Carrot cake is such a comforting classic. When you think how simple it is to make, no fancy mixers required, the happy delusions it inspires in us, getting our veggies and eating cake too, and the gorgeous contrast between the spiced cake and sweet cream cheese frosting, it’s no wonder why it’s so popular. My lemon ginger carrot cake cupcakes are a playful adaptation of the classic with a zesty lemon and stem ginger frosting, a bright and fresh icing to complement the rich and earthy flavours of the cake.
I chose to make the mixture into individual cakes because I love the idea of having your own cake all to yourself, plus it saves having to line a baking tin, but this can definitely be made into a cake to share.
Lemon ginger carrot cake cupcakes
200g self rising flour
200g grated carrots (this will be approx. 300g whole carrots to reach this weight when grated)
175g light brown sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp salt
150ml sunflower oil
50g walnuts (or these could be substituted for your choice of nut or left out as you like)
50g dried fruit
Lemon ginger cream cheese frosting:
100g soft, unsalted butter
330g cream cheese (room temperature)
100g sifted icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Zest of 2 lemons
50g stem ginger, chopped
Makes 12 cupcakes
Method for lemon ginger carrot cake cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 180°C, GM4.
Line the muffin tin with muffin cases.
Grate the carrots and add to a large mixing bowl alongside the chopped walnuts and dried fruit. Add a tbsp of flour to this mixture to help it even distribute into the cake mixture.
Add in the eggs, sunflower oil and brown sugar and stir to combine.
Separately measure out the self rising flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and the spices. Sift these together and gently fold into the cake mixture.
Once the batter is combined either use an ice cream scoop or two spoons to add the mixture to the cake cases. Fill the cases about ½ to ⅔ full as they will rise while baking.
Cook the cakes for 18-20 minutes in the middle shelf of the oven, rotating the muffin tin about ½ way if needed to help the cakes cook evenly.
To test if the cakes are done, use a skewer and insert into the middle of one of the cupcakes, if it comes out clean and the cake springs back when touched they are ready.
Remove the cupcakes from the tin and transfer to a wire rack to cool down completely before icing.
To make the lemon and ginger frosting, using a food mixer or free standing mixer, combine the room temperature cream cheese and butter together and gradually add sifted sugar and mix until it is smooth, light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and salt and lemon zest and stir to combine.
Use a palette knife or back of a spoon to ice each cupcake and top with some of the chopped stem ginger.
These will keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days but can also be stored in the fridge as the icing may go off quicker in hot weather.
It’s always best to use room temperature ingredients in baking and you will definitely need room temperature ingredients to make the icing. If the butter isn’t soft it won’t mix into the cream cheese properly and will leave small chunks of butter in the icing; not what you want.
An ice cream scoop is really handy to measure out batter and add to the cake cases and to help make sure each cake is a similar weight and cooks evenly, but if you don’t have one, spoons are just fine.
Looking for other comforting bakes? Try my Chai Banana Bread or maybe Pumpkin spiced pancakes with orange maple syrup and toasted pecans.
Looking for other ways to include veggies in your bakes? Try Nigel Slater’s courgette cake – such a fan of his and love how simple and delicious his food is.