For some completely crazy reason, I had never made a carrot cake until about a year ago, not counting school cookery lessons. I always associated it with nuts like pecans and walnuts, which I don’t eat (hello, fussy eater over here), so I foolishly opted to stay away. That was until one of my wonderful colleagues brought her own carrot cake into the office and blew my mind – it was so tasty and completely nut free!
With inspiration from the lovely Jade, I decided it was time to branch out and make my own, so I set out to nail a new recipe.
I started with the base ingredients (flour, sugar, oil, eggs, carrots – you get the picture) but a lot of the recipes I found included extras like nuts, raisins, applesauce or pineapple to make the cake that bit more interesting, as well as extra moist. I needed something to make my carrot cake cupcakes stand out.
After a bit of trial and error, I found that something. Check out the full recipe below.
This cupcake recipe can also be used to make a layered carrot cake! Grease three 7-inch cake tins, pour in the mixture and bake at 160°C (320°F) for 35-40 minutes.
300g plain flour
200g brown sugar
150g caster sugar
2tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
300ml vegetable oil
200g pitted dates
4 large eggs (room temperature)
1tsp vanilla extract
- Start by adding the pitted dates to a bowl or large jug with 100ml boiling water and soak for 20 minutes. While the dates are soaking, top and tail your carrots and grate – you can do this by hand, but it will take some time, so I’d recommend using a food processor if you have one.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170°C (340°F, gas mark 5) and place 12 cupcake cases into a muffin tin.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl and whisk to combine. In another bowl, mix the oil, sugars and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix.
- When the dates have finished soaking, pour them and the water into a blender and pulse into a thick paste. Add the date mixture and the grated carrots into the batter and fold together.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared cupcake cases, filling to about two thirds of the way, and bake for 22-25 minutes.
- Allow your cupcakes to cool for a few minutes in the tin before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Pair with cream cheese frosting and enjoy!
Why pitted dates, I hear you ask? Dates are typically used in a sticky toffee pudding, adding a unique rich and sticky sweetness that I thought would make the perfect addition to carrot cake cupcakes.
Let me know what you think in the comments!