Khalifa City Carrot Cake

One of the best things about carrot cake is the frosting – the cream cheese frosting that is sweet with just the right amount of tang to it. I also use the same frosting for red velvet cupcakes, and it has been known to disappear on it own – right from the bowl spoonful by spoonful. I think the trick to the cream cheese frosting is to use less sugar than the recipe calls for, a small pinch of salt, a little bit of milk to smooth it out, and some vanilla to bring out all the flavors. Five simple ingredients – nothing more, nothing less. But I should get back to the carrot cake!

Sometimes the cake is too heavy, other times to dry or even oily. This recipe, from Cooks Illustrated, seems to be just right, and a perfect balance of flavors. I decided to make cupcakes for easy transport and I like the single-serving size. The recipe makes almost 2 dozen – probably 16 cupcakes. I also made extra frosting… I still like the cream cheese frosting by the spoonful, and now I can have it. I try to pretend that because it is light cream cheese, it is ok to eat the frosting – yeah, right! I named this recipe after our neighborhood – Khalifa City. I thought that it was fitting.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place muffin papers or liners in a cupcake tin, or spray / butter the tin. Set aside.

2 1/2 c all purpose flour

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups granulated (caster) sugar

1/2 c brown sugar

4 eggs (medium)

1 1/2 c vegetable oil

4 cups shredded carrots

Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and soda, and spices together in a bowl. Set aside. In a food processor or in a stand-up mixer, combine the sugar and eggs together. After about 30 seconds, add in the oil. Mix well – about 30 more seconds. Pour the mixture into a separate bowl if needed (if not, carry on with the same bowl – makes it easier for clean up!) Add the carrots into the wet mixture, and stir, then add the flour mixture in 3 parts. After each part mix until well incorporated. Place about 1/4 – 1/3 cup mixture in the muffin / cupcake tins. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 15 minutes in the tin. Gently remove from the tin, and allow to cool for 2 hours before frosting.

12 ounces light cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch (small) of salt

1 cup confectionary sugar (or more to taste)

3 tbsp milk

Mix the cream cheese and the milk until smooth. Add in the rest of the ingredients. If needed, allow to firm up in the fridge before frosting, but do not allow it to get too hard as it will not frost well. Best eaten spoonful by spoonful…or if you must, frost the cupcakes!

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