Thursday, June 7, 2012

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cinnamon Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

So, rookie mistake #1 for my first recipe... I forgot to take pictures of this one. I was too caught up in the excitement of trying out the recipe etc. that I didn't think to document the process (which is the best part of food've gotta have pictures!). I realized after it was too late; I sent some of these cupcakes home with my boyfriend and the rest my mom took to work with her, so they were gone before I could snap some photos. My fault. The rest of my posts will have pictures, I promise.

So, I had some left over shredded carrots from a cake that I had made for my boyfriend's birthday dinner, and decided I wanted to make carrot cake cupcakes. I'm allergic to walnuts and pineapple, two things commonly found in carrot I was looking for a recipe that didn't have either of those, when I found the one by Smitten Kitchen (a fellow foodblog). I opted to leave out the raisins (not a huge fan...but if you like them go ahead and keep them in!), and substituted pecans for walnuts. I was also a little shy on carrots, so I added very fine unsweetened shredded coconut to make up the difference. For the frosting, I know that the typical carrot cake will have cream cheese frosting. I love cream cheese frosting, don't get me's delicious! But I've been working on buttercreams at the bakery, and had bought some pasteurized egg whites last week when I was practicing them at I thought, why not try some sort of cinnamon-y vanilla buttercream to go with the carrot-y goodness. It worked out lovely-ly! The buttercream was light and fluffy! And the cinnamon/vanilla went well with the ginger/nutmeg flavors of the carrot cake, without being overly sweet (which I completely hate...sweets that are overwhelming irk me). If you're missing the cream cheese, go ahead and use that kind of frosting instead! (Hey, you could even add cinnamon to a cream cheese frosting if that sounds yummy to you!)

Carrot Cake Cupcakes:
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

This is what my cupcakes would have looked like! :)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil (I used half vegetable oil and half grapeseed oil)
4 eggs
2 cups grated carrots (using a food processor to grate the carrots saves a tonnn of time, and is really fun! hehe)
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup chopped pecans

Yields: about 24 cupcakes

Line a 24 cupcake pan with papers. (I also sprayed mine lightly with cooking spray just to be sure that they wouldn't stick). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F).

Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger in a medium bowl, and whisk until everything is incorporated.
In another larger bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar until combined. Then whisk in the eggs, one at a time until completely mixed in. Stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula until all of the drying ingredients are mixed in.
Fold in the carrots, coconut and pecans. Using an icecream or cookie scoop, spoon the batter into the cupcake molds, 3/4 of the way. Bake for 14-18 minutes (with my oven it was 18).
Let the cupcakes cool until you can take them out of the pan, and then fully cool on a wire rack. In the meantime, make your frosting!

Here's my buttercream recipe!

Cinnamon Vanilla Buttercream:

3/4 cup sugar
½ cup pasteurized egg whites
¼ tsp salt
1 1/2 cups butter (cut into square pieces, and brought to room temperature)
2 ½ tsp vanilla bean paste (vanilla extract works too)
1 ½ tsp good ground cinnamon (I used's amazing!)

Yield: Enough to frost about 30 cupcakes

Combine sugar, egg whites and salt in a metal bowl. Bring a pot of water (large enough to fit the bowl of the egg white mixture) to a simmer. Cook the egg white mixture over the water bath while whisking frequently until the sugar has dissolved, and the mixture is fairly hot to the touch (stick your fingers in and make sure that there isn’t any sugar left undissolved). –Don’t overcook. It is easy to curdle the eggs, so be careful to whisk the mixture pretty constantly.-

Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the egg white mixture on medium speed until it comes down to room temperature, and starts to develop soft to medium peaks. On medium speed, add the butter a few pieces at a time, keeping the mixer on until everything becomes incorporated. The mixture will start to slowly thicken and begin to look more like a buttercream than a meringue as you add the butter.

Once all of the butter is incorporated, mix in the vanilla and cinnamon. Chill in the fridge for later use, or use right away! (I put it on my carrot cake cupcakes when they had cooled!)

I hope you enjoyed my first recipe post! :) There will be plenty more to follow soon!

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