Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
I used to make alot of carrot cakes (a good 20 years ago at least) and I tried many different versions to get the right texture and flavour. It came down to grated carrot versus cooked carrot and I must say that cooked carrot won hands down. I also tried a variety of additions – coconut, sultana’s (raisins), pineapple and even pureed apple – but they were not for me. So I came up with this recipe because, aside from a nice hint of cinnamon, it is plain and it allows the carrot to really shine. It also gave me an excuse to eat cream cheese frosting, which was the real reason I started making carrot cakes in the first place.
Whilst a whole carrot cake is very nice, I find the cupcake version almost irresistable and more importantly the ratio of cream cheese frosting to cake is so much higher. They are also quite picturesque and would make a splendid addition to your picnic basket if you are planning to escape to the countryside – or in our case, the park.
They are simple and they are sweet and if you like carrot cake, you will love these – I promise, right from the bottom of my cream cheese loving heart.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup canola oil
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup shelled walnuts, chopped
2 1/2 cups pureed cooked carrots
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
1/2 cup walnuts peices for the top
Preheat oven to 350 & place small cupcake cases into muffin tins.
Peel and cook carrots until a fork easily can be poked in to them. Drain and mash while still warm with a fork or a potato masher, keeping a little texture. Set aside 2 cups.
Sift dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk to combine. Add oil, eggs and vanilla. Beat for about 2 minutes. Fold in walnuts and carrots. Pour equal amounts of batter into each cupcake case – filling to 2/3′s. Set in the middle of the oven and bake for about 15 minutes for small cupcakes and 25 for medium sized cupcakes or until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let sit in the pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack and cool completely. When cool spread the cream cheese frosting on top followed by a sprinkle of chopped walnuts or a walnut half. Alternatively you can pipe the icing but I prefer the rustic look of spread frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
(this amount will allow a very healthy spread of cream cheese on your cupcakes)
16 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/3 cup cream
4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Cream together cream cheese, vanilla and cream. Slowly stir in sifted confectioners sugar and continue beating until incorporated and light and fluffy.
Notes: This recipe should make around 40 mini cupcakes or 25 medium sized cupcakes