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Spiced Carrot Cupcakes

Autumn and winter are without a doubt my favourite seasons for baking. When the weather turns dreary and cold and the rain sets in, there is nothing better than getting cosy and creative in a warm kitchen. If I had to pick one cake flavour that I associate most with autumn, it’s definitely carrot cake; the inclusion of a harvest vegetable in the recipe firmly places carrot cake in the latter months of the year and the mixed spices subtly allude to the festive season ahead. Last week I spent a couple of days experimenting with recipes for carrot cake and, after a little bit of tweaking and perfecting, I’ve finally finished putting this recipe together. If you’re having some friends or family over soon and you’re thinking that it’s still a little early to be serving mince pies and gingerbread, then these cupcakes are the perfect quick and easy autumnal treat!

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Ingredients

  • 175g dark brown sugar
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 Β½ tsp mixed spice
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 eggs
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 200g grated carrot

For the topping:

  • 300g icing sugar
  • 50g softened butter
  • 125g cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • A handful of chopped walnuts

 

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180oC/160 fan/gas mark 4 and place 12 muffin cases into a muffin tin. In a large mixing bowl (I use a food mixer), combine the sugar, flour, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice and orange zest. Add the eggs, olive oil and grated carrot and mix thoroughly. Distribute the mixture evenly between the 12 cases and bake for 20-25 minutes (until a metal skewer poked into a cake comes out clean). Remove the cakes from the oven and leave them on a metal rack until completely cool.

Sift the icing sugar into a large mixing bowl, add the butter and beat on a slow-medium speed until the sugar is a pale yellow colour and there are no lumps. Add all of the cream cheese and vanilla essence in one go and mix until all of the ingredients are well combined. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and beat until the icing is light and fluffy – this should take around 5 minutes, but be careful not to overbeat the mixture as it will quickly become runny. Scoop the icing into a piping bag and pipe a delicate swirl onto each cupcake using a star nozzle. Top each cupcake with a sprinkle of chopped walnuts and enjoy!

 

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