These cupcakes are like an oldfashioned Christmas stocking, filled with nuts and fruits. Their aroma is the very essence of Christmas combining the traditional sweet spices of the season with a fruity/nutty texture . What’s more, they look great and are really easy to make. The carrots provide a natural sweet echo and the festive spices a warmth and real depth of flavour without too much jaw-aching sweetness. You could use butter cream and cinnamon for the icing, but I feel with the richness of these ingredients a simple topping is required. The fresh orange icing works well, giving the cake a fresh sweetness while the lemon juice gives a gentle kick and wakens everything up. The icing is a lovely Christmas canvas on which to add any Christmas cake decoration – I like to scatter scarlet cranberries onto the pale, shiny orange and the children love a little plastic snowman or deer. However, for Christmas parties, there’s nothing quite like a bit of cupcake bling, and I top my cupcakes with a waft of glitter and a handful of edible stars.
These cakes can also be served naked and straight from the oven on Christmas morning, filling the house with the scent of pure Christmas. So turn the oven on, pour yourself an egg nog, play some carols and bake Christmas!
These cupcakes will keep well in an airtight container for at least the 3 days of Christmas.
To make 24 medium or 16 large Christmas Carrot Cupcakes
- 225g grated carrots
- 130g cranberries
- 60g chopped walnuts
- 2 large eggs
- 130g caster sugar
- 120ml corn oil/vegetable oil
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 2tsp fresh orange zest
- 120g plain flour
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2tsp cinnamon
- 1tsp ground cloves
- 2tsp mixed spice
- 500g icing sugar
- Juice of one orange
- Zest from one orange
- Juice of half lemon
- Preheat the oven to 160 c (fan)/ 180c/350F/gas mark 4. Line two 12 hole cupcake tins (or 16 for larger cupcakes) with paper cases.
- Now mix the grated carrots, cranberries and walnuts in a large bowl using a wooden spoon. Beat the eggs and sugar together and then slowly add the oil, vanilla extract and orange zest and beat well. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, ground cloves and mixed spice into a separate bowl and then add these ingredients to the egg and sugar mixture bit by bit, beating well after each addition.
- Now pour the four, sugar and egg mixture into the bowl with the mix of carrots, cranberries and walnuts and mix with a wooden spoon until completely combined.
- Divide the mixture into the cupcake cases, the mix will make 24 medium sized or, if you prefer larger cup cakes, divide the mixture into 16 cases.
- Bake on the middle shelf for approximately 25 – 30 minutes until the cakes are a deep golden brown and springy when touched. Allow the cakes to cool in their tins then, after about ten minutes turn them out onto a wire cooling rack.
- Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until thick enough to spread with a flat knife or back of spoon. The icing is a very pale creamy orange, and looks pretty and festive if topped with some cranberries, walnuts or edible gold Christmas stars. Happy Holidays!