Carrot Cupcakes by Alma

Can you believe I hadn’t tried carrot cupcakes or carrot cake until very recently? This may look very long but, bear with me for a second, ok?

I was living abroad for a year many, many years ago. I lived in Leeds (UK) while I was finishing my studies. I loved it! It was everything I expected and more! OK, I have to admit the first weeks were difficult but only because I had never listened to somebody from the North speaking! It was such a change from what I had been listening to and studying. The thing is that one of the many things I discovered there was my love for cooking, specially sweets. I discovered and fell in love with Jamie Oliver. At the time he had just published The Return of the Naked Chef and the second series of The Naked Chef was on TV so you can imagine how long ago that was! He was great! He had a way of explaining how to do things and you could (still can!) see he enjoyed himself so much! I got his first book for my birthday and from that moment on I got hooked on cooking books! Specially Jamie’s!

So, one of the sweets that I found out about was muffins: with blueberries, chocolate chunks, cream cheese, lemon, you name it! One day, while we were doing the shopping I saw a box with a carrot cake in it. It looked nice but I didn’t really eat that many carrots. I mean, they are in my diet in different dishes but I had never associated it with sweets. So it didn’t really attract me, so I didn’t try it. Later on, actually, this year, I thought if everyone was praising it and enjoying it so much and trying so many different ways of baking it and I was reading so many recipes, maybe it was sign that I should stop being so obtuse and give it a try! But then a slight problem came up: which recipe? There are sooooo many. Then, beautiful Alma came to the rescue! She posted this recipe and since I trust her, I knew I had to try it. Let me say these cupcakes are gorgeous: soft and sweet, spongy, fluffy. Come on, let’s get to it!

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By the way, I got an iPhone (finally) and I’m using Instagram to take some photographs of the food I’m making. I really like it and I think these pics are far better than the ones I took with my brother’s camera! Some of the recipes have Instagram pics and others “traditional” pics! I think it’s high time I learnt how to take photographs with Edu’s camera so I think I’ll just ask him to teach me!

Now, back to the recipe, I have to say I have a slight problem with frostings and so on. See the thing is I feel so guilty when the recipes call for 100gr of butter or 300gr of icing sugar or 300gr of cream cheese… it seems too much. My family and friends sort of feel a bit put off by so much sugar and so I don’t do any frosting! I know I shouldn’t but I can’t help it. I think they’ll just scrape it off the cupcake and it’ll be just a muffin. And I don’t want that to happen. However, I found a frosting they loved, and so did I. It’s the one on the chocolate Guinnes cake and that’s the one I usually prepare for cakes. I know what you are going to say: you what?? That has even MORE sugar and fat than the other frostings and buttercreams! Indeed, but I got the hang of it and buttercreams sort of freak me out a little! In my defence I’ll say I prepare two thirds of the original recipe, and that’s enough. Believe me! All of this was to tell you that, although I used Alma’s recipe (tweaked it a little bit, though), I didn’t do the frosting. It’s on my list of future recipes/buttercreams/challenges.

Ingredients

  • 140 gr of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 115 gr of sugar (lately, I reduce the amount of sugar everywhere, this one to 100 gr approximately)
  • 120 ml of oil (doesn’t have to be olive, it needs to be something lighter)
  • 150 gr of grated carrot
  • 140 gr of grated apple

How to do it

Preheat the oven at 180º. Sieve the flour, baking soda and cinnamon together in a bowl and reserve. Peel and grate the carrots and the apples. Put them in a bowl and reserve. Sometimes I put a little bit more of carrot than the recipe calls for so the cake looks more orange ( I know, weird, right?). Mix the eggs with the sugar and the oil for a couple of minutes or so, until the mixture is homogeneous. Add the flour/baking soda/cinnamon mixture and mix well but do not overdo it. With a spatula add the carrot and apple and mix with it. AS you can see in the following photograph, this time I decided to add something else: chocolate chips! They were great! Fill the cupcake wrappers to 3/4 of their capacity. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until we insert a skewer and it comes out clean. Take the tray out of the oven but leave the cupcakes for 5 minutes more and then take them out of the tray. Let them cool on a rack.

You could eat them like that, actually I encourage you to eat them JUST LIKE THAT. From my point of view they are gorgeous on their own. Healthy and tasty and soft. Now, if you want a frosting, thi is Alma’s cream cheese icing recipe!

Ingredients

  • 125 gr cream cheese (Philadelphia type, full fat)
  • 60 gr butter at room temperature
  • 300 gr icing sugar (See? This is what I was taling about? Guilty, guilty, guilty!)
  • 1 tablespoon of milk

How to do it

Mix the butter together with the icing sugar and the milk but cover the bowl first! Otherwise you’ll sprinkle the sugar around the kitchen! When everything is well mixed, add the cream cheese that has to be very cold. Mix for a few minutes until the mixture is creamy and white. Cover with a knife, palette or pastry bag. Or a spoon. Or eat it from the bowl. Enjoy!!

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¿Podéis creer que hasta hace poco no había probado el bizcocho de zanahoria? Puede que os parezca muy largo pero, aguantad un poco, de acuerdo?

Hace varios años, muchos la verdad, viví un año en el extranjero. Viví en Leeds (Reino Unido) mientras hacía un Master en traducción. ¡Me encantó! Fue cuanto me esperaba y más. Sí es cierto que las primeras semanas fueron duras pero sólo porque nunca había escuchado a nadie del norte del país. ¡Menudo cambio de lo que había estado escuchando y estudiando! El caso es que una de las muchas cosas que descubrí fue mi pasión por cocinar, especialmente dulces. Descubrí y me enamoré perdidamente de Jamie Oliver. En aquel momento acababa de publicar The Return of the Naked Chef y la segunda temporada de su programa The Naked Chef se emitía en teevisión, así que os podéis imaginar cúantos años han pasado. ¡Era lo más! Su manera de explicar cómo hacer las cosas te dejaba ver cúanto disfrutaba con ello, y todavía lo hace. Me regalaron su primer libro para mi cumpleaños aque año y desde entonces me enganché a los libros de cocina, sobre todo a los de Jamie.

De modo que uno de los dulces que descubrí fue las muffins: conn arándanos, trozos de chocolate, crema de queso, limón, lo que queráis. Un día, mientras hacíamos la compra vi una caja con un bizcocho de zanahoria. Tenía buena pinta pero yo no comía muchas zanahorias. Sí, formaban parte de mi dieta pero nunca la habría asociado con los dulces. De manera que no me atraía demasiado y no la probé. Más tarde, bueno el año pasado en realidad, pensé que si todo el mundo lo alababa y había tantas recetas distintas y yo había encontrado varias quizá todo aquello era un signo de que debería de ser tan cabezona y probar, no? Entonces surgió un pequeño problema: ¿qué receta hacer? ¡Hay tantas! Y la encantadora Alma llegó al rescate. Ella subió esta receta y como me fío de ella al 200% supe que tenía que intentarlo. Tengo que decir que estos cupcakes son maravillosos: dulces, esponjosos, suaves.

Por cierto, finalmente me hice con un iPhone y estoy empleando Instagram para hacer las fotos de la comida que hago. Me gusta mucho, la verdad, y creo que las fotos con bastante mejores que las que hice con la cámara de mi hermano. Algunas de las recetas a partir de ahora tendrán fotos Instagram y otras “tradicionales”. De todas formas, creo que va siendo hora de que aprenda a hacer fotos con la cámara de Eduardo así que le pediré que me enseñe.

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De vuelta a la receta, tengo que decir que tengo un ligero problema con las coberturas y frostings y demás. Lo que me pasa es que me siento fatal cuando la receta pide 100gr de mantequilla o 300gr de azúcar glas o 300gr de queso crema…. me parece demasiado. Mis amigos y familia casi se sienten desanimados con tanto azúcar así que muy pocas veces hago frosting. Sé que no debería pero no puedo evitarlo. Creo que lo quitarán del cucpcake y se quedará en una muffin. Y no quiero que eso pase. Sin embargo, he encontrado un frosting que sí les gusta, y a mí también. El de la tarta de Guinness. De manera que lo preparo para otras recetas también. Sé lo que vais a decir: ¿qué? Tiene más azúcar y grasas que otros frostings y coberturas. Sí. lo sé. Pero este lo controlo y las buttercreams todavía me imponen algo. En mi defensa diré que sólo preparo 2/3 de la receta original y es más que suficiente, ¡creedme! Todo este rollo es para contaros que aunque utlicé la receta de Alma (la modifiqué ligeramente, en realidad), no hice frosting. Está en mi lista de futuros retos/recetas/buttercreams.

Aquí tenéis la receta. Dadle las gracias a Alma. Es todo obra suya.

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Esta foto es del día de Nochebuena. Hice bizcocho de zanahoria para el cumpleaños de mi tío y le puse frosting. Impresionante. Sin palabras. El pastel Ruso a su lado no lo hice yo.

Ah, y disfrutad de ellos con o sin frosting. Maravillosos.

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