1 July 2013

Nigella Challenge: Carrot Cupcakes w/ Cream Cheese Icing

I am a firm believer in carrot cake. It has its purpose - bearer of cream cheese icing. Yes, I only really eat the stuff so I can eat the icing! And it contains vegetables so I can pretend its a healthier cake option (Lies. All lies!)

That aside, these are very easy to whip up and can be done at short notice. I've never met a set of tastebuds that didn't like them!

  • 100g brown sugar
  • 175ml oil (use a seed or vegetable oil like sunflower or rice bran)
  • 2 eggs
  • 225g plain flour
  • 3/4 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • zest 1/2 a lemon
  • zest 1/2 an orange
  • 150g carrots, grated (this is about 2 larger ones)
  • 100g walnuts, roughy chopped
Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease a 12-hole muffin tray or pop in some patty cases.

Beat the sugar and oil together (I've done this with an electric mixer, and also by hand with much the same result and minimal effort). Add eggs one at a time. It will all come together, and turn a paler colour.

Add flour, bicarb, cinnamon, and zests. Fold in the carrot and nuts. Don't over mix, or like muffins, you'll end up with tough cakes. We want it light and just incorporated!

Spoon evenly into the tray and bake 20 minutes until they're risen and spring back when lightly touched on top. Remove cupcakes to cool on a wire rack and cover with a tea towel while you do the icing.

For the icing you will need:
  • 125g cream cheese (the block, not spreadable)
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 1-2 tsp lime or lemon juice (or 1 tsp of vanilla essence if fancy)
  • 12 walnut halves (optional for decorating, you could just finely chop some and sprinkle over as well)
Beat the cream cheese in the small bowl of an electric mixer at medium speed until softened and smooth. Slowly add the icing sugar (mixer on a low setting - we don't want an icing sugar mushroom cloud). Once its incorporated, turn up the mixer to medium speed and add the juice (or vanilla).

When the cupcakes are cool, slap on the icing. No technique is needed, just use a butter or palette knife to smooth it over and then top with walnuts.