Makes about 24 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
- 290g plain flour
- 270g sunflower oil
- 360g light brown sugar
- 290g grated carrots (about 2 large carrots)
- 140g walnut pieces, toasted
- 150g pineapple, finely chopped
- 4 medium eggs, 2 of them separated
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
For the sugar syrup:
- 60ml water
- 60g caster sugar
- juice of ½ lemon
Preheat the oven to 165°C/gas mark 4 and line the muffin trays with cupcake cases.
Beat the oil and brown sugar together until well mixed and slightly aerated. In a separate jug, beat together the 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks, then add this gradually to the oil and sugar, beating on high speed.
Add the grated carrots, pineapple and nuts to the mixture and fold this through by hand. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon and fold this into the cake batter.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with the pinch of salt until soft peaks form, then fold this through the cake batter. Use a plastic piping bag or tablespoon, carefully place the batter into the cupcake cases until two-thirds full.
Bake for 20-22 minutes, depending on your oven. The cupcakes are cooked when the tops are golden brown and spring back to the touch. If in doubt, insert a clean knife or wooden skewer into the centre of each sponge; it should come out clean.
While the cupcakes are baking, make up the sugar syrup. Place the water, sugar and lemon juice into a small saucepan and bring just to the boil. Stir until the sugar crystals have all dissolved and remove from the heat.
Once the cupcakes are baked, let them rest for a few minutes outside of the oven. Using a pastry brush, soak the tops of the cupcakes with sugar syrup while they are still warm.
Once just warm, remove the cupcakes from the trays and leave to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 250g unsalted butter, softened
- 250g full-fat cream cheese, slightly softened
- 625g icing sugar, sifted
- Finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
Place the cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat with a spatula or wooden spoon until smooth and creamy.
Place the butter, lemon zest and a third of the icing sugar in a separate mixing bowl and cream together until very pale and fluffy. Add the next third of the icing sugar and beat again until the mix becomes pale and fluffy. Add the rest of the icing sugar and beat again, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl well to ensure no lumps of butter remain.
Add the cream cheese, a little at a time, to the butter mixture and mix at a low speed until the frosting is combined. Chill until firm enough to pipe.
CUPCAKES by PEGGY PORSCHEN, published by Quadrille (£6.99)