Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Recipe: Carrot cake cupcakes with candied carrot

Carrot cake cupcakes with candied carrot, as made by EJ
These carrot cake cupcakes are deliciously spiced and nut free, topped with a traditional vanilla cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with some un-traditional sweet candied carrot.

I'm not sure why carrot isn't used for its sweetness more frequently, the carrot cake is such a champion of the cake world, with so many people telling me it's their favourite. It's also the cake which I most frequently hear people say they make best - or have the best recipe for. It's one of the first cakes I was ever good at baking, I spent years experimenting with different variations and it still delights me how diverse a carrot cake can be in it's flavour and sweetness; how it can exist in it's most humble form as a wholesome un-iced tray bake, or become a sweeter more decadent almost-dessert with a generous dollop of cream cheese frosting. For me, carrot cake (in any form) is best on a weekend afternoon with a cup of chai tea and a good book.

Carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
I wanted to top these cupcakes with something a little different - and so candied carrot was born. It's actually surprisingly delicious (I ate all of the left over pieces) and adds a nice sweetness and crunchy texture to the tops of the cakes.

This recipe makes six carrot cake cupcakes

For the carrot cupcakes:

120g self raising flour
120g caster sugar
40ml rapeseed oil
120ml milk
1 egg
2tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground ginger
75g grated carrot
40g sultanas

For the candied carrot:

1tbs grated carrot
1tbs caster sugar

For the cream cheese frosting:

25g butter (room temperature)
125g cream cheese (chilled)
A few small drops of vanilla extract
270g icing sugar

A little ground cinnamon to sprinkle

To make the carrot cake cupcakes:

Pre-heat the oven to 170C (fan), prepare a cupcake tin with six cupcake cases.

Separate the egg, using an electric mixer whip the egg white until it forms soft peaks.

Pour the sugar into the egg white while whisking on a slow setting.

Add the egg yolk, rapeseed oil and milk and continue to mix.

Sift in the self raising flour, cinnamon and ground ginger and mix into a smooth batter.

Add the grated carrot and sultanas and stir through until evenly distributed.

Spoon the mixture into the six cupcake cases (there should be approximately 5mm space at the top of each case).

Bake in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes. Check if the cakes are done by gently pressing down on the top with your index finger, if the sponge springs back they are ready.

Remove from the oven and set the cakes on a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the candied carrot:

Gently heat the caster sugar and grated carrot in a small saucepan. When the sugar has melted, stir a little to coat the carrot. Continue to heat until the sugar turns a light caramel colour.

Remove from the heat and spread the mixture out on a sheet of baking paper. Allow to set, then break up the sheet of crystalised carrot into small pieces.

Sheet of candied carrot - tastes better than it looks...

To make the cream cheese frosting and top the cupcakes:

Beat the butter with a spoon until it's soft and fluffy, then beat in the cream cheese.

Add the vanilla extract and sift in the icing sugar until the mixture is a smooth piping consistency. If the icing is too runny, add a little more icing sugar.

Prepare a piping bag with a large round nozzle and pipe a tight zig-zag of frosting across the top of each cupcake.

Top with a sprinkling of cinnamon and a few small pieces of candied carrot - and enjoy.

Carrot cakes sprinkled with cinnamon and candied carrot


  1. Hi, this is a great post. I wondered if you would like to link it in to the new Food on Friday which is running right now over at Carole's Chatter. We are collecting recipes using carrots and/or leeks. This is the link . I hope you pop over to check it out. There are lots of great recipes already linked in.

    1. Thank you Carole, what a lovely idea!

    2. Emma Jane, thanks for linking up with Food on Friday. I hope to see you again soon. Cheers