Carrot “Angel Wing” Cupcakes

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I cannot believe there’s less than a week until Christmas! It’s come up so fast. Time has just flown by. I’m super excited, of course. I love Christmas! Wrapping presents, singing carols, baking…

Ah, yes. Baking. Oh the many delicious treats I love to conjure up during the festive season! Gingerbread cookies shaped like little stars and Christmas trees, buttery shortbread that melts in your mouth, fruit mince pies (which I’ve never actually made… but I like eating them!)
Unfortunately, I’ve hardly had any time to bake. Story of my life, right? I never have time to bake. Yet I somehow run a baking blog. Weird.

I really didn’t want the Christmas season to whiz by without a good amount of delightfully festive treats popping out of my oven. Just tonight I started baking some “Pepparkakor” – a Swedish recipe that I actually got from a Kikki.K catalog (blog post coming soon, I promise!) But while the dough rests in the fridge overnight, I figured I’d share with you a recipe I’ve been making for the past few Christmases which is always a big hit.

So, for the past few years, I’ve whipped up a batch of Carrot Cupcakes to share with my extended family during our annual Christmas gathering. They’re fairly quick and easy, they taste delightful, and your arm gets a good workout grating up the carrots, burning off all those pesky Christmas calories in advance.

Last year, in the spirit of the season, I decided that rather than icing them like regular old cupcakes, I’d make them into “angel wing” cupcakes. I love doing this with cupcakes – it looks so pretty, yet it’s the easiest thing ever – just slice off the top, cut it in half, drop a generous glob of icing onto the cupcake and stick the “wings” on top. And don’t forget to dust them with icing sugar for the whole “fake snow” look!

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Carrot Cupcakes

½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup olive oil
½ cup golden syrup
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup self-raising flour
½ cup plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ cup walnuts or pecans (optional)
250-300g grated carrots

ICING:
250g spreadable cream cheese
½ cup icing sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake liners (if you wish, you may want to get a second tray and add two or three extra liners if you’d prefer smaller cupcakes)
Place brown sugar, oil, eggs, golden syrup and vanilla in a large bowl, and whisk to combine.
Sift flours, bicarbonate soda, and cinnamon over the top and fold through. Add grated carrot (and nuts if using) and stir to combine.
Pour mixture into the muffin tray. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked (the tops of the cupcakes should spring back lightly).
To make the icing, simply place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
When the cupcakes are cooled, carefully slice a circle off the top of each one, and cut each circle in half. Place a spoonful of the icing into each cupcake, then top with two of the halves as “wings”.
Before serving, dust with icing sugar.
Makes 12-15 cupcakes.

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