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Carrot Cupcakes with Caramelised White Chocolate Buttercream (and a New Blog Domain!)

Updated: Oct 5, 2019

It's me again with happy news AND another recipe!

First things first. The happy news is that I've finally decided, after much consideration, to get my own blog domain! It's really a milestone for me as a food blogger and for this very blog! Initially, I wrestled with giving my blog its own name because doing so would mean that I was willing to commit 100% to this blog; however, I was doubtful of myself at first, thinking to myself whether I would be able to commit. Eventually, I decided to go ahead with it because I felt that it was time to truly make this blog my own, by giving it its own name. Needless to say, I am thrilled to finally call this blog my very own! It is still a very basic, simple blog, so I hope to really make this space shine as I improve and hone my craft over time.

Secondly, this post is long overdue because I actually made these carrot cupcakes with caramelised white chocolate buttercream in April, for Good Friday, to share with my friends and family. I had said on my Instagram that I would post the recipe for these, but once again, the challenge of balancing work, rest and blogging overtook me for a bit. Days passed, and soon, it was already May!

I had thought that maybe it was too late to post the cupcake recipe and perhaps you had forgotten all about it already. However, I decided that I should ask all of you for your opinions, so I did a small poll on my Instagram Stories asking whether or not you would still want the recipe for these carrot cupcakes, and all of you said yes! Honestly I was not expecting any response and I was pleasantly surprised to be proven otherwise! You guys are great!

If there's anything I have learnt, it is that I shouldn't sit on something for too long, even if I have valid reasons (e.g. work commitments) for delaying it. If I say I would do something, such as share a recipe, I should do it asap! So thank you everyone, for being patient with me and for still wanting to see what I have to share. It truly is very encouraging!

Coming back to these cupcakes, I think carrot cake is almost a classic. You can find it in most cake specialty shops, cafés, and bakeries. It is common (especially the combination of carrot cake and cream cheese frosting), yet warm and comforting, like a familiar friend (besides chocolate cake, of course, because let's be honest, chocolate is the best thing ever).

At the same time, there are tons of variations of carrot cake out there (seriously, just Google "carrot cake"; you'll find an endless list of them!) that it makes me wonder, does the Internet really need another carrot cake recipe? Am I adding value in any way? After much pondering, I realised that:

  1. It is okay to share something that is already out there because it is something that I love and would want people to know about.

  2. My version of carrot cake is different from some of the other variations of carrot cake out there (a bit more on that below), which would offer people a choice in what their favourite variation of carrot cake would be (just like chocolate chip cookies, where there is no one right way to do it and it really boils down to personal preference).

  3. Every food blogger needs to go through a rite of passage to making their food blog legit through posting his/her recipe for carrot cake (ha ha! Okay I'm just kidding about point 3, but really, almost every food blog I follow and read have at least one carrot cake recipe, so I'm learning from the pros here!).

To elaborate a bit more on Point 2 above, the carrot cupcake itself is simple. What elevates these cupcakes is that they are frosted with caramelised white chocolate ermine buttercream. Yes, that's right. This buttercream is so delicious that you could eat it on its own. The caramelised white chocolate takes this otherwise regular buttercream to another level. I topped it off with toasted walnuts for an added textural dimension to these otherwise soft cupcakes.

A few notes on the buttercream:

  1. Ermine buttercream (aka flour buttercream or boiled milk frosting) is my favourite go-to buttercream. I just love it's silky and fluffy texture, its delicate flavour, and also the fact that it's not too sweet.

  2. Ermine buttercream is made by cooking milk, sugar and flour together over a medium heat, until the mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency. This pudding is chilled and then later added into whipped butter. It sounds like a lot of work but it's really simple once you get into it!

  3. Ermine buttercream can take additions of other flavours, such as melted chocolate, spreads (peanut butter, Nutella, Speculoos, etc) and jams. Don't go overboard with the additions though, as too much additional moisture from the add-ons would make the buttercream too soft.

  4. I used Valrhona Dulcey 32% chocolate. I melted the chocolate fèves, let the melted chocolate cool, and added it into the finished ermine buttercream. You could also caramelise your own white chocolate (I'll elaborate more on that below) – just make sure to use high quality white chocolate, not white chocolate chips. Alternatively, you could just use white chocolate (not caramelised) – it would taste different but the overall cupcake would still taste as good!

That's all! Whew! All that's left to do now is for you to make and eat these for yourself.

 

Carrot Cupcakes with Caramelised White Chocolate Buttercream

Yields about 22 cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

  • 310 g (2 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/8 tsp allspice

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 150 g (3/4 cup) white granulated sugar

  • 200 g (3/4 cup) light or dark brown sugar

  • 3 large eggs

  • 156 g (240 ml or 1 cup) vegetable oil

  • 3/4 cup (180 g) Greek yogurt

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 350 g (about 6 medium carrots) grated fresh carrots

For the caramelised white chocolate ermine buttercream:

  • 30 g (about 2 Tbs) all-purpose flour

  • 100 g (about 1/2 cup) white granulated sugar

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 250 g (about 1 cup or 240 ml) whole milk

  • 226 g (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract

  • 200 g caramelised white chocolate*

  • 100 g (about 1 cup) toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

*If caramelising your own white chocolate:

  • 240 g good quality white chocolate, chopped into small pieces

Method

To caramelise white chocolate:

  1. Preheat the oven to 130 °C.

  2. Scatter white chocolate pieces onto a baking tray. Bake the chocolate for 40 minutes, removing from the oven every 5 minutes to stir.

  3. After about 30 minutes, the chocolate will caramelise and gradually turn amber. Remove from oven and place into a bowl. Stir vigorously until a liquid resembling melted chocolate forms. Set aside to cool.

To toast walnuts:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C.

  2. Roughly chop the walnuts and scatter onto a baking tray. Toast the nuts in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

  3. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely.

For the ermine buttercream:

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together flour, sugar, salt and whole milk until there are no more lumps.

  2. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook the mixture until it thickens to a pudding.

  3. Sieve the pudding into a large bowl to get rid of any lumps. Cover the bowl with cling wrap, ensuring that the cling wrap touches the surface of the pudding. This is to prevent a skin from forming on the pudding. Set the pudding aside to cool completely. (You can make the pudding one day in advance.)

  4. In another large bowl, use a stand mixer or hand-held mixer to whip the butter for 5 minutes until it is light and fluffy.

  5. One spoonful at a time, add the pudding mixture to the whipped butter, whisking consistently, until the buttercream forms and is light, fluffy and delicious.

  6. Add vanilla and melted and cool caramelised white chocolate into the buttercream. Whip until all the white chocolate is integrated into the buttercream. Set buttercream aside.

For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 ºC and line cupcake tins with cupcake liners.

  2. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices into a bowl. Set aside.

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugars, eggs, oil, Greek yogurt and vanilla.

  4. Add egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not over-mix.

  5. Gently fold in the carrots.

  6. Pour the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them up about two-thirds full. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cupcake comes out clean and the cupcake springs back lightly when you touch it. Let the cupcakes cool before decorating with buttercream.

To assemble:

  1. Fit a 6B piping tip into a piping bag and fill the bag with buttercream. Pipe buttercream onto the cupcake, starting from the centre of the cupcake and going outwards in a circle. Sprinkle walnuts on top.

  2. Enjoy one (or more) cupcakes!

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