Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Carrot cupcakes and cream cheese frosting

It was L's birthday last week and I wanted to bake something for his wonderful staff.  You see, last year was a rough year for him initially.  That was until he went looking for greener pastures and some of his staff members and a good friend joined him.  They are wonderful people, who contributed largely to the rest of his year being so much better.  A little bit of cake went their way as a small token of thanks.  And of course it is always nice to share in a bit of birthday magic.

It is never easy for me to decide what to bake.  I have a million recipes (well, L does say that I can exaggerate, but not sure I am though) floating through my head and finding THE ONE is always a bit of a mental tug of war.  It was my sister who helped me out by casually suggesting carrot cake.  It always seems to be a winner and why not.  
Well, it did go down a treat, especially the icing and therefor a post is required, as the recipe was requested.  I love it when that happens.  Love to spread cake happiness around.

This is the sort of recipe that needs to be shared, as it is so easy-peasy.  And it takes hardly any time to prepare and leaves you with very little washing-up to do.  Best of all, it is light and moist and not too rich either. 

Carrot Cake (From Leiths Baking Bible)

Cook's note:  the recipe calls for pecan nuts, but I have substituted it with macadamias and blanched almonds before.

250ml sunflower oil
4 eggs
225g light brown sugar
140g carrots, peeled and finely grated
225g self-raising flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
140g pecan nuts, chopped

45g unsalted butter, softened
170g full-fat cream cheese
300g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
lemon juice to taste

Heat the oven to 180°C.  Line 12 muffin tins with cupcake wrappers.
In a bowl, stir together the oil, eggs, sugar and carrots.
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and ginger into a large bowl.
Fold the 2 mixtures together, then fold in the walnuts.
Divide between the 2 tins and bake in the centre of the oven for 12 - 15 minutes or until the cake spring back when pressed lightly in the centre.
Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes in the tin, then turn out and cool completely.

To make the icing, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.  It is really important to beat well.  You are after a smooth, almost fluffy mixture.  Sift the icing sugar over the top and stir in.  Flavour with vanilla and lemon juice.

Pipe onto cooled cakes with large star tip.

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