entertainingfoodFood & Drinkin the kitchen withkristina gillrecipes

in the kitchen with: studio olivine

by Grace Bonney

I have admitted some of my obsessions here before, and here’s another: Carrot Cake. Like the perfect chocolate cake, I am always in pursuit of the perfect carrot cake. Equally as important as the crumb, though, is the frosting. I often use one recipe for the cake and another for the frosting, mixing and matching for maximum enjoyment. Until recently, the recipe for carrot cake from the Tate Modern Café was the best one I had, published in the British food publication Waitrose Food Illustrated. Will the recipe submitted by Julie Dutton from Studio Olivine for carrot cake cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting dethrone the Tate Modern? I’ll report back at another date. In the meantime, try it and let us know if it hits the spot in your home! –Kristina

About Julie: Julie Dutton is the owner of Studio Olivine. A letterpress printer + illustrator by day and cat wrangler by night, she enjoys vocabulary, boggle and finding out where trite phrases originated. Her four cats are proof that she thinks animals are far better companions than people. She loves her play job where filling her every creative whim is a daily affair. Julie counts her lucky stars that she gets paid to create and do what she loves. Julie lives with her husband and aforementioned felines in SE Portland. [Click HERE and HERE for sneak peeks into Julie’s home and studio!]

CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!

Carrot Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 12 cupcakes.

¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 ½ cups grated carrots (be sure to grate finely so it doesn’t all sink to the bottom of the cupcake)
¼ cup pecans, chopped
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
4 ½ ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
¼ cup maple syrup
12 pecan halves


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake holders.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars and oil until they are combined. Add the two eggs one at a time and mix until combined. Add the vanilla extract.

Sift all the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix. Add the grated carrots and pecans.

Divide the batter between the cupcake holders and bake for around 15 minutes or until springy to touch. Allow to cool.

For the frosting, mix cream cheese, butter, confectioner’s sugar and maple syrup until creamy. Spoon the icing onto the cupcakes and place the pecan halves on top.

Why Julie chose this recipe:

I have loved carrot cake since I was a little girl. I favor this recipe because it has the perfect amount of nutmeg and a generous amount of carrot. I like to spice up the typical cream cheese frosting for this recipe and add some maple to it. Delicious.

Suggested For You


  • I love carrot cake as well and am looking forward to trying out this recipe! Have you tried the recipe in the Southern Living cookbook? It has a buttermilk glaze, and a delicious frosting. Definitely my favorite carrot cake thus far. If you haven’t tried it and want the recipe, feel free to shoot me an email and I’ll get it to you.

  • I love Studio Olivine. I buy Julie’s work all the time. And carrot cake is the best. I think I’ll try it when the carrots in my kitchen garden are ready later this summer. They are yellow, orange, red and purple!

  • i looooove carrot cake too! i’m too afraid to make one though. i don’t think i want to know if i have such powers to make something so delicious with my own hands, lol. i just resort to grabbing one of the mini ones from trader joe’s freezer section from time to time. they are to die for.

  • I got to the end of the part calling for carrots and realized I had none! I substituted the 1.5 C of canned pumpkin for the carrots and added 5 minutes of additional bake time. They turned out wonderfully!

  • I got to the end of the part calling for carrots and realized I had none! I substituted 1.5 C of canned pumpkin for the carrots and added 5 minutes of additional bake time. They turned out wonderfully!

  • L, clever! I will have to try it with the pumpkin!

    Jeff, the cake plate is from Anthropolgie, but it was a couple of years ago, so I am not sure if they still have it. I love it too!

  • I just had a go at this and it has turned out quite nicely. I halved the sugar – because I know american recipes always tend to be a little too sweet for my aussie palette – they are lovely!

  • hey Kristina! wonderful recipe! do you by any chance have that recipe from tate modern? the link doesnt work to either three layer cake or the waitrose illustrated. . :(( and i love that recipe to bits too. will try this new one of yours

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