Carrot cake, originally from Western Europe (exactly where is disputed) has quickly become one of the most popular cakes in the nation. It originated in the middle ages where sugar was scarce, as a result, some cooks got creative and started using carrots as a sweetener.
Self-raising flour is all-purpose flour combined with leaving agents that let the batter rise in the oven. Combined with baking powder and air as a result of sifting, your cupcakes should rise beautifully.
The spices I use are cinnamon (1 tsp), salt (1tsp), ground cardamom (1/2 tsp), ground nutmeg (1/2 tsp), ground allspice (1/4 tsp), and ground ginger (1/4 tsp). They give a nice piquant to a dish while keeping it seasonal and delicious.
We use brown sugar because it tastes far better than regular granulated or caster sugar. The brown sugar will also leave a really nice color on the cake, so if you prefer a darker, richer batter, use darker sugar.
Butter gets combined with the brown sugar to form a really smooth, thick paste which will help keep the cakes fluffy.
The eggs should be added individually so they’re combined into the batter evenly.
Orange zest gives a really nice tanginess to the cupcakes. Be careful not to grate into the white part of the peel because that’s bitter, and will throw the sweetness of the cupcake off.
Carrots are sweet vegetables, so they’re perfect for a dessert. Grate them finely for a carrot cake so the flavor and sugars distribute as efficiently as possible.
Walnuts & sultans are optionally but I highly recommend using them, they add great texture and flavor to the dish. Feel free to use other nuts or dried fruits like pecans or dried pineapple, it gives the cake a fantastic twist.
How to Make Carrot Cake
Preheat your oven on the fan setting to 350°F and measure out all your ingredients beforehand. Do all your tasks like combining the spices and melting the butter beforehand so you’re not struggling to do anything in the thick of it.
Beat the brown sugar and melted butter together in a bowl for 4-5 minutes until it forms a nice thick paste. Whisk in the vanilla, orange zest, and the eggs (one at a time) then beat until smooth.
Sift in the flour, salt, baking powder, and spices then whisk all the ingredients to form a smooth batter followed by folding in the crushed walnuts and saltans.
Prep the cupcake tray by lining it with the cupcake cases, then use a dessert spoon to fill each one 2/3 of the way up. Bake the cupcakes on a middle rack until an inserted skewer comes out clean then take them out of the oven and let them cool completely before frosting them.
How to Make Cream Cheese Icing
Cream cheese icing is delicious and one of the easiest to make. Use 250 grams or around 2 cups of cream cheese, 1/3 of a cup or around 75 grams of softened butter, 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (which is optional), and a touch of sea salt for flavor.
Beat the cream cheese, butter, salt, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until fluffy, creamy, and pale. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the side of the bowl then add one cup of the powdered sugar and use an electric mixer to combine. Gradually add the rest of the powdered sugar until the icing has a really thick consistency. The thick consistency is important because the icing needs to hold its shape after you pipe it onto the muffins.
Snip the corner off a piping bag (or zip lock bag if you don’t have piping bags) and fill them with the icing. Don’t overfill the bag otherwise, the icing will push out through the top making a huge mess.
200g/1 ½ cups Self-raising Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
½ tsp Ground Cardamom
¼ tsp Ground Nutmeg
¼ tsp Ground Allspice
¼ tsp Ground Ginger
½ cup Butter, Melted
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla
2 Oranges, Zested
3 Carrots, Grated
½ cup Crushed Walnuts
½ cup Sultans
Cream Cheese Icing:
250g Cream Cheese
60g Butter, Softened
3 cups Powdered Sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Beat the melted butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl, then whisk in the orange zest, vanilla extract, and each egg individually.
- Sift in the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices then use a whisk to combine them into a thick batter.
- Fold the carrots, nuts, and sultans into the batter then distribute the cupcake cases in the muffin tray.
- Bake the muffins until an inserted skewer comes out clean then remove them from the oven to cool down all the way.
- Meanwhile, in a separate bowl use an electric mixer to beat the softened butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and salt until smooth and pale.
- Add the powdered sugar and beat with the mixer one cup at a time until it thickens and forms stiff peaks.
- Cut the tip-off a piping bag, fill with the cream cheese frosting, and decorate the cupcakes.