Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing

I wanted something luscious and sweet and treaty: a cake not a breakfast scourge - Nigella Lawson
Well, I would definitely not describe these as a "scourge". Sweet and treaty yes, scourge no. Although I have to say, the mix, before it is cooked, looks a bit, well, to use my husband's analogy, "like something the cat vomited up" (apologies to any readers who may be eating whilst reading this!!).
But honest, while it doesn't look like much when mixing, they do taste delicious. Particularly with the icing - just a hint of lime in the cream cheese icing - which gives these a little extra tang.

The verdict
Unusual or substituted ingredients: The recipe calls for grated zest of an orange or a satsuma. Have no idea what a satsuma is (well, I do now, I googled it and it's a tangerine, in the same family as a mandarin) so I just used an orange. Boy was it hard to zest. I really must get myself a zester (and stop saying zest. It just sounds like a wrong word now!). The recipe also uses light muscovado sugar. As I discovered with the gingerbread, this is just ordinary brown sugar. Walnuts are also supposed to be added, chopped, to the mix. I don't like them much, so I just left them out. And the suggested walnut halves to decorate the top of each once iced, I also ignored. They look just a little bit too much like cockroaches to be used as a decoration!

Special utensils or cookware: None. I used a hand-beater and that was fine. See above re investing in a zester though - the recipe uses both orange and lemon zest.
Repeatability: I would make these again - especially for a morning tea or similar - sometimes individual cupcakes go down better than a whole cake. The recipe is supposed to make 12, I only got 9. For some reason, I never get as many muffins or cupcakes out of Nigella's recipes as she suggests. Either the UK pans are a different size, or I put too much mix in each...not sure which!

what do you think? Too much mix in each pan?

Sauciness: These are quite "vanilla" in their sauciness - but a good option for a fussy crowd. Slightly healthy option (well, when compared to, say, dense chocolate loaf - stay tuned for that one!). A fair amount of mess while cooking, but not too much.

Overall pleasure level: I'll give these a 7, for all the reasons described above. Not decadent, but quite luscious. Very eatable.


And for the observant among you, you may have noticed the striking similarity of the first photo of these cupcakes and one of our buttons - see over there on the right...Well, clearly it is because it is the same picture, made very beautifully into a button by Jae - a knitblogger we've never met but who so kindly answered our plaintive plea for assistance on button making with great enthusiasm and who did a fantastic job capturing the look and feel of our blog on these buttons! Thanks Jae - a little thankyou package will shortly be winging its way across the Pacific Ocean to you - unfortunately, it will not contain potato bread!