It's hard to know where to start. You see, I've taken such a long (work-induced) hiatus from the kitchen that everything feels new and unfamiliar. Have I really always had just three mismatched measuring spoons? When did I buy that flour in the cupboard? It's hard to know where to start, so I decided to start with carrots. It seemed as good a place as any. So last week, once I'd done enough laundry, grocery shopping and sleeping to feel recovered from the months spent in the office, I turned to carrot cake. To olive oil laced carrot tea cakes with maple cream cheese icing to be exact.
I began by peeling carrots, toasting walnuts, and whipping cream cheese. At first I felt a little off. A little clumsy with my own things, a little self conscious. But before long, I was snapping photos of bright orange batter and frosting tea cakes before work on a Wednesday as if I'd never been away. Carrots were very good place to start indeed.
Spring Carrot Tea Cakes With Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Slightly Adapted from Green Market Baking Book by Laura C. Martin
1 cup maple syrup (Martin suggests Grade B but I used A)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup spelt flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup maple syrup
Preheat oven to 325. Beat the eggs until frothy. In another bowl, mix the syrup, oils, yogurt, lemon juice and vanilla. Add to eggs and beat for a minute. Sift the dry ingredients and add them to the mixing bowl. Beat until just combined. Stir in the carrots and the nuts. Pour the batter into muffin tins lined with cupcake liners and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean, or with just a few crumbs attached. (Note, Martin suggests baking for 20 minutes but mine took a bit longer).
Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese until fluffy, adding the powdered sugar gradually. Mix in the vanilla and maple syrup and spread over the teacakes once they have cooled.