Hello and welcome to my Little Willow blog, well welcome to those who might stumble across it anyway as I have yet to give this address to anyone :) I thought I might try and see how I get along with just writing in it first. It's all a lot of random stuff, but hey, hopefully there'll be something interesting for people

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Baking Review - Carrot Cake/Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Today I made some carrot cake cupcakes using a carrot cake (cake) recipe - hence the long name at the top, from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. I thought I would give it a go to see how it would turn out. I used the exact ingredients and method as though as I was making the cake, except for the decorating part (oh and I also removed the walnuts).


300g soft light brown sugar
3 eggs
300ml sunflower oil
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra to decorate
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g carrots, grated
100g shelled walnuts, chopped plus extra, chopped and whole, to decorate (or just leave this step out)
2 quantities Cream cheese Frosting (or 1 if making cupcakes - or even half as it does make a lot of frosting)

You will need three 20cm cake tins, base-lined with greaseproof paper (if making the cake) or you will need 12-18 cupcake cases, depending on how large you want your cupcakes to be


Preheat the over to 170oC (325oF) Gas 3

Put the sugar, eggs and oil in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat until all the ingredients are well incorporated (don't worry if the mixture looks slight split). Slowly add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt and vanilla extract and continue to beat until well mixed.

Stir in the grated carrots and walnuts (or not) by hand until they are all evenly dispersed.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins and smooth over with a palette knife. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tins before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

When the cakes are cold, put one on a cake stand and spread about one-quarter of the cream cheese frosting over it with a palette knife. Place a second cake on top and spread another quarter of the frosting over it. Top with the last cake and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides. Finish with walnuts and a light sprinkling of cinnnamon.

300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold

Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attacment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on a medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.

My variation to the above was I placed the mixture into 12 muffin cases and cooked them for a similar amount of time (20-25 minutes) as the mixture was obviously thicker than it would have been in a cake tin, despite the smaller volume. Don't be put off by the look of the mixture - it is pretty nasty and definitely reminds you of something you'd rather not think about when looking at food - especially as there is carrot in it...

You could easily spread the mixture into more muffin cases as these ones came out huge and considering I'm making the next batch for Children in Need, I'll be doing about 15-18 instead as obviously we need more cakes to make more money!

I had a bit of an issue with the frosting - it was too thin, despite me beating it for no longer than 5 minutes, as told. The frosting didn't look particularly thin, but when it was put onto the cupcakes, it started running down them a bit :-(
I've discovered that frosting is my weakness I think, I can never seem to get it right, especially when it comes to wanting to use the piping squishy thing I have to put the frosting on with, it just never works right and I'm not exactly sure what it is I'm doing wrong to be able to fix it. Just keep trying I suppose.

The taste test did well though and they are very nice - nice and moist cake and the cream cheese frosting just sets it off nicely

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