If you have ever watched any of Ina Garten’s cooking shows you will know that her food is all about pleasure. The pleasure of finding good ingredients, the pleasure in the process of bringing a recipe together and the pleasure of serving and eating great food. She truly is all about the joy of cooking. Her carrot cake cupcakes make an appearance at almost every family event we celebrate as they work well with regular, spelt or GF flour. This is the one recipe about which I can, with my hand on my heart, say there is really no difference in taste or texture between the GF and non GF versions. I was invited to brunch recently and wanted to bring something that I knew everyone could enjoy including me and I knew these would be a winner and indeed they were.
If you don’t use the frosting these cupcakes are also dairy free.
For the frosting I would advise going for good old Kerrygold butter and Philadelphia cream cheese. I have tried this frosting with store own brand butter and cream cheese and the resulting frosting was a so runny I couldn’t ice the cupcakes with it. It still tasted amazing so I put it in a bowl and let people spoon it over their cakes. If you can find Philadelphia in the foil block rather than in a tub then definitely use that.
For the cakes:
- 2 cups of caster sugar
- 1 1/3 cup of sunflower oil
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups of Doves Farm plain GF flour ( or 2 cups of spelt flour or regular plain flour if not making GF)
- 1 teaspoon of xanthum gum
- 2 teaspoons of GF baking powder
- 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
- 3 cups of grated carrots (weigh just under a punt of peeled carrots to get 3 cups grated)
- 1 cup of raisins ( I used sultanas as that is what I had in the house, just don’t use miserable bitter little currants)
- 1 cup of chopped walnuts
- Preheat your oven to Gas 4, 350 F, 180 C
- Sift the flour, xanthum gum, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in to a bowl.
- In another bowl beat together the sugar, oil and vanilla.
- Add the eggs one and a time and beat in to the mixture.
- With your whisk at a low speed, so your kitchen doesn’t end up covered in flour, add half of the flour mix to the batter.
- Add the grated carrots, raisins and chopped walnuts to the remaining half of the flour mix and stir until well combined and then add to the batter.
- At this point I do away with the whisk and use a wooden spoon to mix everything together.
- Line your muffin tins or bun trays with paper cases. I got two trays of 12 out of this quantity of batter.
- Turn your oven up to Gas 6, 400 F, 200 C
- Fill the paper cases up two thirds, you want to leave space for frosting once the cakes are cooked.
- Bake at the high temperature for ten minutes and then reduce the temperature back down to Gas 4, 350 F,180 C and leave to cook for 35 mins or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Leave to cool for a few minutes and then take out of the trays and put on a cooling rack until the cakes have cooled completely.
For the frosting:
- 3/4 lb (12 oz, 340 grams) of cream cheese
- 1/2 lb ( 8 oz, 225 grams) of unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1 lb (16 oz, 450 grams) of icing sugar
- Cream together the butter, cream chefs and vanilla extract. At a low speed, this time so your kitchen doesn’t get covered in icing sugar, add the icing sugar and be at until smooth.
- Either pipe the frosting on to the cakes with an icing bag or use a spoon to swirl the icing on the the cooled cupcakes.