Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Carrot Butter Cream


I have such wonderful memories of Halloween. My entire neighborhood would always celebrate it. They would come out to see what the kids were wearing and hand out candy. My crew and i trick or treated till we were upwards of 17, simply because everyone was so accustom to the tradition, and still wanted candy. My family always carved a silly pumpkin, ate toasted pumpkin seeds, and my sister and I would lay out all our candy, organize it and plan trades. It was serious business. 

However these days there are some scary things hiding in our unassuming fun sized candy. Dyes, petroleum and modified ingredients lurk around every wrapper and the halloween baked goods are often filled with red dye #40, which is banned in europe because of its strong ties with cancer and hyperactivity. Scary stuff. 

When I wanted to do a fun halloween cupcake for the kids I take care of, I knew I wanted to do it from scratch and skip the dyes and unknown chemicals in most store-bought baking mixes. I knew I wanted to try to do a play on black and orange but wasn't sure of how I could incorporate the bright orange color into the icing without using any food dyes, which yes, are filled with these toxic colored chemicals. Hmm whats orange in nature? carrots! no kid will want to have grated carrot in their icing, no how could I incorporate it? Carrot Juice! Sweet and easy to find or make I had found my 'dye'. Chocolate is already relatively black but i made it extra dark and used the good stuff, extra dark cocoa powder. So skip the chemicals and start from scratch this halloween. 

Spooky Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Carrot Butter Cream


3/4 cup cocoa powder

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. in a mixing bowl shift together all ingredients. in a separate bowl cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. add eggs one by one. add vanilla. combine dry ingredients slowly and add the sour cream. pour into 12 pre lined cupcake molds, about 3/4 full and bake for about 20 minutes. 

Carrot Butter Cream

3 cups confectioners' sugar

1 cup butter, at room temperature 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoons whipping cream

2 tablespoons carrot juice

Beat confectioners sugar & butter until combine, at least 5 minutes. add remaining ingredients and beat for an additional minute. When cupcakes are cool from the oven, ice the cakes with about 2 tablespoons of frosting.