Thursday, February 10, 2011

Carrot Cake CupCakes

Deliciously alliterative and just plain delicious, Carrot Cake CupCakes as promised. Now, on the whole I am not a cupcake kind of gal. Why have something miniature when you can have it FULL SIZE?? I also think that they are often used as a blind for crap baking - cover bland plain sponge with 3 inches of horrid butter icing and maybe no one will notice its rubbishness because it is all pretty and shiny. However, I can appreciate that, on occasion, they pack an effective aesthetic punch, particularly when the cake is exciting and the icing is cream cheese icing (the only kind of icing I find palatable, nay, delicious). I went for dinner at a friend's earlier in the week and decided that CCCCs were a yummy and attractive way to show my appreciation. It was an idea I had been rolling around my head for a while and it worked out really well.

I used a slightly adapted Jamie Oliver recipe (here) and, apart from them needing a slightly ridiculous amount of time in the oven [this is a recurring theme - also possible that my student oven is just le crap], they were great! Dense and rich with a really full, rounded flavour. I picked the recipe partially on the basis that he uses a good blend of spices, not just cinnamon. Anyway, I thought they were excellent. This was the only photo I got!

Ingredients: (Makes 15 cupcakes)
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 150g butter
  • 150g light brown sugar
  • zest and juice of 2 oranges - I love orange in cakes so I upped Jamie's suggestion.
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • a pinch of mixed spice
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 250g carrot, grated
  • 300g cream cheese - sure, do make 100g of this mascarpone if you feel so inclined, it would be great but I think this is fine and still delicious. N.B. Own brand cream cheese is not really equivalent to Philadelphia - I find that when you whisk it goes very wet and you have to pour it rather than ice properly (see photo).
  • 85g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  1. Preheat oven to 180oC. Pop your muffin cases (holds more cake, obv) in your tin.
  2. In a large bowl whisk your egg whites into stiff peaks and set aside.
  3. In another large bowl beat the butter and sugar until pale and golden. Beat in the egg yolks into the butter one by one. Then stir in the flour and baking powder. Add the walnuts, spices and carrot.
  4. Fold the egg whites into the cake mix. Dollop into cases, about 2/3 full.
  5. Bake - I found about 40 mins seemed about right but be ready for them to take longer than you would expect and keep an eye on them.
  6. In the meantime, whisk all the icing ingredients together and pop in the fridge.
  7. Allow the cakes to cool slightly then ice. I garnished with grated carrot because I forgot to save any walnuts. Oops! I like the colour pop though. Go orange.
I'd really recommend this recipe - it is a winner, as Jamie's often are. Also to be noted, he replaces some of the flour with ground almond which would be great but I didn't have any. Oh well.

I also had a mini strop prior to baking because I thought one of the flatmates had stolen the eggs I had put aside for baking. Angry texts were nearly sent. Then I remembered that I had eaten them for breakfast with the boyf the day before. Never text in anger. Looking like an idiot successgfully avoided for once!

Chuck x