An invitation to a very last minute Easter Weekend Barbecue set my baking cogs a turning on Saturday. It was weekend so I had the intention to bake something anyway, and having a good reason, and people to actually eat what I was going to make, was just the little kick I needed to get started. In the background of my mind the thoughts had already been processing and contemplating what to do. I was vaguely aware that there were carrots in the fridge which needed using and there was some cream cheese that was crying out to be made into icing. So the decision I had already made was for carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese icing.
I had attempted these little beauties before, but due to the calamity which was me dropping a whole tray of uncooked cupcakes on the floor (yes, they are like buttered toast, they fall face down. Always) I had never really completed them. So it was the perfect time. I don’t often have full cream cream cheese in the house either, but having used some for something else earlier in the week, the big tub of philly made me think of the glorious combination of carrot cake and cream cheese. They do together like rum and raisin, like cranberry and pistachio, like maple and pecan, like strawberry and lime, like… ok. You get the picture I’m sure.
This carrot cake supcake recipe is just stunningly simple. OK, so you do need 2 bowls not 1 bowl, but you don’t even need to crack out the kitchenaid, and I use that baby for everything. Throw stuff in a bowl. Mix. Throw stuff in another bowl. Mix. Throw both bowfuls of stuff together. Mix. Drop in cupcake cases. Bake. Done. Gordon Ramsay would love this one.
I halved the original recipe as it was said to make 24 cupcakes which was a little much for me, but half the mixture still made about 17 cupcakes, but I guess that depends on your carrots and grating and how you pack them. I made a full batch of Cream Cheese icing and used the whole lot. Awesome. I could suck that stuff straight out of the bag. Don’t tell anyone though, it makes me sound weird. I am weird, yes. I try not to advertise it.
There is another bak holiday weekend this weekend. Another 4 whole days. And I don’t have a clue what to do with myself. I am currently crippled so the long runs in the hills are out. Trying not to obsess and get (even more) grumpy about that. Failing. Went to the dentist this morning. She told me to keep sugarey foods to a minimum. Ha! Can’t run, shouldn’t eat cake. What is the point of even living!?
So I took my lovely icing-ed carrot cake cupcakes to neighbour’s barbecue and they were greeted welcomingly. They stayed huddled in my cake stand until after the burgers and salads and guacamole had been consumed, and then they were ceremoniously brought out. Everyone (6 people) had one and when Claire who was sitting next to me bit into hers she mmmmmm-ed. Then she took another bite. Then she asked me if there were carrots in the cupcakes. For a split second I considered saying no, but then worried that she may have some fatal carrot allergy and was about to drop dead unless we rushed her to the emergency room immediately, I told her yes. The caroot cake cupcaked did indeed have carrot in. Then she said she was very sorry, she doesn’t like carrot cake, and handed the remainder of her cake to Kevin who promptly wolfed it down. Hmmm. Doesn’t like carrot cake hey? How would it have gone had I said that there was no trace of carrot in that cake? No comment.
Have some stray carrots, some philly and a bank holiday weekend to fill? Make them. You won’t regret it.
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
From Joy the Baker
makes about 28 cupcakes
What you will need:
4 cups peeled and finely grated carrots3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, well drained
1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger|
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
What to do:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with paper liners. In a bowl, whisk together carrots, eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla seeds, and coconut, pineapple and nuts if desired. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Stir flour mixture into carrot mixture until well combined.
Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until testers inserted into centers come out clean, 23 to 28 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks, 10 minutes. Turn out cupcakes onto wire racks, and let cool completely. Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen for up to 2 months in airtight containers.
Frost cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days
Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
What you will need:
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
8oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
4-6 cups powdered sugar
2-4 tablespoons milk depending on desired consistency
What to do:
Cream the cream cheese in an electric mixer for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl and add the butter, beating for 1-2 minutes, or until incorporated. (Be sure that the two are at room temperature. Cold cream cheese or butter can make your frosting lumpy.) Add the brown sugar, pinch of salt and vanilla extract, and beat until incorporated. Turn off mixer and add 2 cups of powdered sugar. Turn the mixer on a low speed so the sugar doesn’t fly out of the bowl. Slowly add more sugar alternately with the milk until you reach your desired consistency.