Cardamom carrot cupcakes
Makes 12 | prep 40 mins | total time
- finely grated zest and 3 tsp juice from 1 lemon
- finely grated zest and 3 tsp juice from 1 small orange
- 1 large carrot (about 200g)
- 50g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- crushed seeds of 30 cardamom pods
- 1 x 200g bag ground almonds
- 4 medium eggs, separated
- 150g caster sugar
- 1 x 180g pack full-fat Philadelphia cream cheese
- 100g icing sugar, sifted
- 25g butter, melted and cooled but still liquid
For the candied orange
- 2 large oranges
- 75g granulated sugar, plus extra for rolling
These cupcakes are best made in advance (the flavour improves and they become more moist on chilling). They will keep, ready-iced, for several days in the fridge. The uniced cakes also freeze well.
- First, make the candied orange. Remove the zest from 2 large oranges using a zester (not a grater), leaving them in long strands. Melt the 75g sugar in 75ml water in a small saucepan, then bring to the boil. Add the zest and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and immediately toss the zest in granulated sugar. Cool on baking paper.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Arrange 12 paper cases in a muffin tray.
- Place the lemon and orange zest in a mixing bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of orange juice to the bowl. Reserve the rest for the icing. Peel and finely grate the carrot and add it to the bowl.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt into another bowl. Mix half of the crushed cardamom seeds into the flour with the ground almonds.
- Place the egg whites in a large dry bowl. Whisk until they form soft peaks. Then gradually whisk in the caster sugar, until you have a glossy, floppy meringue.
- Lightly beat the egg yolks, then fold them into the egg whites with a metal spoon, followed by one-third of the almond flour mixture, then one-third of the carrot mix. Repeat until all the ingredients are folded into the meringue.
- Spoon into the paper muffin cases. Bake for about 25 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack. Once cool, put on a plate, cover and chill for at least 2 hours. This firms the cakes up and makes them more moist.
- For the cream cheese icing, beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar, remaining ground cardamom seeds and remaining lemon and orange juice. Then beat in the cooled melted butter. Spread a swirl of icing on each cake and chill the cakes again for an hour. Decorate with the candied orange to serve.