 6 extra large cupcakes.
Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, combine the oil and both sugars. Mix until combined. With the mixer on low, add in the eggs, 1 at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.
With the mixer on low, add in the dry ingredients in 2 batches to allow the batter to absorb the flour without over mixing. Add in the applesauce and mix until combined. Stop the mixer and fold in the shredded carrots.
Distribute the batter into the prepared cupcakes liners. Fill each about ⅔ of the way full. Bake until slightly golden on top and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The mini cupcakes will take 16 to 18 minutes. The standard cupcakes will take 20 to 23 minutes. The extra-large cupcakes will take 24 to 28 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to completely cool on a wire rack before icing.
For the icing: Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the cream cheese and continue to mix until combined.
With the mixer on low, slowly add in the sugar and lemon juice. Once incorporated, mix on medium-high until light and fluffy. Add 1 Tbsp of milk at a time until desired consistency is achieved.
For assembly: To create the flower bouquet, first separate the frosting into different bowls. Tint the frosting with a touch of gel food colouring your desired colours. Remember to tint 1 bowl green for the leaves and stems!
To create the rosette on top, fit a piping bag with a medium star tip (like Wilton 1M). Fill the piping bag with frosting. Keeping the piping bag nearly perpendicular to the top of the cupcake (hovering just slightly above the surface), apply even pressure to the bag as you pipe a tight spiral of icing. Continue around the cupcake, gradually release the pressure on the piping bag at the end and pull away. Pipe rosettes on all of the cupcakes in various colours.
Once the cupcakes are piped, arrange them into the shape of a bouquet on a large serving platter or cutting board. They should be fairly close together, using the smaller cupcakes to fill in the gaps. Fit a piping bag with a leaf tip and fill with the green frosting. Pipe overlapping leaves to connect the cupcakes together and fill in any smaller gaps. Switch to a plain, round tip, and pipe lines of the green icing coming out of the base of the bouquet to resemble the stems.
Lastly, fill a piping bag fitted with a petal tip with any remaining frosting. Keeping the narrow end up toward the top of the bouquet, pipe to large loops on top of the “stems” followed by wavy ribbon tails to complete the design. For the loops and tails, the piping bag (and opening of the piping tip) should be held at a 45-degree angle, switching from one side to the other.