Carrot cake has been on my mind for a while now. Last month, we were at a wedding where they served up carrot cake for the wedding cake. How brillant... and delicious. People should really do that more often. And then just last week, I had the most perfect slice of carrot cake to top off our dinner at R&D Kitchen in Santa Monica. So, it was serendipitous when I got a big bunch of fresh carrots with our latest CSA pickup from EAT South. I had to make some carrot cake, well, cupcakes to be exact.
Rather than making a traditional, rich and dense carrot cake, I reinvented the classic recipe. What I ended up with was a light, fluffy, and spicy cake. The kick is from the three different kinds of ginger: crystallized, ground, and fresh. Let’s just say this is not what I would call your Grandma’s carrot cake.
- 1 cup cake flour
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 2 large organic eggs
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- ½ lb carrots, peeled
- 2 tbsp crystallized ginger
- ½ inch fresh ginger root, skin removed
- 1 (8 oz) organic cream cheese, softened
- 5 tbsp unsalted organic butter, softened
- 1 tbsp vanilla yogurt
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- preheat oven to 350 degrees F. place cupcake liners in pan.
- place carrots, crystallized ginger, and fresh ginger root in food processor. process until grated finely, set aside.
- in a medium bowl, sift flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
- in a large bowl with a standing mixer, mix together eggs and sugars until the mixture is frothy. with the mixer on, slowly drizzle the oil into the mixture. continue to mix until thoroughly combined. then add in the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. stir in the carrot mixture.
- divide up the batter into the cupcake liners. bake the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs. remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool on a wire rack.
- for the frosting: beat the cream cheese, butter, yogurt, vanilla, and salt together with a mixer until smooth. add in the confectioners’ sugar and mix with a low speed for a few minutes, then increase it to a medium speed. beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
- spread the frosting over the tops of each cupcake and garnish with some crystallized ginger.