Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I think today is that day to tell you all about my new academic year, which has technically begun this week. Official university doesn’t start until October but my work is based in schools so I’m getting to go in early. (I am slightly jealous of other people who are still technically on vacation – and I mean technically because as PhD’s we don’t get the official holidays or anything.) My data collection has now officially started and even though this is a sort of admin week and I won’t be back in school until Monday, I’m treating it as an official week.

My new data collection schedule is structured so that I have a ‘breather day’ (also known as the day of great sleep ins, pub day, two for one movie day and so forth) when I can collect my thoughts from one site and get prepared for another. The idea is that it will allow me to collate things that are happening in one place, read, make notes, read, focus on preliminary data analysis and read. I am also going to think of it as baking day. If I don’t get a chance the rest of the week, Wednesday is my new baking day. It’ll give me something to look forward to when things are getting out of hand.

To celebrate this momentous occasion and to start the Wednesday baking club, I have made you carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. I know, I know, I shouldn’t have. But I did. You can blame the blog over at Smitten Kitchen for making something called maple syrup cream cheese frosting. I read that and was like way-hay. I need to make that. We all know how much I love cream cheese frosting. I’m always up for a cake that is basically a vehicle for the stuff.

These cupcakes are quick and easy. They feel quite autumnal which is rather appropriate now that the weather is changing and it’s noticeably cooler. I scaled the recipe down by half (the original makes 24) and adapted the measurements (which are American). I added slightly more nutmeg than the original, mainly because I use fresh nutmeg and guesstimate the right amount. I also used two medium sized carrots grated directly into the mixture rather than trying to measure out a cup and a half. Feel free to measure it all out if you like.  I also used sunflower oil rather than canola and golden caster sugar rather than granulated white sugar.

Carrot Cupcakes
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp bicarb
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup golden caster sugar
1/2 plus 2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 eggs
2 medium carrots, grated
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped 

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake liners. (My oven is small so I did two bakings in a 6 hole tray).
Mix together the flour, bicarb, salt and spices and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar and oil until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time.

Add half the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir to combine. Then fold in the rest of the flour.

Stir in the grated carrots followed by the walnuts.

This mixture is quite runny so if you’re feeling clean and neat I would put it into a piping bag and pipe it into the tin. If, like me, you didn’t think of that when you made them, spoon the mixture into the tin, filling the cups about 3/4 full. Try not to over fill them because they tend to flow over the edges of the muffin hole and you end up with cupcakes that are top heavy.
Bake for about 14 minutes – a skewer inserted will come out clean but they’ll seem quite spongy if you touch them looking for a spring back.

Allow to cool fully before icing.

Cream Cheese Frosting
230g cream cheese
60g butter
1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
Place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy. Use liberal amounts to ice the cupcakes.

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