Sunday, 17 March 2013

Carrot Cupcakes

I had planned some seasonal baking for March - Simnel cake and chocolate nests - but I find that I've made carrot cupcakes instead. Does carrot cake count as Easter baking? I suppose rabbits like carrots, don't they? Hmm. The flavours, spices and colours of carrot cake make me think of autumn but honestly, these cakes are welcome in our house all year round. I almost make these just so I can eat cream cheese icing. There is no better sort in my book - the tangy, creamy sweetness is very moreish. But the cake underneath is very good too - moist and chewy and it keeps well.

For the cakes you will need:

200 g or 7 oz sugar (caster sugar is fine but soft brown sugar adds more flavour)
200 ml or 7 fluid oz vegetable or sunflower oil
2 eggs
200 g or 7 oz  plain flour
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 level tsp baking powder
1 level tsp cinammon
200 g or 7 oz grated carrot
100 g or 3 oz sultanas* 

and for the icing/frosting:

250 g or 9 oz icing sugar, sifted
100 g or 3 oz cream cheese (nice and cold, straight from the fridge)
30 g or 1 oz butter (room temperature or soft)

To make the cakes:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 170°C or 325°F.
  • Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
  • Put the sugar, oil and eggs into a bowl and beat to combine. You cold do this by hand but I use a mixer.
  • Add the flour, bicarb, baking powder and cinammon and mix well.
  • Add the carrots and sultanas and mix again.
  • Divide the mixture between your 12 muffin tins and bake for around 20 minutes.
  • When they are cooked remove the cakes from the tin and leave them to cool on a wire rack.

and the icing...

  • The cakes need to be room temperature before icing, otherwise the icing will warm up and melt and you have something that resembles "melting" more than "icing".
  • Combine the icing sugar, cream cheese and butter slowly and carefully to begin with (to avoid an icing sugar dust storm).
  • Once they are roughly combined beat well for a good couple of minutes until the icing is nice and fluffy. Again, you can do this by hand but a freestanding or hand held mixer will be a lot easier.
  • Divide the icing between the 12 cakes. I am hopeless at piping so I sort of spread and swirl it over the cakes with the blunt side of a knife. 
  • Dust with a little cinnamon to decorate, or some of those mini sugar paste carrot cupcake toppers like these would look very cute.

If individual cupcakes are not your thing this cake mixture could be divided between two round sandwich tins and baked at the same temperature for 20 - 25 minutes. Then use half the icing to sandwich the cakes together and spread the other half on the top.


Thanks for all your comments about our recent decorating exploits. A couple of people mentioned that a print in a bathroom may get damp, which is a very good point. Although it's a small room it is quite well ventilated with an extractor fan and a large window, so I hope this will not be an issue. I have been putting the paint tester pots to good use this week and have been painting eggs for a little Easter flower display. As soon as the clouds part and we get some sun I will take photos and show you. Enjoy your Sunday everyone!

* By all means use currants or raisins instead, but I always prefer sultanas and their plump juiciness works well here.


  1. Perfect baking for a gloomy Sunday afternoon - off to give these a go x Jane

  2. Hi Gillian my mouth is watering at the thought of your baking.
    Thank you so much for the recipe.

  3. Ooo these look delicious! I love the carrot cake/cream cheese combo. I have to admit that the only baking I have ever done for Easter is Hot Cross Buns. A more serious Easter baking effort sounds like a nice tradition to think about for this year...Mel x

  4. Oh these look delicious Gillian ... I love carrot cake and surely it counts as one of our 5 a day ;) ... thanks for sharing ... Bee xx

  5. These look really lovely. Thank you for the recipe.
    Marianne xxxx

  6. I need to try this. Sometime ago I tried to make a big carrot cake, but it was a disaster. In the cupcake form it should bake better. Thanks.

  7. Oh I do like a good carrot cake, might have to make some next week I think. I made chocolate muffins last week with orange icing and totally forgot about the icing dust cloud. Think I spent more time afterwards cleaning down myself and my glasses !!

  8. I always put sultanas in my carrot cake too. And you are so right about the cream cheese icing. I could just eat the whole mixing bowl full! X

  9. Oooh, lovely. We've had another batch of cherry bakewell cupcakes here which, like your carrot cakes, are very moist and irresistable.

  10. So pretty and the icing is perfect. Thank you for the recipe and your tips.

  11. They look delicious - might give this recipe a go!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  12. Oh I think these are good all year. I never thought of carrot cake as autumnal but I do know what you mean because I certainly think of pumpkin in this way. Happy Sunday to you. :)

  13. I think i'll try making these at the end of next week, thank you :)

  14. They sound so yummy - but not sure my waist line will take any more baking. Looking forward to your painted eggs - I am sat on the sofa with my hook and am on my 4th little crochet egg :)

  15. Oh yum, and I love cream cheese icing. I was going to make a carrot cake today but think I may do your cup cakes instead. xo

  16. Yummy.

    I love the picture of the grated carrots!!

    Leanne xx

  17. Thank you for sharing recipe. I am going to make some of these. Someone once told me that sultanas were good for scones too for the same reason and so I've always used them in my Christmas cake! xx

  18. These look yummy, can I come over for tea!

  19. With you on the's gooood! I think I am going to follow your lead with carrot cakes, definitely Eastery in my book xx

  20. They look scrumptious. Will definitely give them a go.

    I have had a framed print in my bathroom for almost 10 years now and it has never suffered from the damp atmosphere.

    Am new to your blog and really loving it :)

  21. Ooh, your recipe for carrot cake is different than mine, I'll have to give this one a go! It's all about the cream cheese frosting for me! DELICIOUS.

  22. I love carrot cake and cream cheese icing! They look delicious!

  23. Hi Gillian What a great recipe!! I am going to get all the ingredients today and will be making it for Easter!!! Will let you know how they come out!!!

  24. oooh yummy! I love carrot cake, and yes I do think this counts as Easter baking! x

  25. Hello Gillian,
    Delicious looking and almost good for us, no? I shall give these a go with my niece next week I think - thank you. (still going to make a Simnel cake also!)
    Ivan x

  26. Gillian these look divine - now added to our 'must do' list for the weekend! Somehow carrot cakes seem to promise sunshine and springtime whilst being reassuringly solid enough to be a comfort food on these determinedly frosty bleak days..

  27. these look amazing, and your icing job is so professional! i could eat 5 of these right now ;) x

  28. They look so good - I love any form of Carrot in Cake. I agree about Sultana - I much prefer them to Raisins or Currants!

  29. Oh yummy, looks so tasty. Seems like all the blogs I am visiting today have some delicious looking baked goods on them. I am clawing at the computer screen :-) x

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  31. Love carrot cake. I used Paul Hollywood's recipe recently. These look super good :) xxx

  32. That looks absolutely delicious!! Yum!!

  33. One of my favorites, too! Just a suggestion to make it healthier and taste great is to replace 1/2 of the oil with applesauce ~ very moist and delicious.



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