I like taking cakes into work. I think it’s nice to bring something tasty into the staff room for everyone to be able to enjoy when they’re on their tea breaks and lunch. I always think that there’s something warming and cosy about having some cake available for everyone to partake in, should they choose. Let’s be honest, very few people turn their nose up at a nice bit of cake.
I bought some pretty muffin cases the other day that I wanted to test and after some consideration I settled upon the idea of making carrot cake muffins, but it didn’t sound very exciting to me so I went back to the drawing board and decided to add more flavours to the cakes and so I made chocolate orange carrot muffins instead. I’m so glad I did because they are divine!
If you want a moist cake that’s not going to dry out in a hot environment, such as a very warm staff room, then I’d heartily recommend incorporating two components: a good oil and some sort of fruit or vegetable. You can never go wrong with basing a cake around carrots or courgette because their water content works fantastically to introduce and retain moisture in cake sponge. It’s also a bonus that you can’t even taste the vegetables in the cake once they’ve been baked.
Also, although most cakes tend to add fat to the sponge base by using butter, sadly as it cooks a lot of the water from the butter will evaporate. It will also continue to evaporate the longer the cake sits waiting to be eaten too, whereas using sunflower or vegetable oil (which does not evaporate) will ensure that the fat content (and therefore, moisture) remains present even after it’s been baked in a hot oven. It’s science, innit?
Although these chocolate orange carrot muffins are gluten-free you can easily make them standard muffins by using the same quantity of normal self-raising flour and omitting the xanthan gum and bicarbonate of soda, and only using 1 tsp of baking powder. Although why not give the gluten-free version a go? They’re really tasty and you honestly cannot tell the difference!
These chocolate orange carrot muffins are gorgeous. They’ve got an incredibly soft and bouncy texture, are infused with rich, deep cocoa and have a lovely fresh zing from the orange zest. Their whipped chocolate orange buttercream frosting also does the entire flavour combination justice. Quite frankly I think I’ve outdone myself. Now, I wonder if the boss will like them enough to give me a paid day off…
250g of grated carrots
250g brown sugar
250g gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F Plain Flour)
1 tsp xantham gum
50g cocoa powder
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250ml vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
The zest and juice of 1 orange (keep 2 tbsps of orange juice aside for the buttercream icing)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
For the buttercream icing:
175g icing sugar
25g cocoa powder
50g butter (use dairy-free, if necessary)
2 tbsps orange juice
Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas mark 6.
Measure all of your ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until a skewer pushed into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
Leave to cool and make the buttercream by placing all of the icing ingredients into a jug and whisking until light and whipped.
Once the cakes are completely cold decorate with the buttercream icing and enjoy.