A couple of years ago, I received a blank journal from my sister. It’s become my cake journal, where I collect some of the ideas that are floating around in my head. For a while, I’ve had penned in this book to take my favorite carrot cake recipe and add freshly grated ginger. But, it wasn’t until this week that I knew it was time to give this a try.
Sometimes, inspiration strikes in the most unlikely of places. Earlier this week, I went for a run (jog, really) after work. It was dark and turning fairly chilly outside. Ugh. As I trudged along my usual route, my mind began to drift. Out of seemingly nowhere, the idea of orange cream cheese frosting popped into my head. By the time I got home, I knew that I had a gem of an idea. Ginger Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting.
The beauty of this cupcake is that it’s a pure carrot cake with just a hint of ginger. No nuts, raisins, or anything extraneous that might be found in a “classic” carrot cake recipe. It doesn’t need any of that stuff. (I promise.) The orange zest and fresh juice add a slight tang to the rich and creamy frosting. Yet, in every other way, this frosting remains the familiar favorite that is so well loved (and expected) with a carrot cake. I’ve got to tell you, I love this slight twist to the traditional flavors. This recipe is a keeper, for sure.
Ginger Carrot Cupcakes
Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes
Adapted from: Mary Mary Quite Contrary
2 cups (11 ounces) all-purpose flour, sifted
2 cups (14 ounces) ultra-fine sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (or 3/4-1 teaspoon ground ginger)
1 cup applesauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 egg whites (use large eggs)
3 cups peeled, grated carrots
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. Add all of the dry ingredients to the bowl of your stand mixer. Using a whisk, mix and combine the dry ingredients in the bowl. Add the applesauce, oil, and vanilla. Start your mixer on low speed. Add the egg whites. Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the grated carrots. Beat on medium speed for two (2) minutes. Using your spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Divide the batter evenly into the cupcake liners/muffin tin. Bake 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from: Spinach Tiger
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
orange zest from one orange
3 tablespoons orange juice , freshly squeezed
5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Mix the orange zest and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Set aside. Using the paddle attachment to your stand mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the orange juice and vanilla. Then, add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Lastly, before using, take a rubber spatula and stir the frosting thoroughly to eliminate any air bubbles. Enjoy!