Friday, April 3, 2015


by Sheila Connolly

Easter to me brings back memories of the heady smell of chocolate (eggs, bunnies, and a lot of other forms) combined with Easter lilies. My parents used to hide paper eggs, large and small, filled with candy and other goodies, around the living room (never outside—which is why some of those paper eggs have survived!) and my sister and I would scramble to find them behind the furniture. If we survived the sugar rush and sat down to dinner, I have no clue what the menu was there. Isn’t chocolate enough?

This particular recipe includes carrots, which makes it even more appropriate for Easter. And since my husband and I do not need to consume a dozen or more cupcakes each, we thought we’d share with our bunnies (they're mostly our daughter’s, but one of them is mine—he followed me home from Malice Domestic last year!).

It's a bunny party!

Chocolate Carrot Cupcakes


I had a helper (that's Dexter)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups finely shredded carrots (about 4 medium carrots)
1 6-oz. package semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease your baking pans (even if they’re non-stick—the chocolate chips tend to stick to the pan even when the batter doesn’t).

In a large bowl, cream the butter, oil and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and beat until smooth.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix until well blended.

This was really yummy--I licked the bowl (after)

Stir in the shredded carrots and chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the pans, filling about 3/4 full. (Since the batter is sticky, it’s easiest to use a scoop or even a measuring cup to keep them consistent.) Bake 20-25 minutes or until the sides of the cakes begin to pull away. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool on a wire rack.


1-1/3 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
2 3-oz packages cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 Tblsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla

Beat all the ingredients in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.

Spread the frosting on top of the cupcakes and garnish. (This is a really tasty recipe--you could use it for a lot of things.)


I was aiming for an Easter egg look, so my cupcakes are round, kind of. I also sprinkled them with little ducks and chicks. The rabbits seemed happy with them.

My antique candy mold

Since I'm right between book releases, I thought I'd tell you about this cookbook from Mystery Writers of America, released just last month by Quirk Books. I have a recipe in it, as do MLK pals Lucy Burdette and Daryl Wood Gerber, plus a lot of friends who have been guests here in the past--and a lot of authors whose names you will recognize! I'm particularly fond of Lee Child's contribution, the last in the book, titled "Coffee, Pot of One."

You can find it at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, or in a local bookstore (check Indiebound for your nearest one).


  1. The cupcakes look so yummy! Thank you for the recipe. :)

  2. You're welcome, Jen! It's a good general recipe, and the carrots kind of melt away but still keep the cupcakes moist. And the frosting is good enough to eat with a spoon!

  3. So how many of the cupcakes did those hungry bunnies gobble up?

    Love Dexter helping. My Sunny always wants to help, no matter what I'm doing. But somehow, it's never quite as exciting as she hoped. Probably because there are no mice involved.

    These are a wonderful compromise between chocolate candy and dessert. They look yummy!

    1. I refuse to comment on the grounds that it may incriminate me (there are still a few left).

  4. Yes, this recipe sounds very good! I never would have thought about chocolate carrot cake...

  5. A marvelous idea. The best of both.
    Those are lucky bunnies to get such pretty cupcakes.

  6. Carrot cake is hard enough to resist, but chocolate carrot cake?? Yum.

  7. The cupcakes look delightful, Sheila, and I am pleased that you have Dexter as an assistant. The little furball seems quite engaged in helping!

    ~ Cleo