Monday, April 25, 2011

easter carrot cupcakes with ginger simple syrup & cream cheese frosting

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So what did the Easter Bunny bring you? There was no chocolate or egg hunts in our house (does crawling around on my hands and knees looking for the kitty's bouncy ball count?) but we do have a basket full of delicious carrot cupcakes. I'm a big fan or carrot cake, I love the high moisture level and I like mine with lots of nutty crunch. The problem with most carrot cake, in my opinion, is way too much sugar in the cake batter and way too much sugar in the cream cheese frosting, which is always piled far too high.

The recipe I used this time around was a Martha website recipe, that I doubled (to make 24 cupcakes) and adjusted a little here and there (for example cutting the sugar in half and adding some whole wheat flour for good measure).

Carrot Cupcakes

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup apple sauce
4 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 large eggs

2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat flour

3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 24 baking tin cups, or line with paper liners. Beat together sugar, oil, apple sauce, orange juice, eggs, and vanilla. In a separate bowl whisk together baking soda, baking powder, spices, salt, and flours. Add this flour mixture to the egg mixture, and stir together. Add in carrots and walnuts, stir until combined. Divide among muffin cups and bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool.

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I wanted these cupcakes to have a little something extra, so I decided to top them all with a ginger infused simple syrup. I wasn't worried about the extra sugar because I used a very tart cream cheese frosting on top. The only complaint was that my syrup wasn't as full of ginger flavour as I would have liked — next time: use more ginger.

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I don't have a recipe for the cream cheese frosting, I just mixed room temperature cream cheese with a bit of soft butter and confectioners' sugar. To add a bit of springy, Easter flair, I topped all the cupcakes with gently ground coconut and pistachios.

These would be good after Easter too you know, I mean you don't even really need an excuse to make them — something to use up all these old flavourless carrots that still fill the shelves of the grocery store perhaps? (I am so excited for the summer farmer's markets to start in a week!)

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Chickadee said...
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Chickadee said...

Stop posting things that make me so hungry!!! I have been craving muffins/cupcakes for a week and when I saw this post I nearly died. They look lovely, I must try out the recipe when I get the chance. Plus, the pistachios make them so pretty. My friend Cathy makes a mean 'healthy' muffin with grated carrot and raisins and apple sauce. Perfect for easter. I made an easter-egg quiche recipe this year. I love how Easter brings attention to this self-contained, protein-y food.