Recipe of the Month : Fluffy carrot cupcakes with brown butter cream cheese frosting
Introducing our latest recipe of the month, a sweet and decadent delight for those who enjoy the naughtier side of life. Simply add friends and a few bottles of Sartori Prosecco to party like a modern-day Marie Antoinette. Let them eat (cup)cake!
What you need
For the Cupcakes:
500g carrots, grated (as finely as you can)
3 large eggs, room temperature
1½ cups caster sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1½ cups canola oil
⅓ cup buttermilk
1½ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups white self-raising flour
1 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground cloves
For the Frosting:
230g butter, room temperature
500g cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
Approx. 2 cups icing mixture
Walnut halves, to garnish
What to do
Making the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line two muffin trays with cupcake papers.
Whisk together eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. When the mixture is translucent and the sugar has dissolved, add the grated carrot and whisk again, making sure the carrot is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
In another bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, and spices. (Do not skip this bit! It helps get extra air and fluffiness into your cupcakes.) Stir flour mixture into carrot mixture until well combined.
Spoon cake batter evenly into your cupcake papers so that they are around three-quarters full. For small cupcakes, about two tablespoons is sufficient, but some larger cupcake papers may need about three.
Bake your cupcakes. The time varies depending on your oven and the size of your cupcakes, but as a guide, small cupcakes will take around 15 minutes and larger cupcakes around 20. They are done when a cake tester inserted into a cupcake comes out clean, and there should be a bit of browning on the top without the cakes turning dark.
Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for a few minutes, and then carefully transfer them to a wire cooling rack to let them finish cooling completely.
Making the frosting:
Heat a small saucepan over medium heat.* Add half the butter and stir it until melted, then continue stirring it until it has browned. You’ll know you butter has browned because more and more flecks of it will turn a lovely deep caramel colour, and it will smell strongly of hazelnuts. Once the butter is browned, pour it into a small bowl or jug to cool. Don’t leave it in the saucepan or it will continue to cook and burn.
Cream together the remaining butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the cooled browned butter (scrape all the brown flecks into your frosting) and vanilla extract, and beat until smooth once again.
Add icing mixture, one cup at a time, beating well between each addition. The amount of icing mixture you use is a matter of taste, but keep in mind you will probably need around two cups just to make your frosting stable enough to pipe or spread.
Decorate your cupcakes:
When your frosting is ready and your cupcakes are completely cool (never frost warm cakes!), you can frost them with the icing. To achieve the icing effect in the photographs, fit a piping bag with a choux pastry piping tip (about 1cm in diameter).
Fill the piping bag with frosting, hold the piping bag directly above the cupcake and pipe a “drop” of frosting straight down onto the cupcake. Repeat until all cupcakes are frosted.
Garnish each cupcake with a walnut half.
*If you have it, use a saucepan with a light-coloured inner coating, such as a small French oven, as it will make it easier to see when your butter has browned.
Makes 2 dozen large cupcakes or 3 dozen small (not miniature) cupcakes.
The “drop” piping for the frosting suits a soft frosting with less icing sugar mix, but the more sugar you add, the stiffer your frosting will be, and the easier it will be to pipe with a star tip or similar.