Carrot and Orange Spice Cupcakes

23 Sept 2016

Carrot cake is a little bit of a "you either love it or you hate it" sort of thing, and I used to be very much so in the "hate it" camp. It's not because of the carrot, but because of the walnuts and raisins that are usually added to the mixture. It wasn't until I started creating recipes and tweaking others to my liking that I actually enjoyed carrot cake! I usually use this recipe when I'm making a 'proper' cake, but as suggested by my other half, I've tweaked it a little to make it suitable for cupcakes. So if you're looking for a nut-free, raisin-free and seriously gorgeous carrot cupcake recipe, this is definitely the one for you.

You might be wondering "what on earth is orange spice?" Well, if I'm being honest, I just didn't know what to call it. In these cupcakes, I use a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to give them a beautiful warmth, which makes them the perfect autumn/winter bake. I also use the zest and the juice of one orange to add just a little extra flavour to them, so combined, you've got orange spice! Of course, without the walnuts and the raisins, you don't have the usual texture of a carrot cake, but with the added spices and orange, you really don't skip out on the flavour. These cupcakes are also very light and fluffy, and that's due to the use of butter instead of oil. Many carrot cakes include oil in the recipe, and this makes them quite dense, but not these fellas! They're the perfect carrot cakes for people that don't like carrot cake. They're ridiculously easy to make, and will be a real winner with everyone, so give them a go!

You will need:
190g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Half teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Half teaspoon ground ginger
Half teaspoon ground nutmeg
Quarter teaspoon salt
110g unsalted butter, softened
110g light brown soft sugar
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
Zest and juice of one orange
440g grated carrots

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Line a cupcake tin with cases of your choice. This recipe should make 12-16 cupcakes, so bear that in mind when lining your tin.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt, then set to one side.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and both of the sugars until they become light and creamy. Beat in the eggs, orange juice and zest until the mixture is well combined. Add in the dry, sifted ingredients, and gently fold them in. Finally, add in the grated carrot and mix well until everything is combined together. It may look a little disgusting, but I promise, it'll be great.
  4. Spoon your mixture into the cupcake cases and pop into the oven. Bake for around 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before removing to a wire rack.
Bonus recipe: Cream Cheese Frosting

You will need:
225g cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
110g unsalted butter, softened
160g icing sugar

  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter to soften it up before adding the icing sugar. Beat these together until they're smooth and light.
  2. Mix in the cream cheese and vanilla extract, and you're done! If you'd like to thicken up the frosting, you can add more icing sugar, or if it's too thick, just add a splash of milk!
Trust me when I say that you'll absolutely love these cupcakes, even if you aren't the biggest fan of carrot. They're light, full of flavour and so simple to make! If you're looking for something to bake this autumn or winter, I certainly recommend these!

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