Tuesday, June 10, 2008


My hubby's birthday was last weekend, and I made him carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting that turned out quite well (if I do say so myself). The tip here is that, although these in no way can really be considered healthy or low fat, I have reduced the fat by replacing half of the oil in the cupcakes with natural (no sugar or sweetener added) applesauce. You can do this in other baked items that use a lot of oil (muffins and banana bread are two good examples).

The recipe itself is actually a cross between my friend M's carrot cake recipe and
one for carrot cake cupcakes from Ina Garten. They were quite similar, and the only major change I made is really the addition of the applesauce. A note for readers in the UK: In America, applesauce is everywhere. Here, not so much. I bought a jar of Bramley applesauce, but it just wasn't right. So I went to the baby food aisle and found little pots of apple and pear puree that were mostly apples, with nothing else added to sweeten. It worked great!

I made 1.5 times the original recipe because it was only supposed to make 22 cupcakes. However, out of the 1.5x batch, I ended up with 40. The amounts for 40 are below and the original amounts (I guess that will give you about 26) in parentheses.

Without further ado, the recipe:

3 cups sugar (2 c)
1 cup vegetable oil (2/3 c)
1 cup natural/unsweetened applesauce (2/3 c)
1.5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (1 t)
5 large eggs (3)
3 cups all-purpose flour (2 c)
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon (2 t)
3 teaspoons baking soda (2 t)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt (~3/4 t) [Note: this is less salt than the Ina recipe called for, as many reviews said the cupcakes were too salty.]
4 1/2 cups grated carrots; about 1.5 pounds (3 c or about 1 pound)
1 1/2 cups golden raisins (sultanas for those of you in the UK) (1 c)
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (1 c); pecans would be good as well

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Beat the sugar, oil, applesauce and vanilla together in the bowl of an electric mixer (or with a hand mixer). Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix well. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix just until combined. Add the grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts to the remaining flour, mix well, and add to the batter (this will prevent the goodies from sinking to the bottom of the cupcakes). Mix until just combined. [Here is where the tip I mentioned in my very first post comes in handy - don't overmix once you've added the flour!]

Line muffin pans with paper liners (turns out that in the UK these are called 'muffin cases'). Scoop the batter into the muffin cups until each is ~2/3 full. [TIP: Use an ice cream scoop that holds about 1/4 cup of batter for this, and they will all be even, and hence bake evenly.] Bake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. [NOTE: Keep a close eye on them because the original recipe actually called for 40-45 minutes of baking time, which is WAY too much. Mine took about 30, but yours could be faster. I would check after 20 and then again every 5 minutes.] Cool on a rack.

When the cupcakes are cool, frost them generously and serve.

Cream cheese frosting:

[This is MORE than enough for the batch that makes 40 cupcakes. I have no idea why this was meant to be frosting for 22 cupcakes unless you want more frosting than cake.]

12 oz cream cheese (This isn't quite equivalent, but I used 1.5 200 g packages), at room temperature [Note: You can use light if you want, but I wouldn't recommend fat free.]
1/2 pound (225 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature [Don't sub anything - real butter is SO much better than anything else - and be sure it's unsalted.]
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners' (icing) sugar

It is very important that the cheese and butter are at room temperature! Leave them out for several hours before making the frosting.

Cream the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer (or with a hand mixer). Add the sugar and beat until smooth. More or less sugar can be added if you prefer a more or less sweet frosting.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

I need cupcakes now! Thanks. That recipe sounds awesome.