We have always had a family tradition of making a special cake, cupcake or pie for a loved one’s birthday. My mother’s request was always a carrot cake, mine was apple pie and Byron always requests pecan pie for his special day.
This weekend we have some very dear guests staying with us. They have been very kind to us over the years- especially when Harrison hurt his paw and needed some special nursing care and love. Patricia and Jim went out and bought special bandages and creams to keep Harrison’s paw protected. We were so touched and happy to report Harrison’s paw healed after Patricia’s experienced care.
When I heard it was Jim’s birthday- I asked what was his favorite cake. I just had to smile when I heard it was carrot as I have made many of them over the years for my mom’s birthdays and afternoon teas at the inn. My first thought was to make my mom’s recipe but remembering that I had promised myself to try new recipes this year rather then making the tried and true- I turned to my trusty cookbook collection. I found the perfect recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks- Flour!
Oh my goodness, this cupcake is divine- incredibly moist, loaded with carrots, roasted walnuts and raisons and a perfectly sweetened cream cheese frosting. I always learn something after making a Flour recipe. The author Joanne Chang, is always including helpful baking tips and her recipes have never let us down. Shown below is her Classic Carrot Cake Recipe. We always love to make cupcakes as they are a perfect 2-3 bite of heaven. They are fun to decorate and are also perfect for a birthday celebration.
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- ¾ cup canola oil
- 3 tablespoons buttermilk
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons unbleached flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 cups tightly packed shredded carrots
- ½ cup raisons
- ½ cup walnuts, roasted and chopped
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- 12 ounces cream cheese (left out at room temperature for 4 hours)
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1⅔ cups confectionary sugar
- Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350. Butter and flour an 8" cake pan or line 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners. Using a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment (or a handheld mixer) beat together the eggs and brown sugar on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes, or until the mixture is light and thick (this step will take 8-10 minutes if using a hand mixer). In a small bowl whisk together the oil, buttermilk and vanilla. On low speed, slowly pour the oil mixture into the egg-sugar mixture. This should take about 30 seconds)
- In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger. With a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture. When most of the flour mixture has been incorporated add the carrots, walnuts and raisons and continue folding until all the ingredients are mixed. Pour mixture into the cake pans or cup cake tins.
- Bake the cake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes (or the cupcakes for about 50 minutes) or until the tops are golden brown and springs back when pressed in the middle with a fingertip. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
- To make the frosting while the cake is baking, place the softened cream cheese in the stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat on middle speed for about 1 minute. Scrape the sides with a spatula.( If you have forgotten to take out the cream cheese 4 hours before you can always microwave it on medium for 30 seconds.) Add the softened butter and beat for another minute. Scrape down the sides again and add the confectioner's sugar. Beat for another minute, or until thoroughly mixed. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours before frosting. This helps spread or maneuver the frosting in a pastry bag.
Happy birthday Jim- wishing you years of good health and happiness and many more birthday celebrations with Carrot Cupcakes.