If you’ve ever seen my kitchen tour on instagram, you’ll know that I am not a minimalist. The abundance just sort of happened. I’ve lived a full life and gathered stuff along the way. Too much stuff, perhaps. I just got Melissa Coleman’s (thefauxmartha) beautiful new book and I am determined to declutter, downsize and minimalize my kitchen (and eventually my whole house). I vow to go through each cabinet and keep only what is essential. The rest I will donate or pass along to the next owner. The other thing that is wonderful about her book and philosophy is the way she approaches a recipe. Use as few utensils and equipment as possible. In my instagram video of this recipe, I did just that. I tried to stick to the two bowls she recommends and even chose one with a spout, so I could just pour the batter out, instead of using a spoon to scoop. It’s amazing to be so conscious of what is crucial and what is just extra. I normally live in the “extra” zone, but now I will be more mindful.
I adore carrot cake. It’s one of my favorite desserts. This recipe is delicate and less hippie than my go to, so it was fun to try Melissa’s sophisticated take on the classic. The mascarpone frosting is so good I had to keep my whole family from eating all before I could pipe it onto the cupcakes. Melissa has kindly given me permission to share her lovely recipe with you here. I also have a video of making them on my instagram page.
Carrot Cupcakes by Melissa Coleman from her new book The Minimalist Kitchen
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3⁄4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Dash of ground cloves
3⁄4 cup roughly chopped and peeled carrots (around 2 to 3)
Thumbtip of peeled fresh ginger
1 cup granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup olive oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
3⁄4 cup powdered sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Dash of cardamom (optional)
4 ounces mascarpone, chilled
Large flaked unsweetened coconut, roughly broken up
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with liners.
- Prepare the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Set aside.
- Prepare the wet ingredients. In a high-powered blender or food processor, add the carrots and ginger. Blend on medium-low until shredded. In a medium bowl, whisk together the carrot mixture and all of the remaining wet ingredients until well combined. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Fold together until just combined.
- Using a 4 tablespoon-sized spring-release Scoop (2-ounce scoop/#16 scoop), scoop the batter evenly into the lined tin, filling a little less than two-thirds full. Bake for about 22 minutes or until a light press in the middle bounces back. Let cool in the pan for 1 minute before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely before icing, about 30 minutes.
- Make the frosting. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and a completely clean bowl, add the cream, powdered sugar, cream of tartar, vanilla, and, if desired, cardamom. Beat on high until soft peaks form. Add the mascarpone and beat again just until stiff peaks. The frosting will be light yet spreadable (I piped it on the cupcakes, because I couldn’t help myself, but it requires an extra tool.)
- Evenly divide the frosting in the middle of the cooled cupcakes. Using a butter knife, gently smooth off the top. Lightly sprinkle with the coconut and hemp seeds, if desired. The cupcakes are best after at least a 2-hour rest. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Melissa says the sprinkles on top are optional, but I think they are brilliant and you should go for it.