Mini Carrot Cake Cupcakes
From Food Network
Now that I’ve gotten the dog/washing machine fiasco story off my chest I can move on to the more successful portions of our Easter celebration. Like these mini cupcakes. I was going to save dessert posts for last, but these were just too darn cute to keep hidden away until late next week.
Over time I’ve discovered the secret to successful desserts in a world of weight-conscious people: make them mini. Serve a platter of 12 huge cupcakes…pass. Teensie weensie ones…oh sure, I’ll just try one, why not! People have done a fine job of convincing themselves that miniature things don’t contain calories, and while that might not be great in the long run, when you slave over a beautiful homemade dessert it’s nice to know you’ll have some takers when the time comes. And I hate to say “slave over,” because these were actually pretty fun to make. At least I thought so, but I was a natural at curling the candied carrot around chopsticks before drying them in the oven. John on the other hand…well, he’s going to keep his day job.
Clockwise from top left: Members of the HMK that DIDN’T pee or poop in an inappropriate place during dinner (see previous post for clarification), One of the two dinner tables for the night, The dessert spread (complete with my mom’s famous sugar cookies and the world’s most delicious lime meltaways, which I promise to post one day), The appetizer table.
Cute Carrot Topping
- 1 medium carrot
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
- 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1 1/2 cups carrot, grated
- 1 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- To make the topping, preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Use a vegetable peeler to shave ribbons from the carrot. Bring 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup water to a simmer in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the carrot strands and simmer until soft, about 10-15 minutes. Drain them at let them cool so you can handle them. Arrange them in a twisty way on a parchment lined baking sheet. I wrapped mine around a chopstick and slid them off in a spiral shape, but I think any shape that will leave them kind of kinky and twisty will work. Bake until dry, 25-30 minutes. Set aside. You can probably do these in advance if you want and store them for a day or two in an airtight container.
- To make the frosting place confectioners sugar, cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until light and creamy. Beat in lemon juice and almond extract. Set aside. This can also be made in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.
- To make the cupcakes preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine flour, almonds, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and allspice in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until almonds are finely ground.
- In a large bowl, whisk together grated carrot, sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract.
- Stir the flour mixture into the carrot mixture and mix until just combined.
- Line a mini-muffin pan with mini-muffin liners. Spoon mixture into cups, filling each about 2/3 full.
- Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 10-15 minutes.
- Transfer cupcakes to a rack and allow to cool completely.
- Pipe or spread frosting on each cupcake and top with a bit of candied carrot.
Makes 48 mini cupcakes.