Carrot cupcakes with lemon soft cheese icing

Come here…

Come closer, shhhhhhh, no one can hear us, I’m going to tell you a secret… I’m going to tell you how I make the softest moistest most delicious carrot cupcakes. It’s a secret, you must keep it to yourself. I’m going to tell you everything but you must promise not to repeat it to anyone, it will be our secret. Shhhhhhhhh…..




For 12 cupcakes

  • 175 grams of brown muscovado sugar
  • 100 grams of wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 100 grams of self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp of mixed spice
  • the zest of 1 orange
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 150 ml of sunflower oil
  • 200 grams of carrots, grated
  • sprinkles, etc. to decorate to taste
  • 50-100 grams of ground almonds (not powdered; and chunky rather than fine)
  • 50-80 grams of chopped pecans

For the icing

  • 50 grams of butter, at room temperature, cut into small cubes
  • 150 grams of full-fat soft cheese
  • 50 grams of icing sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • the zest of 1/2 lemon




  • Pre-heat your oven to gas mark 5 (190C). Line a cupcake baking tin with paper cases.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the flours, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice, and orange zest.
  • Add the eggs and sunflower oil and mix well until all combined.
  • Grate your carrots and squeeze out most of the juices (90%), then add to the bowl. Mix well and leave to rest for 5 minutes, allow the carrots to release all their moisture.
  • Finally, add the chopped nuts, adjusting the quantity depending on the texture and wetness of your mix. You want it to be rather wet but thick enough so that it sticks on the back of a spoon.
  • Pour the mix into the baking tin, up to 2 third up the paper case (Note: don’t over-fill the cases, or the cupcakes will not rise)
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out dry. 
  • When baked, take the cupcakes out of the baking tin (or they will keep cooking) and leave on a cooling rack.
  • In the meantime, place the butter cubes in a clean mixing bowl and, using a sharp knife, shred it into pieces as small as possible.
  • Add the soft cheese to the butter and whisk until smooth. You can pour a little bit of the soft cheese water if it helps with the whisking.
  • Add the icing sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth and creamy.
  • Once they’re completely cooled down, ice your cupcakes. I like the icing to be thick and generous, as it balances well against the spices of the cake.
  • If there is any icing left, stick your finger in that bowl and eat it before someone else does.

There you have it. Guaranteed to please everyone; and not too long nor messy as cupcakes can sometimes be. Hope you enjoy it and, remember, this is just between you and me…



Blueberry and vanilla cake

I believe that you just cannot beat a Hummingbird Bakery cake. They are the most naughty and decadent recipes around. So much sugar, so much butter, so much eggs, so much of everything, they are incredibly indulging and – for the sake of your arteries – should be regarded as an exceptional treat rather than a weekly sweet. But for special celebrations, they really do the trick!

The other weekend was chipmuncher’s parents’ 60th birthday. All the food was made by professional caterers except for the puds cause, you know, us girls of the family kinda rock at baking. Chipmuncher’s sister made a chocolate cheesecake and a banoffee pie, his mum a lemon meringue and a tiramisu and I made this fruit tea loaf and a Hummingbird blueberry and vanilla cake.

This cake is supposed to be baked in a ring shaped tin. I didn’t have one so mine is just a regular cake shape.

The Hummingbird book recipe

Baby blueberry cake

Big blueberry cake

Here’s what you’ll need.

For the cake:

  • 350 gr. unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 350 gr. caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 450 gr. plain flour
  • 2 tbsp and 2 tsp baking powder
  • 280 ml soured cream
  • 250 gr. fresh blueberries (and extra to decorate)

For the frosting (careful, the below quantities are HALF what Hummingbird recommends to make for that cake. But I find it’s way enough):

  • 300 gr. icing sugar (I never sift mine, it’s just too messy. Same thing with flour, “nobody aint got time for that”.)
  • 50 gr. unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 125 gr. cream cheese (I love Philadelphia, could eat up the whole tub with a spoon)

And here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Preheat your oven to 170°C
  • In a freestanding electric mixer, put the butter and sugar and cream until mixture is light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla extract, flour and baking powder until all well mixed.
  • Add the soured cream and mix until your mixture is light and all completely blended together.
  • By hand now, gently stir in the blueberries.
  • Pour into the mould and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Once cooked, leave the cake to cool and turn out onto a cooling rack.
  • Make your frosting: beat the icing sugar and butter together with a whisk (you can use an electric whisk if you are not too scared about covering your whole kitchen in icing sugar, I prefer to do it by hand even if it takes a bit longer). Once blended, add all the cream cheese in one go and keep whisking until smooth and light (but not too much or it will become runny). Keep the frosting in the fridge if you are not going to ice your cake straightaway.
  • When the cake is completely cold (and only then, believe me you DON’T want to ice a warm cake. Ever!), put it on a serving plate, cover the top and sides with the cream cheese frosting and decorate with the leftover blueberries.

NB: I have the oldest freestanding mixer you could think of, that chipmuncher’s lovely mum gave me when we moved in a year ago. It only has an ON and OFF option and no security whatsoever, but it works and is good enough for this recipe. If that is not guarantee that this is the easiest recipe ever, I don’t know what you need.