I love carrots, really.
I like them in salads. I like them in the raw. I like them cooked with a little parsley and olive oil. But I’ve never really enjoyed a carrot baked into a cake. It seems like a sneaky way to get someone to eat a vegetable. And most carrot cakes I’ve encountered were either dry or sticky sweet. I don’t love cream cheese frosting either and most carrot cakes come loaded with the stuff – like if there is enough frosting the cake doesn’t count.
But enter the Flour – from Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery in Boston. I’ve been meandering my way through the book with some great success because the recipes are all done with weights. I can recreate them to gluten-free in no time. I paged past the carrot cake recipe many times with the thought that it would be just like all the others. But one day I stopped to actually read the recipe and Joanne’s narrative about the cake, and I was curious. Curious enough to venture into vegetable cake territory, leaving chocolate far behind (and you all know how hard that is for me).
And I have an extra good reason to try out the carrot cake.
This weekend is Lulu’s birthday celebration and she is turning seven, which is almost mid-century in dog years. She’d stand on her head for a carrot (think dog crack). I wanted to make her a version of this carrot cake without all the sweetener and nuts (or raisins) and figured I could make two versions as easily as one.
The people eating carrot cake cupcake is a mini – a good bite-size treat full of nuts, raisins, and that vegetable called carrot. And yes, I acquiesced to the cream cheese frosting and whipped it like a real buttercream.
For the puppy version there will be no nuts or raisins (which are harmful to dogs) but that won’t detract from the little mini puppy birthday cakes. No sugar, but a tiny bit of honey gives it a nice twist. And these are topped with a little bit of Greek yogurt and a tiny carrot flower fit for a matronly old princess who is only 10 pounds soaking wet.
I will share birthday photos and the puppy carrot cupcake recipe this weekend – but for now, bake some of the people version carrot cake mini cupcakes and count that as a serving of vegetable for the day. A very delicious serving.
Thank you, Joanne, for changing my mind about carrots baked into a cake. This one rocks.
|Carrot Cake Mini Cupcakes, Gluten Free||
- 2 large eggs plus one egg white
- 200 grams brown sugar (not quite a cup)
- 150 grams veggie oil (I used peanut)
- 3 tablespoons buttermilk
- 160 grams GF flour (75 grams superfine brown rice flour, 55 grams GF oat flour, 30 grams tapioca flour)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- pinch kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon ginger powder
- 260 grams shredded carrots (about two cups)
- 80 grams dark or golden raisins (about a ½ cup)
- 50 grams chopped nuts – walnuts or pecans toasted (about a ½ cup)
- 340 grams or 12 oz. cream cheese (not low-fat) room temperature
- 114 grams or 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 276 grams powdered sugar, sifted (about 2 cups)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- little carrot flowers
- tiny edible flowers
- sparkling sugar
- Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 mini cupcake pans (24 each) with liners or grease and flour them.
- Beat eggs and sugar until light and thick – patience. It takes a while. In a small bowl weigh out oil, buttermilk and vanilla and mix. Pour into egg/sugar mixture and incorporate. Weigh out flours and add baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and whisk. Using a spatula fold the flour into the wet mixture gently. Be sure to fold, not stir. Add the carrots, raisins, nuts and fold until thoroughly incorporated. Pour into the prepared cupcake tins – about ¾ full.
- Bake about 10 minutes and rotate, and bake about 5-7 minutes more or just until a toothpick comes out clean. They should feel springy to the touch. Cool for a minute and then remove each cupcake to a rack to cool completely.
- Whip the room temperature cream cheese until light and fluffy and then add the room temperature butter. Whip again until light and fluffy. On low, mix in the sugar and vanilla. Once incorporated whip on high for about 3 minutes. Refrigerate until cool enough to pipe.
- Pipe the frosting on top and decorate with one of the suggested toppings (or your own invention). Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving time. Let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving.