Sat, Apr 18, 2015 - Page 12 News List

The mighty carrot

Carrots are such a common vegetable that they are often overlooked, but they are very versatile and can even be used in desserts

By Ian Bartholomew  /  Contributing reporter

Recipe of carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

(Makes 20 mini cupcakes)

The carrot cake has undergone something of a revival in these modern health-conscious times, but something similar can be traced back to the Middle Ages when sugar was an expensive luxury and vegetables such as carrots that are rich in sugar, provided a cheap sweetener for cakes and puddings. The use of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg all hark back to old-style Christmas treats such as gingerbread. Despite its use of whole wheat flour, with its generous amounts of butter, sugar and cream cheese, this snack does not qualify as a health food, but experience has proved that it is a great favorite with children who are often shocked and delighted that it contains the fearsome carrot as one of its major ingredients.


For the Cupcakes

200g whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

generous pinch of salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

180g unsalted butter, melted

180g sugar

1 egg, large

2 tbsp plain yogurt (or thick cream)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

150g carrots, grated

For the Frosting

220g cream cheese (8 oz stick), room temperature

75g unsalted butter, room temperature

100g confectioners’ sugar

1.5 tsp vanilla extract

zest of one small orange


1. Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

2. Line 20 mini muffin tins (4cm base) with paper liners and place on a baking tray.

3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg; once mixed evenly and free of lumps, set aside.

4. In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, egg, yogurt, and vanilla. Stir in the grated carrots. Gradually add the flour mixture, stirring until well combined. Divide among muffin tins, filling each with about one large soup spoon’s quantity of mixture. Bake at 190 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. The cupcakes are done when a skewer inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

5. Remove from pan and put on a wire rack to cool. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

6. To make the frosting, beat cream cheese, butter, and confectioners’ sugar until smooth; beat in vanilla and orange zest. Frost using a piping bag and nozzle, or simply spread on top with a spatula.

Ian Bartholomew runs Ian’s Table, a small guesthouse in Hualien. He has lived in Taiwan for many years writing about the food scene and has decided that until you look at farming, you know nothing about the food you eat. He can be contacted at

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