Saturday, August 27, 2011

little carrot cakes

I can’t believe a month has passed without me posting a blog.  It’s not that I haven’t been baking; it’s more a case of indecisiveness.  Not knowing what recipe to use, dithering about what photo to post, or worse not having any words pouring out from my head to my fingers no matter how long I sit at the laptop.

I am pleased to finally be able to say this is it.  Not only is it a post, it’s a special post as it is my contribution to  Sweet New Zealand – a monthly blogging event for NZ bloggers set up by Alessandra Zecchini just for fun and to get to know each other better.  I am so looking forward to being a part of that and discovering more bloggers, so thank you Alessandra for coming up with the idea.

And so to the baking.  While nosing at a cute little cake in a colleague’s lunchbox, she told me that because there is only her and her husband at home if she bakes, they usually end up eating a whole cake between them - (such hardship, I know!).  So, instead of baking a whole carrot cake she bakes little cakes, muffins or cupcakes and freezes them for work.  

I'm with her on that as I am a fan of little cakes too and these carrot cakes are the perfect, munchable size. 

In the morning, just dip in the freezer, choose your cake and you’re all set for dropping it in your lunch bag for a tasty treat later.  Keep the icing and topping in containers (the icing will need to go in the fridge).  Before you go, top the frozen mini cake with the icing, sprinkle with the ready mixed chopped apricots and pumpkin seeds and, if you have time, quickly finish with small curls of orange zest.   The frozen cake will keep the icing cool until your ready to eat, by which time the cake should have defrosted.

If you prefer, try them naked - they’re just as good, a little spicy and and not too sweet.

naked little cake

Hints: when writing the codes on the plastic bags at the bulk bins at the supermarket, date the pack too so you’ll know roughly when the product needs to be thrown out.

When orange, lemon or lime zest is called for, I often use a zester then chop the strands finely – I find it a bit of a short cut to grating zest and spending so much time scraping it off the grater.  If I’m really lazy and it doesn’t matter too much for the end result, I whack it in without chopping at all.

little carrot cakes
Makes 12

100g soft brown sugar
160ml rice bran oil (or similar)
2 eggs
grated zest of 1 orange
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
¼ tsp cardamom
200g self-raising flour
1 medium carrot (about 150g), grated
¼ cup (about 35-40g) sultanas
60g walnuts, chopped (optional)

150g cream cheese
finely grated zest of 1 orange
60g icing sugar, sifted

Topping: chopped pumpkin seeds, dried apricots and curls of orange zest.

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.

Place sugar in a bowl and break up using the back of a fork.  Beat in the oil and eggs.  Stir in orange zest, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom.  Sift the flour into the bowl and fold in, then add the carrot, sultanas and nuts if using.

Divide the mixture between 12 cupcake-sized paper cases.  Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Icing  - Beat the cream cheese until softened and creamy, add the grated orange zest.  Sift the icing sugar and beat in.  Use enough icing sugar to reach the consistency you desire.  Spread over the cakes.  Decorate with some chopped pumpkin seeds, apricots and orange zest.


  1. Great entry Lesley, +1 to you and welcomed to Sweet New Zealand!

    I am putting your link on my NZ blog roll, if you don't mind :-).


  2. Nice submission to sweet NZ Lesley and a rather good idea to make muffins instead of one big cake and freeze them sort of compulsory self control if they are frozen :0)

  3. Smart thinking on the dating pick and mix bags! Sensible things like that never occur to me for some reason.