Carrot and Pistachio Cupcakes

Frequent readers of the blog will know I am a fan of root veg in cakes. From my courgette and lime cupcakes to my butternut squash cake, there’s something about the hearty earthiness of the vegetables and the moisture that they bring to cakes that I love. Combine this with some tooth-achingly sweet cream cheese and citrus frosting and for me this is a winner every time.

How glad I was then, that week eight of the Great British Bake Off included vegetable cakes. These aren’t novelty cakes, these are just some good old home made spiced carrot cakes. Instead of the usual walnuts I’ve used my favourite nut the pistachio (Yep, one would think I have a job lot on pistachios given I use them in EVERYTHING).

Sticky Pinny Carrot and Pistachio Cupcakes

For those who aren’t so sure on vegetable cakes I really think you should give them a try – they stay moist for days and they’re fun to play around with. I’m devising a beetroot recipe at the moment and wondering whether parsnips could work….

The issue with vegetable cakes however, as discussed on GBBO last week, is that because of the moisture in the veg, and because oil tends to be used rather than butter, the texture of the sponge can be quite close, almost dense. I’ve counterbalanced this by separating my eggs and incorporating the egg whites at the end to keep the batter as light as possible.

The result? A fluffy, light spiced cake, with a kick of veggie goodness.

I gave these to our supperclub guests as a take home gift to celebrate Dinner at the Manor’s second birthday. Hopefully they went home with a might fine tasting cupcake!

Do you like vegetable cakes? What’s your favourite?

Sticky Pinny Carrot and pistachio cupcakes 2

Carrot and Pistachio Cupcakes
Makes Approx 16

For the Sponge
400g carrots, peeled and coarsleygrated
350g light soft brown sugar
4 large eggs – 2 whole, 2 seperated
300g plain flour, unsifted
2 tsp baking powder
150g pistachios
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 nutmeg, grated
1/4 tsp salt
Grated zest of 1 orange
175ml sunflower oil

For the Frosting
125g unsalted butter, room temp
200g full fat cream cheese
450g icing sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 orange

To decorate
Chopped pistachios

Preheat the oven to to Gas Mark 4 / 160C (fan) / 180C. Line a muffin tin with paper cases.

Beat the sugar and oil until light and frothy, then add the 2 eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing each one in before the next. Then add the carrots, pistachios and the orange zest. Beat gently

In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix gently into the wet ingredients.

In a clean, grease free bowl, whip up the 2 egg whites to soft peaks. Fold these in thirds into the cake batter, trying not to knock out any air. Ensure there are no streaks of egg white visible and everything is incorporated.

Divide the mixture between the muffin cups and bake for about 20mins, but do check after 18. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes and then transfer onto a cooling rack and leave until completely cold.

For the frosting, beat all of the ingredients well until light and fluffy and pipe onto the cakes. Decorate with pistachios.

Eat. These are perfect with a cup of strong coffee.

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