Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Carrot Cake for the masses!

I just whipped up carrot cake cupcakes for the first time. Pretty sure these are actually my first cupcakes, ever, and I'm positive I've never made carrot cake before, so this was a day of firsts.

At the request of a friend celebrating his birthday, I tracked down Smitten Kitchen's recipe for carrot cake, and followed her advice on the cupcake route. These were a roaring success, and I suspect if I hadn't been juggling a baby with an upset stomach and trying to squeeze in a shower before the birthday dinner, they would also have been a cinch to make. Evidently less so when you're also juggling that other stuff. : (

Lesson learned. Plan ahead. Or skip the shower. (Over-rated.)

Here's the scoop:

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 24 cupcakes (or one two-layer cake, instructions at end)

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
4 large eggs
3 cups grated peeled carrots
1 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line 24 cupcake molds with papers, or butter and flour them.
Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots, walnuts and raisins, if using them. Divide batter among cupcake molds, filling 3/4 of each.
Bake cupcakes 14 to 18 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Let cool in pans for five minutes or so, then transfer cakes to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before icing them.

To make a carrot layer cake: Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans instead of cupcake molds. Line bottom of pans with waxed parchment paper. Butter and flour paper; tap out excess flour. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, and bake the layers for about 40 minutes each, or until a tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks. Peel off paper; cool cakes completely.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

In a stand mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. Chill the frosting for 10 to 20 minutes, until it has set up enough to spread smoothly.

I put the frosting into a large ziplock bag and then snipped the corner off to make a frosting-piping bag. Sadly-- that limited my ability to make beautiful shapes and patterns considerably-- so I stuck the classic "$" cupcake style. 

An oldie, but a goodie. : )

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