Chocolate Praline Cream Cheese Frosting

I had a craving for carrot cake cupcakes (the only way I like carrots!) but I also really wanted a hit of chocolate, so I’ve updated my earlier recipe with a tasty alteration. This praline cream cheese frosting will go on more baked goods, too.

Check out the original recipe for the cupcakes here HERE.

I replace 2 teaspoons of the vanilla extract with 2 teaspoons of Praline Liquor. It really raises the frosting to the next level, with a heady perfume of pecans.

These updated carrot cake cupcakes are very, very good.

Chocolate Praline Cream CheeseFrosting

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
½ cup good quality cocoa (I used Droste)
4 teaspoons vanilla extract (or substitute 2 teaspoons Praline liquor)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans

Add all ingredients, except nuts, into a medium bowl and beat until fluffy. Stir in the nuts. Spread frosting on top of each cupcake after it has cooled.

Very Chocolate Cupcakes

It is that time of the month and I’m craving chocolate and cake. But mainly chocolate. These cupcakes have the chocolate kicked up – first, by making a slurry of cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate and coffee you get an intense taste of chocolate. The recipe also calls for bread flour as its added gluten development means more chocolate can be added than in a cupcake with all-purpose or cake flour (hat tip to America’s Test Kitchen for that trick). For even more flavor, I added cacao nibs to the cupcake batter and used Creme de Cacao instead of vanilla in the frosting.

cupcakes

Very Chocolate Cupcakes

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Ghiradelli)
1/3 cup high quality Dutch processed cocoa (I used Droste)
1 cup brewed coffee, hot
3/4 cup bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cacao nibs (optional)

Place cocoa and chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Pour coffee over and let stand 5 minutes before whisking. Mix until smooth and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. Stir in sugar.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cooled chocolate, vegetable oil and eggs over medium low speed. Add in vinegar and vanilla and mix well. Add in the flour sugar mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in cacao nibs, if using.

Divide batter evenly among the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely before frosting, about one hour.

 

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup good quality cocoa powder
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon Creme de Cacao (or vanilla extract)

Sift together cocoa powder and powdered sugar – this step is important as it gets rid of any lumps in the sugar. Combine the butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer and mix until smooth. Reduce the speed to low and add in the cocoa and powdered sugar. Add Creme de Cacao and mix well.

Frost cupcakes. This recipe can easily frost 18 cupcakes, so you can be very generous with the 12 of the above recipe.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I bought the smallest bag of carrots I could find in the grocery store for a stew I was making and still had plenty left over. I had enough to make a carrot cake. As what I like best about carrot cake is the cream cheese frosting, I decided to make cupcakes so I could get lots of frosting per bite.

cupcakes

If you want to kick it up a notch, replace 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract with 2 teaspoons of Praline Liquor.

Carrot Cake

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Frosting:

  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar
  • 4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add eggs and vegetable oil. Using a mixer, blend until combined. Add carrots and pecans.

Pour into pans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pans, place on racks and allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

Add all ingredients, except nuts, into a medium bowl and beat until fluffy. Stir in the nuts. Spread frosting on top of each cupcake.