Carrot Cake Mini-Bundts

Mmmmmm…moist carrot cake with cream cheese frosting in a conveniently single-serving-sized (though the equivalent of three regular cupcakes) mini-bundt!  I made these for Easter, and particularly to share with marina neighbors — hence the perhaps excessive carrot-themed presentation.  But these would be delicious any time.  Throw some toasted coconut on top of the frosting instead and, with the pineapple in the recipe, it becomes downright tropical.  And with all that fruit and vegetables, you can virtually call this dessert a salad!

Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

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For Cake:
1-3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups shredded carrots
8 ounce can pineapple tidbits, drained
3/4 cup walnuts

For Frosting:
4 ounces (1/2 container) cream cheese*
4 tablespoons butter*
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1-3/4 to 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

*Softened: see suggestion below

In the galley, I love a cake recipe that uses oil instead of butter because it means less wrestling with trying to perform by hand as a “stand up mixer.”  After preheating your oven to 350 degrees, beat together the sugar,  oil, and vanilla until just combined.  Then beat in the eggs one at a time.Stir in the dry ingredients.  I like to stir in the spices and baking powder/soda first so that they get thoroughly distributed before the bulk of the flour.  You can also combine the dry ingredients well in a separate bowl to achieve this, then stir en masse into the wet.  You don’t want to over-stir once you have the flour in — just to combine.Add the carrots, pineapple, and chopped walnuts and stir just to combine.Grease your non-stick mini-bundt pans (yes, this is my 4+2=6 pack pan) or a 9×13″ cake pan.  Bake for about 22-25 minutes for bundts (45 minutes for a 9×13 pan), until a knife tip comes out clean.  Meanwhile, start your frosting by zesting an orange.Oh, and I probably should have advised of this up top — maybe I’ll add a reference up there; you are going to want your cream cheese and butter to be well softened for the frosting.  Easiest way I’ve found is to put them on top of the oven while it preheats.  Particularly if in a metal or other conductive bowl, they will soften up nicely in 10-15 minutes.Whip cream cheese, butter, and zest together and add confectioners’ sugar until it reaches the thickness and texture you want — this really is a matter of taste.When cakes are done, remove from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan.  I suggest the chart table, Captain permitting!  As you can see, these have risen nicely, but that means a round bottom;  if you really want them to sit flat, when cool you can slice those domes off them (and exercise Pirate’s Prerogative and eat them).After cooling partially, thump the pan down firmly on a counter top, then invert over a cooling rack or, in my case, just a piece of parchment paper.  I love this picture…it’s like my own little, delicious Stonehenge.  After allowing the cakes to cool thoroughly, frost — Captain Peter is a big fan of the “frosting well” in the middle of these bundt cakes. Truthfully, this cake is delicious enough without the frosting…up to you.

And if you are being ridiculous and decorating for the Easter bunny — and you can’t locate any of those glamorous little heirloom carrots they use in 5-star restaurants — here’s a trick: use your typical mini carrots, poke a hole in the top with a skewer, and stick a sprig of parsley in there.  Voila!  How Ms. Stewart would do it if she were a Pirate.

Carrot Cake Mini-Bundts
Course: Dessert
Servings: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1-3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 8 oz canned pineapple tidbits
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease cake pan (6 mini-bundts of about 4" diameter, or a 9x13").  Combine sugar, oil, and vanilla; add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.

  2. Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl and stir into wet ingredients just enough to combine.  Stir in carrots, drained pineapple, and walnuts.

  3. Pour into prepared pan and bake 22-25 minutes for bundts, 45 minutes for 9x13", or until a knife point comes out clean.

  4. Whip softened cream cheese, butter, and orange zest together until well combined.  Add confectioners sugar until desired consistency reached -- will be between 1-3/4 and 2 cups.

  5. Cool cakes thoroughly before frosting.  To remove from pan, allow to cool in pan for about 10 minutes.  Thump pan firmly on hard surface, then invert.  Allow to cool thoroughly.

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