the sweet bee sting

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Carrot Cupcakes for a Birthday
5:23 PM

carrot cake 10Holy carrot cakes, Batman!

carrot cake 1 carrot cake 2Yesterday a friend and coworker of mine had a birthday, and after having settled on carrot cake a month or so ago, I realized that I had never actually attempted to make carrot cake, nor did I have any recipes to go on. Luckily, my old faithful index of all things good in cookery had one that sounded pretty good, so I set about grating carrots and measuring spices.

carrot cake 3carrot cake 4Guess what I remembered halfway through?

carrot cake 5
Grating is a pain in the dupa [it’s Polish, go look it up!], especially when you grate a knuckle off in the process, but I digress…

carrot cake 6I like carrot cake, as long as the carrot bits aren't too big and chewy, which is why I opted to grate the carrots instead of chopping them in the food processor. Plus the notion of carrot cake being exceptionally popular in Britain during WWII due to sugar rationing has always struck my inner thrifty-mom-type. In my opinion, that counts for extra points.

carrot cake 7carrot cake 8After warring with the box grater for the better part of a half hour, the batter came together very easily. The next step was frosting. My friend requested something not so sweet, so I decided to take the traditional cream cheese frosting and cut it with nearly a cup of Greek yogurt and leave out some of the sugar.

carrot cake 9I have to admit, I was thrilled with the frosting. While it doesn’t set well like a regular butter cream or cream cheese frosting, the taste entirely made up for it. I had enough left over for another dozen cupcakes or so, but if I had frosted them a bit more generously then there wouldn’t have been much left over, so I’m keeping my original measurements the same in the recipe below. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

carrot cake 11Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yields 24 cupcakes, or one 9 inch two-layer cake

I changed a few things around in the recipe, but nothing that was life-changing by any means. I nixed the raisins and swapped white sugar for a lesser amount of brown, for more depth of flavor. I was about a carrot short of making the 3 cups mark, and I also didn’t have enough oil [shame on me] and instead substituted a half of a cup of melted butter, so I’m going to list the ingredients exactly the way I used them. I also would have liked to put the walnuts in, but didn’t have any at home, but I would recommend adding a cup of chopped walnuts or so.

2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
pinch of ground cloves
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar, light or dark
3/4 cups canola oil
1/2 cup of melted unsalted butter
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups of peeled, grated carrots

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners, or coat with non-stick cooking spray.

Grab that grater and start working on those carrots. Be careful! In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt and spices together. In another large bowl beat the sugar, oil and melted butter together. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, until mixture is well blended. Add the flour to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Add in the grated carrots, chopped walnuts and/or raisins if you choose to add them.

Fill the muffin tins 3/4 of the way full and bake the cupcake for 14 to 18 minutes. Mine took a little bit longer, about 20 minutes to be exact. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack until they are completely cooled.

Cream Cheese Frosting

The yogurt gives this frosting a nice tang and cuts through some of the sweetness. While it wasn’t very stiff, and therefore not ideal for piping, it tasted incredibly good!

12 oz of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt
1/2 stick of butter, softened
1 1/2 cups of confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Put all ingredients into a large bowl. Using a whisk or electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy. Alternately you could do the same in a food processor. [My frosting looks a little lumpy because I forgot to set the butter out to soften and was sort of pressed for time.]

Chill the frosting for about 20 minutes before topping the cupcakes. I piped the frosting on for a more even layer, but using a butter knife or offset spatula would work just as well and leave less of a mess to clean up I imagine any leftover frosting would stay good in an airtight container in the fridge for about 2 weeks or so.



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