Thursday, May 7, 2015

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes for big uncle's 80th!

"These cupcakes are: moist, flavorful, tender, delicious, not too carroty, not too sweet, just dense enough, decadent and perfectly spiced."

I was so happy with how these carrot cake cupcakes turn out! I  halved the sugar and skipped the ginger in the cupcake recipe and found the sweetness to be just right. The texture was fluffy, moist and not a bit oily. Definitely redeemed myself from the previous semi-failed carrot cake bake.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes
recipe adapted from Culinary Couture
makes 24 mini cupcakes and 9 regular cupcakes

1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger* skipped
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup applesauce
3 large eggs, room temperature
pinch of vanilla powder (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 and 1/2 cups finely grated carrots
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.
3. In another bowl, stir together sugars, oil, and applesauce until smooth and well-blended. Mix in eggs and vanilla.
4. Add dry ingredients in two additions, mixing after each addition just until combined. 
5. Fold in grated carrots and chopped walnuts.
6. Pour batter into prepared cupcake liners, filling each one 2/3 of the way full. 
7. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
8. Cool cupcakes in tin for 5 minutes, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

left: dry; right: wet

dry + wet combined

grated carrots and chopped walnuts ready

mix mix mix

making minis!

Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe adapted from Honeysuckle

8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar*
a pinch of salt

1. In mixing bowl, add cream cheese and butter and mix it on medium speed with paddle attachment until it's nice and fluffy (approximately 2 minutes).
2. Add vanilla extract and continue beating for another minute.
3. Slowly add a pinch of salt and gradually (bit by bit) the powdered sugar. Continue beating until everything's mixed together.

*didn't exactly measured out 2 cups; probably used a little less and just add until smooth and thick consistency.

I dedicated the morning prior to the day of the birthday dinner to make these. I woke up and immediately slaved away hand grating the carrots. It was much more time consuming and tiring than I had anticipated. Next time will consider making carrot juice and using the scraps instead.

After grating, making the batter was a breeze. I had the cupcakes baked by lunch time. Enjoyed some banh mi with Fatty, made some reservation phone calls, and started on the frosting. After the frosting was done, I looked up on how to pipe roses. The tip I had was way too big for the minis, so I only played around on the bigger ones. It turned out quite nice for a first attempt. A stiffer frosting would've made the rose even more defined.

the big one for big uncle!

These cupcakes chilled well. I piped the frosting on the day ahead and kept them in the fridge till the night after. The texture remained moist and fluffy and I personally do not like warm frosting. Great to make for a party ahead of time!

Taste: 4.5 stars out of 5
Need to experiment on a couple more recipes to make frosting less sweet; maybe a swiss meringue or adding whipped cream; paired with the reduced sugar cupcake, sweetness was fine
Texture: 5 stars out of 5
Smooth velvety frosting paired with light and fluffy carrot cake cupcake

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