Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Recipe: Coconut Flaked Carrot Cake Cupcakes

This weekend, I was determined to get down to a spot of baking. For some reason, I was craving walnut and carrot, so I thought I'd make carrot cake cupcakes.

I was also determined to focus on one baking project, far too often, I spread myself too thin and try to speed through things, only to wind up frustrated with projects and recipes that don't turn out as they should.

This time, I readied and chopped all my ingredients

3 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
1 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8x12 inch pan.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, oil, sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour mixture and mix well.
4. In a medium bowl, combine shredded carrots, coconut, walnuts, pineapple and raisins.
5. Using a large wooden spoon or a very heavy whisk, add carrot mixture to batter and fold in well.
6. Pour into prepared 8x12 inch pan, and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour. Check with toothpick.
7. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving or 1 hour before frosting.

I was cheered to find that the recipe called for buttermilk, to me, that is the best way to ensure a moist and rich cake. I was even more pleased to realize that this cake doesn't need any use of a cake mixer. (I love my KitchenAid but I don't love cleaning it!)

The alterations I made were that I used grapeseed oil instead of vegetable oil (healthier and no yucky chinese oil taste), I decreased the amount of sugar to 1 cup (in the end, I felt I could have cut it way down to 1/2 cup or less becuase of the natural sugars from the carrot) and left out the can of crushed pineapple, I poured in 3/4 a cup of pumpkin filling and brandy, which works better for me.

I even went on a rampage and made the cream cheese frosting, which is basically the following creamed together. (You can throw in a handful of walnuts if desired). I had attended a party in the US where the host had cleverly dipped the cream cheese frosting into flaked coconut to make pretty snowy cupcakes. So I decided to do that but I'd long ago realized that flaked coconut is hard to come by in Singapore, the only place that I regularly see it now being at Jason's in Orchard Towers.

1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

How far would you go in the pursuit of perfection? Apparently I'd go at least 20 minutes, since I drove down to get myself a bag of coconut strips. And as frustrating as baking can sometimes be, when you look in the oven and see perfectly risen cupcakes, just fluffy and brimming to the exact level of pipe-ability, it is a great feeling of satisfaction!

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