4 ounces cream cheese, softened and at room temperature
1⁄2 teaspoon lemon zest
Juice of 1⁄2 a lemon
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1⁄2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons whole milk
1⁄4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3⁄4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup toasted and chopped walnuts
For Carrot Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Use a cooking spray to spray your cupcake molds.
Combine all the dry ingredients, and combine all the wet ingredients, stirring well to ensure a proper mixing
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and use a spatula to fold together, being sure not to over mix
Use a portion scoop or a spoon to fill the cupcake molds three-quarters full with the cake batter. Place the molds in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven, allow to cool.
While the cakes cool, prepare your cream cheese filling. Place all the ingredients for the cream cheese filling into a medium size bowl, and using a whisk, beat until well incorporated and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
Place the filling into a pastry bag with a round tip and poke the top of each cupcake with the tip and push down towards the center of the cupcake. Squeeze a bit of the filling into the cupcake as you draw the pastry bag away. Some cream cheese should be visible on top of the cupcake. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes and cream cheese filling and set aside.
For the Brown Sugar Glaze
In a small saucepan combine the butter, light brown sugar and milk. Bring to a simmer, whisking frequently and cook until the sugar is dissolved, a minute or two. Remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes.
Add the vanilla extract, followed by the powdered sugar 1⁄4 cup at a time, whisking vigorously, until you reach your desired consistency. The icing will start to firm up quickly so have the cake cooled and ready. Drizzle the icing over the cake and immediately sprinkle with the nuts. The icing will set in a matter of minutes.