My mom’s birthday was a little less than a month ago, and to celebrate we had a small family gathering at my parent’s house. I was in charge of dessert! I immediately thought of carrot cake when I started thinking about what I wanted to bring, because my mom is a fan of such cakes as carrot and applesauce cake. The first cake I thought about making was a layered carrot cake that I remembered seeing in an issue of Cook’s Country last year, but since not everyone in my family is a fan of carrot cake, I wanted something that would be a little smaller scale. When perusing one of my favorite cookbooks (Gourmet Today) for ideas I came across these cupcakes, and my mind was made up right then and there. Having not only shredded carrots, but also toasted walnuts and coconut, these cupcakes were really delicious and interesting. The coconut adds a subtle flavor, and because the walnuts are finely chopped, they don’t intrude in the cupcakes, but lend a nice nutty note. The molasses-cream cheese frosting complemented these perfectly, and added even more interest. These would be great with a classic cream cheese frosting as well, but I loved the flavor that the molasses added- I love molasses so much I could eat it by the spoonful!
Makes 12 Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup finely shredded carrots (about 4-5 medium)
1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped and lightly toasted*
1/2 cup sweetened, flaked coconut, lightly toasted**
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
2. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg to a medium bowl, and whisk to combine. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the oil-sugar mixture, and stir together with a wooden spoon until combined. Add the carrots, walnuts, and coconut and stir until just combined.
3. Divide the batter evenly in the muffin tin. The batter will fill them up about 3/4 of the way. (I like to use a large cookie scoop when placing the batter in the tins). Bake about 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick placed into a cupcake comes out cleanly. Remove the cupcake from the tin, and let cool completely on a wire rack. Frost when completely cool.
*To toast walnuts, spread on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree preheated oven for 5-15 minutes, until golden brown and aromatic.
**To toast coconut, spread on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden.
Molasses-Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbsp molasses (not robust)
2 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1. Place all ingredients into a medium bowl, and beat with a wooden spoon until well combined, and fluffy.
Source: Gourmet Today