Bridal showers mark the beginning of the fun festivities of being a bride. I think bridal showers are really personal and private. It's meant to be celebrated with the women that are close to you, that you consider great friends and family. This bridal shower was special, special because I was able to contribute something that I knew the bride would love, CARROT CAKE CUPCAKES!!!
Inga really loves carrot cake. I was told that the carrot cake from a local bakery here in Rochester (Cheesy Eddies), is her favorite. I wasn't sure if I could live up to their awesome tasting carrot cake, so I just crossed my fingers. That always works doesn't it? The reviews were that the frosting I made tasted even better than Cheesy Eddies' frosting. Oh what a compliment! (Ok to uncross fingers now)These cupcakes were so much fun to make and apparently were a total hit at the shower! I searched many recipes and read hundreds of reviews before settling on a recipe. Trust me, you will want to eat the frosting by itself once your done making these babies! Like with many endeavors in life, there usually are a few road blocks...
Disaster In Flower Land
So Inga's colors were Red, Black, and White. I decided I wanted to incorporate all of her colors into the cupcake somehow. A red flower on top would stand out beautifully against the white frosting, so that is what I did. Being that this was the first time I was working with Royal Icing and making flowers, naturally I had a kitchen disaster. I found a video online on how to pipe petunia's by hand. It seemed all too easy and so I gave it a shot. The outcome was that the flowers did not dry even after 24 hours. Now if you know anything about Royal Icing you would know that it dries within 3-4 hours. I knew something was terribly wrong when I peeled off the foil on each one and I saw them fall apart into dusty sugary pieces. They were no where near salvageable.
The Disaster Continues...
So since I am not formally trained in flower making, it was no surprise that using 3 containers of icing coloring would still not yield me the red I needed. After doing some research I realized I needed to mix a few colors to get the bright red I was looking for. Ah you live and you learn right? So I used the "no taste" red icing coloring for the first batch of flowers I made, that I later dumped. That left me with regular red coloring that I used for the second batch of flowers. The result was bitter tasting royal icing flowers that looked way to pretty to throw out. The problem was, I didn't realize how bad they tasted until after I sent them over to the shower! Apparently people didn't pay much attention and loved the frosting more than anything else on the cupcake. Frosting is a savior.
Before I continue, I just want to tell you that you don't even need to make these flowers to enjoy this tasty cupcake. The flower endeavor was just me being my anal self. Here is the recipe. You can certainly make this as a cake instead of cupcakes. I hope you enjoy it, especially the frosting!
(adapted from foodandwine.com with a few of my own additions)
Makes about 36 cupcakes or 2 9in round cakes
- 1 cup pecans toasted (4 ounces optional)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon all spice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1/4 tsp butter extract (optional)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and coarsely shredded, then ground in the food processor
Cream Cheese Frosting
(I needed to double this recipe to cover all the cupcakes)
- 1/2 stick of SALTED butter
- 8oz cream cheese
- 1 cup confectionery sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/4 tsp almond essence
- pinch salt
Carrot Cake Directions:
- Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter two 9-inch cake pans or just place cupcake liners in cupcake pan.
- Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes, until fragrant. Cool and finely chop the pecans or put into food processor.
- Grate carrots then put into food processor till ground. Or you can buy the shredded one in the store and then ground them or chop finely if you don't have a food processor.
- In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, buttermilk and extracts. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar at high speed until pale, 5 minutes. Beat in the liquid ingredients. Beat in the dry ingredients just until moistened. Stir in the carrots and pecans. Divide the batter between the pans and bake the cakes for 55 minutes to 1 hour, until springy and golden. Let the cakes cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then unmold the cakes and let cool completely. OR for cupcakes- Bake 25 minutes.
- Make the frosting: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese at high speed until creamed together and fluffy looking, about 5 minutes.
- Beat in the vanilla and almond extract, salt, then the confectioners’ sugar; beat at low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.