These delicious little cakes will easily keep for a few days in an airtight container in a cool place, and still be nice and moist. If you fancy making a large cake, grease and line two 18cm/7in round cake tins and divide the mixture evenly between them. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Makes 12 cupcakes
Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes


For the Carrot Cupcakes

  • 150ml/5fl oz/scant 2/3 cup rapeseed or sunflower oil
  • 100g/3 1/2 oz/heaped 1/2 cup soft light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 75g/2 1/2 oz golden syrup
  • 175g/6oz/scant 1 1/2 cups wholemeal or white self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of sofa
  • 200g/1oz/1/4 cup desiccated coconut

For the cream cheese frosting

100g/31/2oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g/3 1/2oz cream cheese
finely grated zest of 1 orange, plus extra to decorate
250g/9oz/2 cups icing sugar, sifted


1) Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas 4 and line a 12-hole cupcake tin with paper cupcake cases or lightly grease a silicone cupcake tray.
2) In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar,eggs and golden syrup, using an electric mixer, until totally combined. Mix in all the remaining cake ingredients and spoon into the cupcake cases.
3) Bake for 20 minutes until nicely risen and firm, but springy when lightly pressed. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool,
4) To make the frosting, beat the batter until smooth, using an electric mixer. Add the cream cheese and orange zest and beat for another minutes or so. Add the remaining icing sugar and mix until the icing has a light, creamy texture. Chill until needed.
5) When the cakes are completely cool, spread or pipe the frosting on top, sprinkle with extra orange zest and serve.

Lifesaver for a Speedy Cake – Cream Cheese Frosting
The cream cheese frosting recipe freezes really well, so it is well worth making a double quantity and storing it in the freezer. Then, if you ever need to tart up a shop-bought cake, muffins or fairy cakes, you have a homemade frosting to hand. As an alternative to orange zest, you can flavour it with the grated zest of 1 lemon, 1 tsp ground cinnamon or ground ginger, seeds of 1 vanilla pod or even colour it pink and add a few drops of rose water.

Extracted from Madhouse Cookbook by Jo Pratt text © (2013), published by Duncan Baird Publishers, London (£20 Hardback). From Madhouse Cookbook by Jo Pratt  © Commissioned Photography © Gareth Morgans/ Duncan Baird Publishers 2013

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