A baby shower seemed like the perfect excuse to flex my cupcake baking muscles. I found a delicious sounding carrot cake recipe from the wonderful Delia Smith, the British equivalent of Martha, the last time I saw her on the telly she had so much bright lighting I wondered if her kitchen was based on the surface of the sun. Her recipes are always delicious, she's helped me with marmalade and all sorts of recipes and she has a pretty extensive website with absolutely delicious recipes. This was no exception- a low fat recipe where the addition of syrup after the baking imparts the most succulent gooey cake, more the kind that might be slowly savored with a fork than chomped in hand as a quick snack.
Never having had a fresh cranberry, I popped one in my mouth to see what they taste like and YOWZERS! They are quite tart! So I added quite a lot of sugar. I gather this is a baking faux pas(one should always stick to the recipe or things go horribly wrong), but the cakes came out really delicious. Thankfully the cranberries baked down really nicely and didnt just taste horribly bitter. It seems to me that they need to be cooked to be enjoyed unless you're the kind of person that likes to chew on lemons for a snack.
My changes to the original Delia recipe were adding more sugar, subbing cranberries for some of the cranberries and omitting the raisins. I also added some walnuts as to me, carrot cake has to have walnuts. I left out the lemon juice to the syrup as I didn't need any more tart! The cream cheese frosting needed a little more sugar to my taste.
Recipe (derived from How to Cook Book One-Delia Smith)
7oz (200g) dark brown soft sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
4 fl oz (120ml) sunflower oil
7 oz wholemeal flour
1 1/2 level teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons mixed spice
1/2 tsp salt
grated zest 1 orange
5 oz (150g) carrots, peeled and grated
5oz (150g) cranberries
1/2 cup (60g) walnut pieces
juice 1/2 orange
3oz (80g) sugar
8oz low fat cream cheese
1 1/2 oz (40g) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325f and put cup cake papers in a muffin tin
Whisk the sugar eggs and oil together in a bowl using an electric hand whisk for 2-3 minutes
Sift together flour, bicarb and mixed spice and mix together.
Fold in egg mixture, orange zest, carrots, cranberries and walnuts.
Spoon the mixture into the cake papers and bake for around 30 mins until a toothpick comes out clean when put into the center of one of the middle cakes.
While the cake is cooking, make the topping by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl until light and fluffy, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1-2 hours or until needed.
Whisk together the orange juice and sugar, put in the microwave for 30s if it isnt dissolving.
As soon as the cakes are out of the oven, make holes in them with a skewer and carefully spoon sugar and orange juice mixture over each one.
Leave to cool completely and then frost with the cream cheese mixture topping each cake with a walnut piece.