Orange Carrot Cupcakes

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Yes, you got your favourite carrot cake recipe, and so do I. But just in case you are stretching out of your comfort zone, or baking outside the box, try this for size ... an orange carrot cake, or cupcake, if you like.

With a burst of juicy sweetness and just a spark of tang, the carrot cake becomes so bright and fresh, it is a perfect version for spring! We use the whole fruit, not just the zest to amp up the orange flavour. We kept all the spices usually associated with carrot cake, like cinnamon, nutmeg and mace. And surely you can't pass up on the nuts. But since I was making a cupcake, I forewent (yep, forewent) the nuts in the batter and placed a pretty one on top of the frosting.

These cupcakes were delicious! I brought them to work and they raved all about it. It was light, and tender, with just enough frosting and a little crunch of pecan to top it off. They made a wonderful dessert for our lunch.

So whether it's a lunch time dessert or tea time treat, if you like carrot cake, I'm sure you'll fall for these orange carrot cupcakes. Spring is almost here and citrus is in season, so bake out of your box and try this recipe ...

Makes 3 8-inch layers or about 24 cupcakes

120 g (1-1/4 cups) whole puréed seedless oranges
5 eggs, at room temperature
300 g (2-1/2 cups) all purpose flour
350 g (1-3/4 cups) golden brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp mace (optional)
360 ml (1-1/2 cups) vegetable oil
150 g (2-1/2 cups) grated carrot
1 tbsp orange zest

1. Preheat the oven to 175C or 350F.
2. Prepare two cupcake pans by lining them with cupcake liners.

3. In a stand mixer on medium high speed, beat the puréed oranges with the eggs until creamy, thick, and doubled in volume. This may take about 4-6 minutes.
4. . In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mace. Set aside.

5. When orange mixture is thick and lightened in colour, reduce the speed and pour in the oil, beating a further 2-3 minutes.
6. Fold in the flour in 2 additions, followed by the grated carrot and orange zest, just mixing until combined.
7. With a large scooper, fill the liners to 3/4th full and bake for 45-55 minutes until slightly browned and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
8. Cool completely before frosting with cream cheese frostingchèvre and cream cheese frosting, or if you're feeling particularly adventurous ... a Speculoos cream cheese frosting.


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