I feel like the baking world is slightly saturated with cupcakes at the minute, but I suddenly came up with the idea for these cupcakes and felt that I had to try them out. After learning about making edible sugar vegetables at my sugar craft class, I wanted to try making some little carrots and it sparked the idea of a slightly spiced carrot cakes, topped with a delicious cream cheese frosting and decorated with these extremely cute carrots, growing out a little pile of ‘soil’.
Makes 12 domed cupcakes
two medium eggs
175g or 6 oz caster sugar
150ml sunflower oil
200g or 7 oz self-raising flour
two teaspoons of mixed spice
a teaspoon of cinnamon
two carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
a teaspoon of vanilla extract
finely grated zest of an orange
Preheat the oven to 170°C (fan oven)/ 180°C/ 350 Fahrenheit/ gas mark 4 and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cupcake cases
Grab a large bowl and sift the flour and spices into it to thoroughly mix them. If you prefer a stronger kick of spice in your carrot cake, feel free to replace the mixed spice with ground ginger. Place the coarsely grated carrots on top and mix everything together. It’s always sensible to coat things like dried fruit and grated veg in flour before incorporating them into a batter, as this flour coating prevents them from sinking to the bottom of the sponge.
Place the eggs, sugar and oil into another large bowl and beat using an electric whisk for a few minutes. You want the mixture to be light and fluffy. Once it reaches this point, gently fold in the flour, spices and grated carrot mixture, together with the vanilla extract and orange zest. Gently mix until everything is just combined as over mixing will make the light cupcakes tough.
Spoon the mixture into the paper cases. If you have an ice cream scoop, this is fantastic for spooning out cupcakes as using it means that each of the cupcakes will be the exact same size, but if not, just careful spoon out the mixture evenly using a couple of dessert spoons. Bake in the centre of the pre-heated oven for twenty to twenty five minutes or until well risen and golden brown. Once cooked, place the carrot cupcakes onto a wire cooling rack as soon as possible to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting
110g or 4 oz soft unsalted butter
300g or 11 oz cream cheese
100g or 3 and a half oz icing sugar
Beat the butter until soft and then add the cream cheese, beating again until everything is combined. If you want to use an electric mixer for this, use one fitted with a beater attachment rather than a whisk attachment to prevent too much air being incorporated into the frosting. Sift in the icing sugar and stir until smooth. Feel free to add a few drops of milk if you feel the frosting is too stiff to pipe.
Spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a ‘plain’ nozzle and place to one side
30g or 1 oz digestive biscuits (roughly 2)
a few drops of black food colouring
Break up the digestives into pieces and place into bowl. Smash to very fine crumbs using the end of a rolling pin. You want the crumbs to be really fine as you’re trying to make soil, and big biscuit crumbs might give you away a bit. Once you have the biscuits pounded into dust, add a few drops of black food colouring and mix together using a spoon. Make sure you break up any large chunks held together with the food colouring to give an even colour and keep adding black until you are happy with your soil
This edible soil is proving very useful at the minute. I turned a blue buttercream coated lemon cake into a ceremic pot, topped of with ‘soil’ and planted with a sugar bonsai tree for a cake I made recently. If you are interested in all thing sugar craft, feel free to check out my sugar craft posts be clicking on the sugar craft tab on the right hand side of the page or by checking out the celebration cakes page.
golf ball sized amount of marzipan
half golf ball sized amount of flower paste (if you want to make your own, please find the instructions on the hydrangea post)