Alexander Turns Eight: Carrot Cupcakes

This year, my young friend Alexander had his birthday party at a George Washington University men's soccer game. Party guests assembled on a patio next to the soccer field to enjoy pizza and dessert before moving over to the bleachers to watch the Colonials take the field against St. Peter's.

I had suggested to Alexander's mother Dorothy that cupcakes would be a good idea for this setup, to eliminate the need to slice and serve cake. Alexander still hates chocolate and he requested carrot cupcakes and strawberry cupcakes. For the strawberry cupcakes, I returned to the same strawberry shortcake cupcake recipe I used a few weeks earlier when Alexander's brother Liam had a party for his fifth birthday. Taster reactions to those cupcakes was so overwhelmingly positive that I figured I should stick with a proven winner.

For the carrot cupcakes,  I decided to try a new recipe: Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Icing. The cupcakes are easy. You mix together oil, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and grated carrots, and then stir in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg). You pour the batter into paper-lined cupcake tins and bake.

Although the cupcake recipe includes an orange glaze, I couldn't resist using cream cheese frosting instead -- I absolutely adore the cream cheese frosting that goes along with these pumpkin-raisin bars, and I use it for both carrot cake and red velvet cake. I piped on the frosting and decorated the cupcakes to go along with the soccer theme for the party -- green sprinkles to evoke grass, and plastic soccer balls on top (it's difficult to tell from the photo below, but the cupcake liners are also soccer themed).
I transported all of the cupcakes to the party in two cupcake couriers, but I brought along a small platter so that I could assemble a small group of cupcakes with candles that could serve as a stand-in for a birthday cake.

Both the carrot cupcakes and the strawberry cupcakes were enthusiastically received by kids and parents alike. I thought that the carrot cupcakes were amazing. The cake was so moist and tender with just the perfect touch of spice and a tremendous amount of flavor -- this is definitely going to be my go-to carrot cupcake from now on. And the cream cheese frosting was a fantastic rich and creamy complement.

Alexander's reaction surprised me. Carrot cake is -- or at least has been until now -- his unequivocal favorite. He has requested (and received) a carrot cake on his birthday for each of the past four years. But he tasted both flavors and told me that he preferred the strawberry cupcake. Maybe at the ripe old age of eight, his tastes are maturing -- the next thing you know, he might be telling me that he likes chocolate!

The Colonials might have been shut out that day, but these carrot cupcakes were a huge win!

Recipe: "Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Icing" from

Previous Alexander Birthday Coverage: Alexander Turns Seven (Fraisier); Six (Carrot Cake); Five (Carrot Cake); Four (Red Velvet Cupcakes and Brownies); Three (Red Velvet Cake and Salted Brownies); and Two (Restaurant Eve Cake).