I’m not even going to pretend this is a good-for-you food post. Sure, it’s got carrots and pineapple and cream cheese, all of which are plenty healthy, but don’t fool yourself… a cake is a cake is a cake.
However, I embrace that fact with every single bite of these pint-sized moist crumbly carrot cakes. They’re chock-full of delicious extras like coconut and walnuts and pineapple bits, and topped with a creamy tangy luscious icing for good measure.
Sure, they’re chock-full of calories too… but dagnabbit, they’re GOOD. Which is what dessert is supposed to be, no matter what your most recent issue of Modern Dieter’s Digest Weekly tells you. Dessert is not the time or place to worry about fiber or fat content or nutritional value. (The day carrot sticks qualify as a proper dessert is the day I abandon all hope for modern civilization)
So, next time you find yourself pondering whether you can get away with using I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter to make a low-fat icing, take a deep breath, put down the margarine and embrace the calories. It’s just dessert.
Plus, you can always have carrot sticks for your main course, right? :)
Carrot Babycakes with Cream Cheese Icing
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 cups grated carrot
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1 package (4 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
Preheat oven to 325F. Grease the cups of two 6-cup jumbo muffin tins; set aside.
In large bowl, whisk together oil, brown sugar, eggs and maple syrup.
In a second bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon. Add to the wet mixture and stir until just barely combined. Add the remaining cake ingredients; stir to combine, being careful not to overmix the batter. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins (the cups will only be half-full, but don’t worry – that’s how it’s supposed to be).
Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a cake comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
Meanwhile, prepare the icing . Using a mixer, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add the vanilla. Gradually stir in the icing sugar, beating until your icing is smooth and fluffy.
Once your cakelets are completely cooled, slice them in half using a serrated knife. Spread a dollop of frosting onto the bottom half of each cakelet, then top with the other half. Frost the top per your preference – I happen to think a little rosette of frosting is a cute touch, but you can also go with a simple slathering of frosting if you don’t feel like busting out the piping bag.
Makes a dozen babycakes – more than enough to have your cake and eat it too.
Note: if you really don’t feel like being fancy, you can also bake the cake in an 8″ square pan instead. Prepare exactly as written, but increase the bake time to an hour and twenty minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pan, then slather frosting all over the top of the cake. Nom nom nom.