As many of you know, I gave up chocolate for lent. It’s going well so far and I haven’t touched the stuff for 3 weeks which is pretty good going for me, considering it’s one of my favourite ingredients on the planet! But it has left me at a loss of what to eat for pudding. So, I got to work on a carrot cake recipe intended to curb the chocolate craving and (after one failed attempt) created this! These carrot cake muffins are flavoured with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and orange and are doing a brilliant job of making me forget how much I miss chocolate. I even ate one for breakfast last weekend…
For the cake
- 250g spelt flour
- 250g carrots, grated
- 150g coconut oil
- 150g coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 75g apple sauce/puree (I use no added sugar varieties but any will do)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- Zest of 1 orange (you can use the juice for the icing)
- ½ tsp orange extract (optional)
For the icing
- 250g mascarpone
- Juice of one orange
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- Handful of walnuts
- Orange zest
Makes 10-12 cupcakes (or one large cake)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan). If you’d rather bake a large cake instead of cupcakes, grease and line a deep, 9-11 inch cake tin. See step 5 for cooking time.
- Melt the coconut oil in a large mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly. Add the eggs, apple puree, orange extract and orange zest and whisk until fully combined. Add the coconut sugar and stir.
- In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix with a wooden spoon until all the flour has been incorporated. Finally, add the grated carrots and stir again.
- Divide the mixture between the cupcake cases, filling each one about half way to ensure there’s room for the cakes to rise. If baking a large cake, simply pour all the mixture into the cake tin and level with a spatula.
- Cook the cupcakes for 25-30 minutes, or until cooked through and golden on top. If baking a large cake, cook for about 1 hour. The cake is cooked when a skewer, inserted into the middle, comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
- While the cakes are cooling, make the icing. Place the mascarpone into a bowl, add the orange juice and maple syrup and whisk until smooth.
- To assemble, pipe the mascarpone icing onto the top of each cake and drizzle with a little honey. Place one whole walnut on the top of each cake, then chop up the remaining nuts and sprinkle over the cakes. Finally, top with some orange zest and a dusting of cinnamon if desired.
The cakes will last for 3-4 days in the fridge – just remember to remove them from the fridge 20 minutes or so before eating to allow them to come to room temperature. The cooked cakes can also be frozen, without icing, for up to 3 months.