Thursday, 24 May 2012

Spring has Sprung: Carrot Cake Muffins

Carrot cake is, without a doubt, my favorite type of cake. The moistness. The delicate spicing. The subtle sweetness from the carrot. Mm! When I found a recipe for carrot cupcakes I might possibly have swooned a little bit inside (in the picture they even had little sugar carrot decorations, I'm only human!) The weather has finally mustered up some glorious sunny days (positively summery!) so I decided that the time had come for something suitably fresh-tasting and seasonal. Despite what the supermarkets would have us think, carrots are actually a spring/summer veg. Besides, they're bright orange and they make me think of little bunnies with their nibbling little teeth. What could be more spring-like?

Since I'm in the mood for sharing (and would rather not eat round after round of baked goods on my own...) I decided that little bite-sized portions is the best way to go. People can just grab one without going through the ritualistic hassle of cutting a slice of cake.

It was a wise decision. These are the most moist, scrumptious bites of carrot cake I've had in a while, chock-full of juicy raisins and ever-so-slightly chewy strands of carrot. A-plus, as far as I'm concerned! They came out so scrummy and dainty that I decided not to ice them as the recipe suggested (though that orange cream cheese butter-cream sounds mighty tasty!) Instead, I christened them "mini-muffins" and left them as is: adorable, dainty, and a teensy bit healthier!

Carrot Cake Muffins
adapted from a recipe on

1 1/8 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons fresh orange zest
2 1/4 cups grated carrot
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 180º C (350º F)

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices and salt (or sift them if you have/want to use a sifter!) and set aside.

Crack the eggs into a large bowl and stir until they're creamy yellow and blended and then add the sugar, oil, vanilla and orange zest (I only had some tiny satsumas-- not the best zesting oranges-- so I used a couple and squeezed in a little bit of juice just for the heck of it). Blend thoroughly.

Now add the previously mixed dry ingredients, a little at a time, mixing thoroughly. The batter should be pretty stiff (good for the arm muscles!)

Add the grated carrot and raisins to the mix. The moisture in the carrots will loosen the batter up a bunch.

Spoon batter into cupcake-case lined muffin tins, about 2/3 full and pop into the preheated oven for about 25 minutes.

Sadly, this recipe doesn't make very many muffins (I only got 19) so I'll probably double it next time I make them (and yes, there will be a next time because they are yummy!) I also might try using light brown sugar instead of white, because it has a better flavor and the muffins came out looking pretty pale (not necessarily a bad thing, per se, but I think they could be cosmetically improved!)

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