Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Standard

This past weekend, my sister and niece came into town.  Her birthday was on April 16, so we had a belated birthday party.  I asked my mom what kind of cake she thought my sis would want, and she said carrot cake.  I have never made a carrot cake before, so I immediately went to the internet.  I also looked at carrot cake cupcakes, as that is what I ended up making, of course.

The first recipe I found was from Cooks Illustrated – a fancy shmancy magazine that strives to create the “ultimate” recipe for everything.  When I saw the expression “aerate the flour” and saw the prep time, I looked for another.  This is the one I found in AllRecipes.com:

Carrot Cake III

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Icing ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

The great thing about those recipe sites is that often many other people have made it and have left input about what they did to alter the cake.  I read this one and printed it out to alter my recipe:

After reading through 4-5 pages of the reviews, I consolidated the most referred alterations to this recipe to: 1) using 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup white sugar 2) adding an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract 3) adding 1 8oz. can of crushed pineapple (I squeezed out most of the juice before adding it, I didn’t want any extra fluids in the cake) 4) Added 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg 5) added 1 extra teaspoon of cinnamon 6) used 3/4 cup canola oil and 1/2 cup applesauce. The result came out incredibly delicious – the cake was very flavorful and moist. For the frosting, I only used 3.5 cups of powdered sugar, and it was more than sweet enough, with a nicely balanced cream cheese vs. sweet flavor. If I would change anything again, I would use less pecans – it’s a bit too nutty for my personal tastes. Also, I followed another reviewer’s suggestion of grating the carrots with the large grater side (the one you use for cheese) so that you don’t end up with a bunch of carrot mush and juice that can’t be used. Will definitely make again! This is probably the best carrot cake I’ve ever had.   (Thanks, gneebeanie!)

This is what I ended up using:

Carrot Cake III

Ingredients for cake:

  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple (squeeze out the juice)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Icing ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (as garnish)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place cupcake liners in pan (I used 1 12 cup and 2 6 cup – it made 24 even cupcakes).
  2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, applesauce, brown and white sugars and 3 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into cupcake liners.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  4. To Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cupcakes.  (I added red and orange food coloring to make a lovely pale orange color).  Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of cupcakes.

I will include a picture later.  The cupcakes were wonderful – I brought some to school to share, but ended up doling them out to myself over the school week.

On Sunday afternoon, I went with my niece and a friend to a pottery painting place in Virginia Highlands.  I painted my first plate.  I used one of my new tin ornament designs, painstakingly tracing it onto the plate.  I have to admit to some frustration – sometimes the paint was rather clumpy and the end result will not be as sharp as the drawing.  Somehow, I will deal.  I have to go and pick the items up this weekend.  I might paint again, as they allow dogs in the shop.  As nice as that seems, however, I don’t know how my dog will like just lying around while I paint.

Advertisements

2 responses »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s