Cupcakes are a great item to bring along to a party, or to bake for a birthday or special occasion. Using fresh vegetables in cakes means that the taste will be more savory. In addition, there will be some added nutritional benefit at least from the carrots.
If you do not like walnuts then you could leave them out of the recipe altogether. The resulting cupcakes will still be a ‘carrot cake’ as you know it. One teaspoon of mixed spice can also be substituted with all spice or even ginger or nutmeg depending on your preferences. The advantage of using oil over butter is that it can save time mixing the ingredients together. In addition, it can help to create an extremely smooth texture as oppose to getting lumps in the mixture with butter. Using oil is also especially helpful if you do not own a hand whisk or electric blender.
In addition, because we have such a coarse texture in these cupcakes from the carrots, it is nice to make sure that the rest of the consistency of the cakes is as smooth as possible.
I hope you enjoy this easy recipe, and whilst there are a few more ingredients than the average Victoria sponge or classic cupcake, the flavor payoff is really worth it.
So if you have a few spare carrots in the fridge waiting to be used, then besides juicing them up for a delightful smoothie, carrot cupcakes could also be the way to go. Let’s get started on this recipe and the ingredients that you will need.
- 250g self raising flour
- 225g caster sugar
- 200g carrots, peeled and grated
- 200ml sunflower oil (or softened butter if preferred)
- 3 eggs
- 60g walnuts, chopped (optional)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice (or all spice)
For the Icing
- 100g icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons tap water
For the Carrot Shapes
- 100g white sugar paste icing
- Orange and green food coloring
*Preheat the oven to 180C or Gas Mark 4
Firstly, place twenty-four individual cupcake cases onto two baking trays. Alternatively, you could use silicone baking cases which are better for the environment because they are re-usable and will last forever. Either one of these methods means you do not have to grease up a baking tin, so it will save time and effort.
Next, in a large mixing bowl combine the caster sugar, grated carrot, sunflower oil and eggs. Mix them together thoroughly. Then add the walnuts and stir again. Add the baking powder, ginger, mixed spice and flour altogether through a sieve. Hold the sieve high up to get lots of air into the flour.
Doing this will help to ensure that the fairy cakes will rise nicely. This is especially useful because the carrots are of a denser nature and so every little bit of air will help them to get more lift and height into them. Fold the flour in carefully with a wooden spoon.
Now you are ready to bake your carrot cupcakes at 180C or Gas Mark 4 for around thirty-five minutes. This is the lower end of the time that it will take for them to bake through fully. Remember that the dense carrots in this recipe will take longer to cook through than the average cupcake.
Once they are turning a nice golden brown color on the top, then you can rest assured that they are cooked within. Use the ‘knife check’ by inserting a clean knife into the centre of one of the fairy cakes. If it comes out clean, then this means that the mixture has fully baked in the center. Allow them all to cool on a wire rack before moving on to step three.
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Now comes one of my favorite parts for making these cupcakes, the decorating! You do not have to make the individual little carrot decorations if you do not want to, the fairy cakes will still taste delicious without them. However, they help as a guide to let people know the flavor of the contents as well as serving as very cute and special cake toppers.
To make the basic white icing, simply combine the icing sugar and tap water in a small cup or mixing jug. You may find that you want a thicker or lighter consistency, so add more icing sugar to make it thicker or water to make it more runny and smooth.
However, be careful not to add too much water because then it will be difficult to work with. The same goes for making it too thick. Icing making is a fine art, but once you have the ratio balanced out and correct, it will get easier to master.
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To make the little carrot cake toppers, tear off two equal sized lumps of around 50g of the icing paste, and put them in two separate small bowls. Add a few drops of orange food coloring to one bowl, and a few drops more of green to the other. Use a spoon or fork to really work the color into the icing.
Once you are happy with the colors, then roll the orange one into mini carrot shapes and trim little bits off the green icing to form the carrot leaves. You could even use a knife to make small line markings on the carrots to make them look more realistic. Add extra walnuts to decorate. The icing we have already put on the cake will help them to stick together. Enjoy!
Store them in an airtight container for up to two weeks or in the fridge for up to three weeks. They will often never last this long though when family and friends are eating them too! Why not share them with your neighbors and work colleagues too.
Below is a You Tube video from baker TJ Davidson. Tune in as he makes carrot cupcakes with a twist with apple in them, and a delicious frosting to go with it on top.