Hey everyone! I can’t believe that the Easter weekend is already upon us. It feels like only a week ago we were celebrating Valentine’s day. How time flies. This year, I’m sure, is a particularly strange Easter. Even though the stores were stocked with chocolate bunnies and eggs from the beginning of March, COVID-19 has meant that our usual celebrations have all had to change. We usually have a big brunch on Easter, complete with an elaborate hunt around the garden for chocolate left by the Easter Bunny himself. We may not be having a brunch this year, because lockdown is still intact and it’s social distancing instead of social gatherings, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to enjoy the same delicious treats. Hot cross buns, scones, fresh fruit, croissants and carrot cake are usually part of our spread, and for me, nothing is more Eastery (apart from the chocolate eggs and such) than fresh carrot cake with cream cheese icing. The warm spices combined with the fresh carrots, the flavour from the raisins and walnuts and the silky sweet icing is just too mouth-watering to resist. So this weekend, to make things feel a little more festive while we’re all stuck inside, I’m making carrot cupcakes for everyone. I don’t really have a taste preference between the two but I prefer making cupcakes for groups of people because then you don’t have to worry about evenly slicing up a cake. Each person gets their own mini cake. If you’re looking for something to bake this weekend and have some carrots lying around, why not try out this recipe? I promise it is delicious and well worth the effort.
250ml sunflower/canola oil
225g light brown sugar
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
100g lightly toasted walnuts
275g self-raising flour
1 tsp ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
Pinch of salt
Cream cheese Icing Ingredients
100g softened butter
250g cream cheese (softened and at room temperature)
400g icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Making the cupcakes
First things first, switch on your oven at 180 degrees Celsius. The setting I usually use is top and bottom with the fan for a more even heat distribution but you’ll know which setting is best for baking in your oven.
Unlike in most cupcake recipes where you first combine all the dry ingredients, in this recipe we start out with the wet. Start off by pouring the oil into a large mixing bowl and then cracking in the three eggs.
Add in the sugar and the vanilla extract and then mix it together. You can use a mixer but for this recipe I do it by hand. Mix it until it looks lighter and is noticeably thicker.
Now it’s time to get to the main part of this cake – the carrots. Start off by rinsing your carrots and then slicing the ends off. Once that’s done, grab a grater and finely grate them onto a tray or into a bowl.
This step may sound strange, but trust me it’s crucial. Fresh ingredients like fruits and vegetables have a lot of moisture in them from their natural juices and this can mess with your batter when it’s in the oven. So, place your grated carrots into a clean tea/dish towel, and ring out all the juice into a bowl.
Fold the now juice-free carrots into your mixture. When that’s done, chop up your walnuts and stir in both that and the raisins. If you’re baking for people with allergies, taking the nuts and raisins out won’t make a difference to the batter or baking. I just like to add them in because they make the texture of the cupcake more fun.
Next, measure out your flour and slowly sift it into the bowl.
Add in the spices and the salt, and then gently stir until all the ingredients are combined. After this, your batter is done and ready for baking.
Now it is time to spoon your mixture into your muffin pan. Some people prefer to grease the inside of the muffin tray but I prefer using cupcake holders/paper cases because it’s so much easier to remove the cupcakes from the tray and they are less messy to handle and eat. The best way to measure out the batter into the cases is to use the magical tool known as an ice cream scoop. It gets the perfect amount in and it’s so easy to use because you don’t have to struggle with alternating tablespoons and risk messing all over the place.
When your batter is ready in the cases, place your cupcakes in the oven and bake them for about 15 minutes. Baking time can vary depending on the oven so be sure to watch them and you’ll know they’re done when the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave your cupcakes to cool down completely before you ice them.
Making the icing
- Now is my favourite part – making the deliciously sweet cream cheese icing and it is super simple to make. Make sure that your butter and cream cheese are softened properly, because trying to make icing with cold, hard cream cheese is next to impossible.
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and then mix them together well. You can use an electric mixer but it is easy enough to do by hand. Mix until it is all combined and you’ve beaten all the lumps out of the cream cheese.
Put it all together
When your cupcakes are cool and your icing is ready, it’s time to put it all together. You can use a piping bag if you’d like, or just spoon the icing onto the cupcakes depending on what you’d like. On this occasion, I used a spoon and a knife to just get a nice even blob of frosting on each cupcake.
Once that’s done, your cupcakes are ready to be eaten. Just for fun, I topped them with these white chocolate carrots I made. You can top your delicious desserts with orange zest, orange peel, powdered cinnamon, or even little Easter decorations like speckled eggs or baby chicks. When you feel your cupcakes are decorated appropriately, it’s time to enjoy!
I hope that you all enjoyed this recipe. It’s one of my long-time favourites and never fails to put a smile on my face, as well as my whole family because they eat them so fast it’s almost as if I never made them. Thank you all so much for reading – if you enjoyed the post then please don’t forget to hit that little like button and subscribe so you don’t miss out on future blog posts. If you try out this recipe, please let me know how it turns out in the comments section and also please let me know if there are any other recipes you’d like me to do or posts you want me to write. I’d love to hear your suggestions. Otherwise, I hope you have a great Easter Weekend if you celebrate it, and otherwise just a great weekend.
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx