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Thursday 16 December 2010

Pumpkin Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I am not a carrot cake.

People tell you that carrot cake was invented to use up gluts of carrots. I don't know if that is true or not (and we'll never know), but I figured that since I didn't have any carrots in the house recently, I could substitute a pumpkin and still get away with it. We had three lined up on the kitchen window sill, see, and I was worried I would have to dust them if they stayed around much longer.

I do dust. But not squashes.

As it happened, I didn't walk away from the experience entirely free of regret (I mean, have you ever tried grating a whole pumpkin with a box grater? Well, don't.), but that's fine; I take immense pleasure in celebrating my autocracy.

'I decide, OK? I say who, I say when... I say... WHO!'

(Name the film for five bonus cool points. In fact, it's nearly Christmas; make it ten.)

Flavour wise, though, pumpkin was a good choice. As was following Rose's recipe. Have I ever made so many recipes from a single volume? I doubt it. They should call her 'The Cake Lady', if they don't already.

Recently I was delighted to be proven right when I said that I thought a cookie recipe I posted would be one people actually got up and made, and I think this cake should have the same effect. I know a lot of people have carrot cake recipes that they think are 'the ultimate', the 'ne plus ultra', the 'best', and so on and so forth, and to them I say this:

'You are wrong'.

For until you've added cocoa to the batter mix (and, let's face it, changed the carrots for pumpkin), well, basically you just don't know. So there.

I made one full quantity of Rose's recipe and was delighted to find that it made enough for me to make one big cake to take home to the family for the weekend (12+ servings), and a tray of 12 cupcakes to freeze for later. It's what I'd call an investment.

If you're visiting family this weekend, and have a sister like mine (who basically tells me not to bother coming if I'm not bringing cake), I recommend you seek out that box grater and get the oven on.

Classic Carrot Cake (but without carrots!)
adapted from Rose's Heavenly Cakes

300g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp cinnamon
300g caster sugar
100g soft brown sugar
315ml vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
450g grated carrots or pumpkin (unpeeled)

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and grease and line 2 x 24cm cake tins, or make one cake that size and use a 12 hole muffin tin for the rest of the mixture.
  2. In a large bowl, place the flour, salt, bicarb, baking powder, cocoa, cinnamon and sugars and mix gently together with a wire whisk to ensure the leavenings are evenly distributed.
  3. In another bowl, mix the oil, eggs and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix thoroughly. Then fold in the pumpkin (or carrots), and divide the batter amongst the tins.
  4. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean and free of crumbs. The cupcakes will take about 30 minutes only.
  5. Frost the cakes when cool with white chocolate cream cheese frosting. Remember to lick the bowl.


  1. I've been searching for the perfect satay recipe for a while now... shall have to give yours a try!

  2. Pumpkin and Carrot together sound awesome. That's even 2 out of your 5 a day!!

  3. Okay now...i have had the hardest time getting my frosting to form like that...no matter what I do, it won't work. It becomes loose and all runny...It only happened when I started making frosting here in the UK because I can't find the normal stuff I would use in the states. Help!

  4. Did you really grate a whole pumpkin with a box grater? I tried that for a Harry Eastwood recipe and nearly had a heart attack after generating less than 100g. After that, I decided I was getting myself a Kenwood Chef for definite!

  5. Julia Roberts, pretty woman, I think

  6. Anonymous - You are so cool. :)

    T. - Full fat cream cheese and the patience to let it firm up. Or dump a load of icing sugar in. But patience is best!

  7. Mr. P, your Non-Carrot Cupcakes are beautiful! You can come over and see my carrot cake recipe. It is really, really good; but I have never in all these years made it into cupcakes. It's been on my blog schedule for some time but keeps getting pushed back. I've made pumpkin cupcakes before, but from pureed pumpkin. It has never occurred to me to GRATE pumpkin. You just might be onto something!

  8. Pretty Woman!! That's one of my favorite lines, along with "You work on commission, don't you? Big mistake. Big. Huge."

    These look so yummy I would have been drooling no matter what you put in them. :o)

  9. you might have started a trend here as im sure many ppl would have pumpkins sitting around gathering dusts! :D looks nice and the frostings so pretty.

  10. I just threw three sugar pumpkins away! Never occurred to me that i would ever dust them!

    You really grated a pumpkin?? and used it RAW in the recipe? I have never made anything with raw pumpkin. I have always roasted it first, and used it as a puree.

    WOW, my hat is off to you ...:) Hope you did not need to many Band-aids on your knuckles

  11. I am going to make these cupcakes for the name alone!! I love it Carrot Cupcakes no Carrot!! Plus they look fantastic!

  12. How interesting. Grated pumpkin instead of carrots. I love pumpkin and I love Rose's book. Will have to try that. I bet it would work great with grated zucchine (courgette) too.


That's what he said.

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