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Bringing Home the Bakin'

bake my cake and eat it, too

Bugs Bunny really knew what it was all about: carrots… well, carrot cake.  This mother’s day I was determined to buy my mom something I knew she REALLY wanted.  It’s not very often that my mom is forthcoming about what it is she actually wants, so usually we have to guess; fortunately for me, I paid extra-close attention this year and I hit the jackpot.  I figured out that she really wanted Thomas Keller’s cookbook Ad Hoc at Home, so we surprised her with it.  Upon flipping through its glossy pages, I came across a gem: carrot cake cupcakes.  My physics teacher has been begging me for a carrot cake ever since he found out about my blog, but I was leery about making another layer cake, so I decided upon carrot cake cupcakes.  After scouring through carrot cake recipes, none seemed right… until this one.  It was exactly what I was looking for, and it was specifically for cupcakes so I wouldn’t have to modify it at all.  My immediate family and my grandma (who have the most discerning palates ever) all loved the cupcakes, as well as my entire physics class and my teacher.  I think they even converted one or two chocolate-only-lovers into carrot cake lovers, as well.  I really hope everyone tries this recipe.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes – Thomas Keller, Ad Hoc at Home

2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
3 cups finely shredded carrots
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped toasted walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting (makes about 3 cups)
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the eggs, milk, vanilla and both sugars until smooth.  Beat in the oil.  Slowly, add the dry ingredients.  Mix in the carrots and 1 cup of the chopped walnuts.

Divide the batter among with lined cupcake cups.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Rotate the pan and bake for another 10 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden skewer inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Remove the cupcakes from the tins and let cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until smooth.  Add the butter and mix until smooth.  Beat in the powdered sugar, then add the vanilla.  Scrape down the sides and beat for 30 seconds on high speed.

Spread the tops of the cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with the remaining chopped walnuts.  The cupcakes are best frosted and eaten the day they are baked, but they can be refrigerated for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before serving.


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