Mini Carrot Cakes

Given my love of all cakes and all things vegetable it’s taken me nearly 28 years to accept that they can work really well together. I blame far too many dry, over sweet, mass-produced carrot cakes of the past. Hugh F-W inspired me to put beetroot in brownies and squash in cake.

About a month ago I had the sudden urge to bake carrot cake. After some recommendations on Twitter I landed on an adapted Rachel Allen recipe on TheMadHouse. I made the cake a few weeks back and it went down very well so for Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea wanted to adapt it to make mini fairy cake sized carrot cake.  The mindset is that it has carrots in it so it must be good, ahem, we’ll just ignore all the other ingredients. Inspired by a flavour combination my mum suggested to me I’m going to try this cake in a couple of weeks time replacing the carrots and walnuts with courgette & pistachio. We’re planting some unusual varieties of carrots in the garden this year, Purple Haze & Red Samurai. I’m not sure if they will make it into cakes, but they could inject some interesting colour into baking.

What I’ve also learnt recently is although I’m not a big icing fan, to transform a good carrot cake into an amazing carrot cake is that it must have cream cheese icing. The slight tartness of the icing makes all the difference and brings the earthiness out of the carrots. Depending on how thick you want the icing will depend on the type of cream cheese you use. If you use the full fat variety it will make icing you can pipe, the lower fat version (which I used) is not as stiff and can sometimes collapse if piped so if using the lighter version spread it onto the cake rather than piping. These cakes have transformed me and even my cake-hating Father-in-Law to the wonders of a perfectly moist & delicious carrot cake. For an interesting twist on this recipe see my Courgette & Pistachio cake.

Mini Carrot Cakes – adapted from The Best Carrot Cake
Makes around 10 mini cakes

70ml vegetable oil or rapeseed oil, plus extra for greasing
1 eggs
100g muscovado sugar
150g grated carrots, (Don’t bother peeling them. I blitz them in the food processor)
50g raisins
35g pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)
90g self-raising flour
1 tiny pinch of salt
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg or mace
¼ tsp Mixed spice

Orange cream cheese icing

25g cream cheese, chilled
25g butter, at room temperature
½ tsp vanilla extract
125g icing sugar, sifted
½ orange, zest only

1) Preheat oven to 150°c. Line a fairy cake tin with liners or, like me, set out the silicone fairy cake cases on a baking tray.
2) In a large bowl beat the egg, then add the oil, sugar, carrots and nuts. Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.
3) Fill the cases 2/3 full with the mixture. Bake for 30 min, or until cakes are risen and cooked through. Allow to cool before icing.
4) Beat together the cream cheese, vanilla, orange zest and butter then gradually add the icing sugar. The icing sugar will stiffen the icing the more you put in, but taste as you go along to make sure you don’t make it too sweet. Once the icing is ready, spread onto cake and leave for a few hours for the icing to harden slightly.

About Jules

Freelance Food Geek who's passionate about food education. Lives with long-suffering Hubs and 3yo Little Baker (LB) not too far from Derby.

Posted on March 20, 2010, in baking, Cake and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Def has to be cream cheese icing!! These are very cute. Lowen keeps asking to make carrot cake- although she doesn’ seem to like carrots?!? might have to give these a try

  2. Wow this is perfect, I wish I was this talented in the kitchen :)

  3. Oh, they look really gorgeous, I’m so craving carrot cake right now!

    I agree about the icing making the cake, I’m not usually a fan of too much icing on cakes, but carrot cake really does benefit from icing. Love the idea of courgette and pistachio too.

  4. I was just pondering what cake to make today and this popped up in my blog feed. although these look lovely, it’s actually the beetroot brownie recipe I’m going to do since I’ve got some ripe for picking this weekend.

  5. not only do they look delicous but beautiful as well! oooh I think I must make carrot cake now!

  6. Beautiful! You’ve taken a classic and made it look new!

  7. Thank you thank you thank you for such a wonderful recipe!!! It’s really good! I’m a little ashamed to say I’d tried it last night – no messing around! Will post about it tomorrow x

  8. These look lovely, you want to seek out Harry Eastwood’s Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache, I did about 5 recipes from it on my blog last year. She even puts turnips in cake.

  9. Totally agree – cream cheese is the ONLY way for icing carrot cakes. Anything else is just too sweet.

    Yours look fab – pretty and very edible. In fact, I’m sure they have my name on them… ;)

  10. Looks scrummy! And one of your five veg!!!:) xxx

  11. Just wanted to say how lovely your blog is looking – clean, fresh, and delicious. The photos are alwyas stunning and your ideas and inspiration so fun! I don’t know how you have time!

    • Thank you Merlotti. I will admit to struggle with the time at the moment hence why a lot of the stuff I blog about at the moment is baking as photographing it is more flexible that out weekday dinners which are quick and no where near as pretty looking!

  12. I love fruit in cakes (though weirdly not fruitcake). These look delicious!

  13. Ms Butterfly

    Wow … just baked these (and I’m no whizz in the kitchen) and they have turned out lovely. The real test will be tomorrow at the archery competition for whom they were baked!

    The orange zest gives these cakes a certain little extra something.

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