After successfully using carrots to make both soup and muffins, I have reached the moment you’ve been waiting for (and by “you” I mean “mom”). The third and final installment of Carrotapalooza! Also known as the time I finally use carrots in the most obvious baked form and put them in a cake! Or little cup-sized cakes as was the case here.
About a year ago, I stumbled upon some recipes on the Taste of Georgetown site and made a note to revisit the site when the opportunity presented itself. Well, this past summer, the first opportunity appeared.
We were visiting my family in Indiana and after my family spent the week catering to us, we returned the favor and prepared dinner for everyone, complete with the Sprinkles strawberry cupcake recipe listed on the site. While everyone claimed to love the meal, including the dessert, I was not thrilled with the outcome of the cupcakes for a few reasons. One, I followed the advice of some recipe reviews and added extra strawberries to the frosting, which added flavor but impacted the texture. Two, the frosting-to-cupcake ratio was quite high and would have been better suited for mini cupcakes. And three, trying to keep buttercream frosting from melting on a 100-degree day in July is nearly impossible unless you consume the cupcake the moment it comes out of the fridge, which sacrifices the moisture of the cake.
In the end, I do not think the cupcakes were bad. It is that they required a lot of preparation while I was trying to prepare the rest of the meal, so I suppose I had unrealistic expectations of a perfect result. I plan on trying this recipe again and adjusting it to address the concerns I noted above. One, I will not increase the amount of strawberries based on the reviews. Two, I will make mini, bite-sized cupcakes instead of frosting-heavy, regular-sized cupcakes. Three, I will avoid making them on days with triple-digit temps. And finally, I will make sure I make these when I am not trying to prepare an elaborate dinner at the same time.
My attempt at Sprinkles strawberry cupcakes may have been less than ideal, but I was not about to give up on my grand plans to try other Taste of Georgetown recipes. And fortunately, the next opportunity was a lot more successful.
Thanksgiving was nearing and I was planning to contribute a couple of desserts. I had just finished making an apple pie like the one I tried and posted here, and as I was considering making another one, I opened the fridge to see that never-ending bag of carrots staring back at me. Light bulb moment! I remembered seeing a carrot cake recipe on the Taste of Georgetown site, and while risky considering my previous cupcake flop, I was eager to try the recipe.
If you live in the DC metro area, you may have had the pleasure of trying the delicious handcrafted baked goods from Baked and Wired, one of the bakeries/cupcakeries in the now oversaturated Georgetown cupcake market. However, whether or not you’re local, you now have the opportunity make their famous carrot cake cupcakes at home!
- 2 ¼ (11.5) oz. all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 1 ½ cup canola oil
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted, and cooled (I purchased toasted and chopped pecans to reduce the time)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If making a round cake, grease and flour two 9” pans. If making cupcakes, place cupcake liners in 16 regular-sized cupcake holders.
Whisk together all dry ingredients.
Blend all ingredients at low speed, except nuts.
Now it is time to change things up from the normal mixing routine with the paddle attachment. Use the WHISK attachment on the mixer and whisk for 3 minutes on high.
Stir in pecans.
Pour the batter evenly into the lined cups about 2/3 to 3/4 full.
Bake for 34 minutes. The recipe did not specify if this was for the round cakes or cupcakes. While this amount of time seemed high for cupcakes, as most baking times tend to range from 18-23 minutes, I baked my 16 cupcakes for nearly 34 minutes and kept an eye on them to make sure they did not overbake. I cannot imagine round cakes would bake for much longer than 34 minutes since they tend to bake between 25-35 minutes.
When finished baking, remove and allow to cool.
Cream Cheese Icing:
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 8 oz. cream cheese, room temp
- 1 lb. 8 oz. powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon evaporated milk (may not need)
Blend together all the ingredients. Apply to cooled cake or cupcakes. Here is my first attempt at using a piping bag/tube. It could use work.
Spread additional ½ cup of chopped and toasted pecans over the icing for decoration. You can see I got a little tip-happy with the piping options as a first-timer.
These were a hit and I will definitely make again. My family said the cake was really good but the cream cheese frosting took them over the top. Who knew that the one thing that left me unimpressed with the strawberry cupcakes would be the same thing that won the approval of the carrot cupcakes?
Now that I finally reached the end of my 10-pound bag of carrots without turning my skin orange, I think we were convinced it was a worthwhile purchase. I’m sure it is only a matter of time before we find carrots taking over our fridge again just begging for a return of Carrotapalooza!