Apple Carrot Cupcake

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INGREDIENTS

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil (light olive oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil)
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups packed coarsely grated carrots (about 3 medium)
1 1/2 cups packed coarsely grated tart apples, such as Granny Smith (about 2 medium)
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (or walnuts)

5 ounce fresh, mild chèvre (goat cheese), at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cups powdered sugar

METHOD

1 Preheat oven to 350° and place rack in the center of the oven.

2 In a large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, spices, cocoa, pepper, and salt. Whisk to combine, then stir in oil and eggs. Stir in carrots, apples, and pecans.

3 Set aluminum or paper cupcake holders in muffin tins. Spoon the batter into the cupcake paper cups, three-quarters of the way to the top. Bake approximately 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

4 Beat goat cheese, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar and mix until combined.
Once cupcakes are cool, apply frosting.

Makes 24 to 28 cupcakes.