Trader Joe’s makes chocolate covered sunflower seeds… yes, I know. Amazing right? I knew when I saw them in the store that I had to bake something fun with them. Since spring has officially begun in the DC Metro Area and since I wanted to bake something special to celebrate 3 different friends’ April birthdays, I decided to bake some Carrot Cupcakes w/ Cream Cheese Frosting and Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds.
The carrot cupcake recipe has been adapted from a carrot cake recipe from Cooking Light. The cream cheese frosting is so simple to make, but truly makes these cupcakes delicious. The chocolate covered sunflower seeds are literally the icing on the cake; the salty and sweet combo is amazing and they go so well with the carrot cupcakes. If you don’t have Trader Joe’s near you, I’ve seen chocolate covered sunflower seeds at Marshall’s while waiting in the checkout line. These little guys are delicious and are great to bake with or to snack on.
I hope you have a wonderful and blessed Easter!
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups grated carrot
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple, drained
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup chocolate covered sunflower seeds (via Trader Joe’s)
- Preheat oven to 350° and place 18 muffin cup liners in cupcake pan.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add 2 cups grated carrot, tossing to combine.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat sugars and butter until combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla and crushed pineapple.
- Add flour mixture and beat until smooth.
- With a cookie scoop, spoon batter into cupcake tins until level with the brim. Bake at 350° for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake completely on a wire rack.
- To prepare frosting, place softened cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a medium bowl and beat at medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at medium speed until combined (don’t over beat). Add more confectioner’s sugar if too thin.
- Pipe frosting on top of cupcakes and sprinkle with chocolate covered sunflower seeds.
*Adapted from Cooking Light