I hadn’t heard of carrot cakes/cupcakes until a few years ago. At first, it sounded a bit strange to me…….veggies in a cake ???? Then I remembered our good old Indian “gajar ka halwa” and it made sense to me. Carrots contain more sugar than most vegetables which explains their use in desserts.
I left out the nuts and raisins mentioned in the original recipe since my daughters don’t like them. Nobody in my family is a cinnamon fan, so I reduced the amount of cinnamon too. However, the subtle cinnamon flavor was a refreshing change from all the chocolate & vanilla cakes/cupcakes I have been making lately. The original recipe was for 20 cupcakes. I halved it to get 10.
For the Carrot Cupcakes:
1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
2 large eggs (at room temperature)
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 cup (120 ml) canola oil
1 cups (105 grams) finely grated raw carrots
1/2 cup grated apple (approximately 1 large apples)
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in centre of oven.
2) In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
3) In another large bowl beat the eggs, sugar, and oil until slightly thickened.
4) Gently fold in the flour mixture until incorporated.
5) Fold in the grated carrots and apples.
6) Line a muffin pan with 10 baking cups and evenly divide the batter between them. I have a 12 cup muffin pan , so I filled the 2 remaining ones with some water to avoid burning the bottom.
7) Bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean.
8) Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Beat the butter and cream cheese until very smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until fully incorporated and smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract.
The most enjoyable part for the girls was the decorating one (it always is). Traditionally, carrot cakes or cupcakes are frosted with a base layer of cream cheese frosting and topped with marzipan carrots but Sofia and Aisha had different designs in mind. The cream cheese frosting tasted amazing , however I found it to be too runny for piping. I immediately realised my mistake of buying cream cheese that comes in a tub rather than the more solid block one. However, later, I did some “research” on the Internet to know others’ experiences of piping with cream cheese frosting and most people opined that it’s not really meant for piping. However, some mentioned that it’s possible to make some simple swirls or borders with it. According to them the cream cheese should be softened but still cool when mixing. Some others suggested increasing the sugar (which definitely is not an option for me) whereas yet others suggested decreasing the sugar to make it stiffer ( ????). I plan to try the same recipe with softened but cool block cream cheese to see how it works out for piping. I’m also dying to try out a recipe for cream cheese frosting with white chocolate that I’ve read is both delicious as well as good for piping. If you have a good recipe/tip for piping with cream cheese frosting, please let me know.
Anyways, I somehow managed to make some simple designs on the cupcakes by chilling my frosting in the refrigerator for a while. I iced the cupcakes with a thin layer of the frosting and then used the following tips (all Wilton ones) to make the designs:
For heart : Use tip 12 and pink icing to pipe two side by side elongated beads.
For balloons: Use tip 12 to make green, pink and orange dot balloons . Use tip 3 to make the strings.
For flower: Use tip 12 and orange icing icing to pipe bead flower petals. Use tip 3 and deep orange icing to make the dot centre or simply put an orange M& M candy in the centre (like I did).
For teddy bear: Use tip 12 and pink icing to pipe dot head. Use tip 5 and pink icing to pipe dot ears. Use tip 3 and brown icing to pipe dot eyes, nose and mouth.
For fish: Use tip 12 and orange icing to pipe dot body. Use tip 3 and brown icing to pipe tail, fins, gills and mouth. Use tip 2 and white icing to pipe dot eye and tip 2 and brown icing to pipe dot pupil.
For worms: Use tip 5 and green icing to pipe increasing sizes of dots from tails to head. Use tip 3 and white icing to pipe dot eyes, tip 2 and brown icing to pipe dot pupils, nose and mouth. Repeat for the other worm.
The cutest cupcakes were the ones were the ones which didn’t require any fancy tips , just some sprinkles, candies and the enthusiasm of a five year old and a two year old. It’s a pity that the master cupcake decorators didn’t let me capture their creations before licking up all the frosting.
These cupcakes can be eaten without the frosting for some guilt free pleasure and taste just as delicious . They can be dusted with some confectioners’ sugar for presentation (if you don’t mind the extra sugar).