This is the carrot cake recipe I always make when baking for a crowd. The recipe, slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen, is absolutely fail-proof and has even won me a local baking competition in the past. However if you have no patience to get all those carrots peeled and grated by hand, you can always turn to your food processor. I personally feel that the manual effort pays off so feel free to enlist volunteers. I’m sure they will be only too happy to help if you promise to reward them with a share of cupcakes for their handiwork/enthusiasm.

CARROT CUPCAKES WITH MAPLE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Ingredients:

For the Carrot Cupcakes

1 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 cups grated peeled carrots

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1/2 cup raisins, soaked in warm water

For The Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

225g cream cheese, softened

50g unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/8 cup pure maple syrup

For The Almond Paste Carrots

3/4 cup ground almonds

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 tablespoon golden syrup

Green and orange food colour

Method:

  • For the mini almond paste carrots, combine all ingredients until it forms soft, pliable dough.
  • Pinch off a small blob and tint with green food colour. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

  • Tint the remaining dough orange to match the colour of carrots and wrap it well in cling film.
  • Shape into small carrots and leave to set on a baking sheet. Do not refrigerate shaped carrots.

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 12 cupcake molds with paper cups, or butter and flour them.
  • Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a medium bowl to blend.

  • Whisk the sugar and oil in large bowl until they are well blended. Whisk in eggs one at a time.
  • Add the flour mixture and stir it until blended. Stir in the grated carrots, walnuts and raisins.

  • Divide the batter among cupcake molds, filling 3/4 of each. Bake cupcakes for 14-18 minutes.
  • A tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for five minutes.

  • Then transfer the cupcakes to cooling rack. Let them cool completely on the rack before icing.
  • For the frosting, beat all ingredients on medium speed until mixture is fluffy in a stand mixer.

  • Chill frosting for 10- 20 minutes in refrigerator until it has set up enough to spread smoothly.
  • Pipe onto cakes using a large star tip and top each with an almond paste carrot. Makes 12-14.

Carrot Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting