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Best Ever Carrot Cake

Makes 16 cupcakes (or 1 cake)

Preparation Time: 20 minutes / Cooking Time: 25 minutes + cooling + 5 minutes icing

I love a good carrot cake, and have used this recipe for years. I’ve made cupcakes many times for events and birthdays, and I made the cake version during my Good Parsi Brother’s Big Canadian wedding. It was an absolute hit, earning the title of the ‘Best Carrot Cake Ever’. It is extremely moist and is mixed by hand (except for the icing, of course!). You can convert this recipe into a cake very easily – please read the notes during the recipe for conversion tips. Enjoy!

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • ½ cup dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 300g peeled carrots (will equate to 2 ½ cups when grated)
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 200g plain flour, sifted
  • 1 heaped tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 generous pinch of salt
  • 16 extra whole walnuts, for decoration

For the cream cheese icing:

  • 100g cream cheese, cubed and at room temperature
  • 1 tbl freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 200g pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 50g butter, at room temperature

Method

  1. Put the apricots in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 10 minutes to swell and soften. Drain and leave to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, grate the peeled carrots.
  3. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  4. Add the cooled apricots, grated carrot, olive oil, sugar, eggs, chopped walnuts, vanilla extract and grated ginger into a large mixing bowl and stir gently until combined.
  5. Add the sifted flour, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and salt and fold in gently until combined.
  6. Line 2 muffin trays with 16 cupcake cases and divide the mixture evenly in the cases with a spoon. NOTE – If baking a cake, line a 25cm springform tin with baking paper and pour entire mixture in.
  7. Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes until they have risen slightly and a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
  8. Remove cupcakes from oven when cooked and leave to cool in muffin tray for 10 minutes.
  9. Transfer cupcakes in their cases to a wire rack to cool down completely. NOTE – If baking a cake, bake for 45-60 minutes, until skewer comes out clean when inserted in middle of cake. Leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes, and then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool down completely.
  10. To make the icing, beat all icing ingredients for 20 - 30 seconds in a food processor until combined and fluffy.
  11. Put icing in a piping bag with a medium sized star nozzle, and leave in the freezer to cool and firm up for 1 hour.
  12. Pipe a small swirl on each cooled cupcake, and top with a whole walnut. NOTE – If baking a cake, spread frosting on top of the cake and top with extra walnuts and flaked almonds if preferred. You can also carefully slice the cake in half to add an extra layer of cream cheese icing if desired.

Enjoy! GPW