I wouldn’t say I was exactly an expert at cupcakes, but I found I enjoyed making these, so thank you Ivy, my Taste & Create partner this month. Some of Ivy’s cupcake creations are amazing; as a rank beginner in the field, I decided to be relatively unambitious, and went for the carrot cakes with mascarpone frosting — largely because I like carrot cake, and they involved apricot jam — I have lots of that.
I made the candied carrots a couple of days before, and left them on a windowsill by an open window for 24 hours before storing them. They look great and are easy to make.
As usual I battled with the American cup measurements; my cakes came out a bit moist yet again, and I wasn’t sure whether it was bad measuring or the fact that I baked them in muffin tins as I don’t have any cupcake cases. Ivy didn’t mention an oven temperature, so I guessed at 180 and baked them for 25 minutes. Anyway, even if they were a bit soggy in the middle, they tasted fab — I loved the subtle combination of maple syrup and orange, and the mascarpone frosting really is yummy. Read on for my metric version of the recipe.
60 ml water
80 g sugar
About 2 handfuls shredded carrots (I used my julienne tool)
In a small saucepan heat water and sugar till the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, add the carrots, and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to stand for another 10 minutes.
Spread the carrots out on a wire rack and leave in an airy place to dry for 24 hours. Store in an airtight container (you will have more than you need for this recipe).
60 g butter at room temperature
1 tbsp maple syrup
Finely grated orange zest from 1 orange
130 g granulated sugar
220 ml grated carrots
120 g self-raising flour
60 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
Cream the butter, sugar, maple syrup and orange zest together till fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the carrots. Add orange juice, then sprinkle the flour over and fold in thoroughly. Spoon into muffin tins or cupcake cases and bake at 180 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until browned on top. Cool on a wire rack.
Use a small knife to cut out a small hole in the centre of each cake, and fill the hole with apricot jam.
Yummy mascarpone frosting:
60 g unsalted butter at room temperature
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
75 g icing sugar
120 g mascarpone cheese
Cream butter, icing sugar, and lemon zest until fluffy. Then mix in cold mascarpone cheese until smooth. Use this to ice the cakes. Once iced, you should keep the cupcakes in the fridge; 10-20 minutes before serving, take them out and decorate with the crispy carrot garnish.