Thursday, November 22, 2007
Carrot Coconut Cupcakes
This week features another childhood favorite transformed into cupcakes. My mother makes a mean carrot cake, often including crushed pineapple for added moistness, sweetness and flavor. This more traditional version is topped with a rich cream cheese frosting and crowned with a halo of shredded coconut. Not only does the coconut taste delicious, but it protects the frosting during travel, making it ideal for a party or a child's lunchbox.
Carrots have the second highest sugar content among vegetables (after sugar beets), and have been used in sweet cakes in Europe since the Middle Ages. At the time other sweeteners were too expensive or in short supply.
Wild ancestors of the carrot are likely to have come from Afghanistan. Originally carrots were grown for their aromatic seeds and leaves, similar to their relatives parsley, fennel, dill and cumin. They come in a variety of colors including white, purple, red and yellow. The orange carrot appeared in the Netherlands in the 16th century, and was popular as an emblem of the House of Orange-Nassau. This carrot was much less bitter than earlier species.
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
1 pound cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups shredded coconut
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a large bowl mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice and salt.
3. In a medium bowl beat eggs and sugar using an electric mixer. Add the flour mixture, continuing to beat on low speed.
4. Slowly add the oil and fully incorporate into the batter. Stir in the carrots, coconut and walnuts.
5. Divide batter into muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool to room temperature before frosting.
6. Beat all frosting ingredients by hand. Generously frost cupcakes.
7. Spread coconut on a large plate. Dip the frosted cupcakes in the coconut, making sure to cover evenly. Cool cupcakes in the fridge for several hours or overnight. If stored in an airtight container cupcakes can be kept for up to a week.