David experiments with new formulations while working as a chemist, and he experiments with new recipes while at home in his kitchen.
Quick and Easy Carrot Cupcakes
What’s not to love about cupcakes? Especially moist carrot cake cupcakes combined with a deliciously decadent white chocolate buttercream frosting—yummy!
I made these cupcakes for the first time in 2015, for Halloween. I wanted to make something in tune with this spooky Celtic holiday, so I thought carrot cake, being orange in colour, would be perfect. For the frosting, I added a drop of green food colouring. It all looked very appropriate for Halloween and so did my green-stained mouth! The recipe that I am including below, of course, doesn’t include the green food colouring.
For this carrot cake recipe, I’ve added chopped walnuts. These are optional, although I would highly recommend including them as they add a great nutty flavour and some texture and crunch to the moist carrot cake. Mother dearest got me into using walnuts and requested that I always include them when I make her a batch of these cupcakes. She’s a bit of a carrot cake fanatic and it always seems that she has some on the kitchen counter when I pop over for a visit. Even with this addiction, she somehow maintains her slim figure. Everything in moderation she says, although I’m not sure what’s so moderate about eating carrot cake every day. I'll put it down to good genetics.
Why Buttercream Frosting Works Best
When it comes to frosting, buttercream is by far the best frosting for cupcakes. In the past I have experimented with cream cheese frostings, but to no success. Each time the mixture went too runny and I was forced to pour in so much icing sugar that the frosting tasted overly sweet and masked the cream cheese. A buttercream cupcake frosting is ideal as it will stiffen up in the refrigerator and set better.
Perfect for Birthdays, Parties, and Halloween
I have kept the recipe as simple as possible and easy to follow. These cupcakes are ideal for children’s or adult’s birthdays, parties, picnics, Halloween, or even as an occasional (or not so occasional) guilty treat. The recipe provided should produce 12 decently sized cupcakes, which keep well in the refrigerator for a few days.
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For the cupcakes:
- 1 1/3 cups (160 g) plain flour, sieved
- 2 cups (approx. 220 g) carrot, finely grated
- 1 cup (200 g) white sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 cup (160 ml) light oil (vegetable, canola)
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup (50 g) chopped walnuts (optional but highly recommend)
For the frosting:
- 1/2 cup (110 g) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 5.3 oz (150 g) white chocolate, melted
- 2 cups (250 g) confectioners (icing) sugar
- Finely grate carrots and set aside for later. I recommend that you do this first as it may take a while and you don't want to have your cupcake mixture sitting for too long. This is also an ideal time to take the butter out of the refrigerator to soften at room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 175 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). Line the cupcake tray with 12 baking cups.
- Combine the flour (sieved), ground cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Mix to get an evenly distributed mixture.
- Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar until frothy and until lightened in colour. To this mixture, combine the oil, grated carrot, vanilla essence and chopped walnuts (optional, but recommended). Fold the flour mixture into this liquid mixture.
- Pour the cupcake mixture into the prepared baking cups. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Use a wooden pick to test if done, the pick should come out clean. You may also pat the cupcake with your hand, it will feel firm when complete. Let the cupcakes cool on a counter surface before adding the cupcake frosting.
White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Using an electric mixer, whisk the soft butter until fluffy. Mix in the melted white chocolate.
- Combine the confectioners (icing) sugar bit by bit while whisking with an electric mixer. The mixture should be thick enough for piping. If the room temperature is high and the mixture is runny, place it in the refrigerator to stiffen for a few minutes.
- Using a piping bag, carefully pipe the cupcake frosting over the top of the cooled cupcakes. Work your way from the outside in and try to pipe in one continuous go.
- Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
© 2016 David Branagan