Caramel Pecan Carrot Cupcakes


For the Cake:

1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup canola or vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup finely shredded carrots
½ cup crushed pineapple, well-drained
½ cup raisins (optional)
½ cup pecans or walnuts (optional)

For the Frosting:

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1¾ cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
¼ cup caramel topping
⅓ cup pecans, chopped


For the Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, mix sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Make a well and add oil, eggs, and vanilla and mix well. Stir in carrots, pineapple, raisins, and nuts until combined.
Fill cupcake liners ¾ full with batter.
Bake for 15-16 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.
For the Frosting:
With an electric mixer (hand or standing), cream butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt together starting at a slow speed (takes about 2 minutes to come together). Continue to cream for a couple minutes until light and fluffy. Add cream cheese 2 ounces at a time and beat 2 more minutes (scrape down as needed).
Place frosting tip (2D or 1M) in a piping bag and fill with frosting. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes starting at the outside of the cupcake and work you way in as you circle up.
Using a spoon, drizzle the caramel over the tops of the frosted cupcakes. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.