Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Carrot Cake Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting And Candied Carrots



Carrot cake cupcakes are one of my favorites, and, while I am a queen of buttercream of any flavor,  I love pairing carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

It was about four years ago when I discovered Bottega Lewi restaurant in Downtown LA and fell madly in love with their cupcakes. I started visiting the restaurant and dropping my hard earned money there more often than I should have, never mind the calories consumed! I knew that had to stop, and the only way I could do it was by making my own cupcakes. From then on baking became a big part of my life - the process is very therapeutic to me and, in the end, I get to eat a sweet treat!

This Carrot Cake Cupcake recipe I originally found in the excellent cupcake recipe book by Shelly Kaldunski. As every baker, I felt compelled to make a tiny tweak to the recipe.  I also always want to make sure that the cupcakes do not exceed 300 calories (and that's including the frosting!).

Shopping List For 12 Carrot Cake Cupcakes:
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup Canola Oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.

Step 1:
In a medium sized bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

Step 2:
In another large sized bowl, whisk oil and sugar,  then add, one at a time, carrots, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and pecans.

Step 3:
Using a rubber spatula, fold flour mixture into the oil mixture until completely combined. Do not over mix.

Step 4:
Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners. Using an ice-cream scooper, distribute the dough evenly among the liners, filling each cup no more than 3/4 full. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and the toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Place the cupcakes onto a cooling rack and let cooled completely for about 1 hour.
Since I am a completely and insanely organized person, I always prepare all ingredients first and line them up in the order to be used. I don't care that I am being laughed at for this ~ it makes the process very quick and easy!


Cream Cheese Frosting:

Shopping list (for 12 cupcakes):
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
4 oz butter at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar

Step 1:
In a mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla for about 2 minutes.

Step 2:
In about 3 installments, beat in the sugar until thoroughly combined.

Voila!


Candied Carrots and Pecans
If you feel to take the cupcakes to another level, candied carrots and pecans are the way to go!

Step 1:
In a small sauce pan, combine 1/4 cup water and 1/3 cup sugar. Bring it to a boil, and boil for about 10-15 minutes.

Step 2:
Meanwhile, toast the pecans and, using a vegetable peeler, peel wide carrot strips.

Step 3:
Add the carrot strips to the boiling mixture. Boil for another 5 minutes. Then, add pecans and set aside to cool for about 1 hour.
Decorate the cupcakes and enjoy!
xo, Zuma A.
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