To counteract more delays in our renovation, the imminent yet always ongoing EU crisis, and turning yet another year older (better than the alternative, but still) I offer:
Celebrating fall with these lovely spicy cupcakes.
I used a recipe from Fine Cooking. I picked this one because it didn´t list crushed pineapple or pecans - which I don´t have.
For the cake:
1 cup canola, corn, or vegetable oil; more for the pans
2 cups (9 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pans
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1-3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. table salt
4 large eggs
2-1/2 cups (8-3/4 oz.) lightly packed, finely grated carrots
2 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup raisins
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Make the cake
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil and flour the sides of two 9x2-inch round cake pans, tapping out any excess flour. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the oil, eggs, carrots, brown sugar, walnuts, raisins, and vanilla on medium speed until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just blended, about 30 seconds. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
Bake until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed and a cake tester inserted into the centers comes out clean, 28 to 30 minutes.
Let cool in the pans on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the inside edge of the pans to loosen the cakes, invert them onto the rack, remove the pans, and carefully peel away the parchment. Set the cakes aside to cool completely before frosting.
I got 12 cupcakes out of this recipe - baked for approximately 25 minutes. I cut back on the white sugar by about 1/4 cup. I was also a little heavy handed with the spices.
Quite tasty! Although they are lighter both in color and texture than I remember carrot cake. The flavor does improve overnight. I´ve frozen half to see how they keep.
You can find a cream cheese frosting recipe at the link. I improvised with grated orange zest and a squeeze of the juice mixed with some cream cheese and powdered sugar. I´m always a little appalled at the quantity of sugar called for in icing recipes. It turned out a bit watery, so it wouldn´t hold a piped shape - I salvaged by rolling the sides in crushed walnuts.