Carrot cupcakes with quark icing

Let’s try this again.

The last time I started prepping this recipe to post, my poor ‘ol MacBook got drowned in an apartment flood. Maybe I’ll try to keep my fingers crossed so that nothing happens to my computer while I finish it up this time. Sure, it might take a little longer to write, but at least I won’t lose all my files again, right?

A few months ago, my exceptionally lovely friend Kerri and I ventured out to the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market to get some baking supplies so that we could spend the afternoon collaborating on a new blog post. I already had a few staple items laying around waiting to be turned into something delicious, like Speerville Flour Mill organic unbleached white flour, Scotsburn butter, Overmars Farms eggs, and Just Us! fair trade organic cane sugar, so we went out in search of inspiration and found something new and exciting to us: Foxhill Cheese House quark.

Quark is often used as a substitute for cream cheese – it’s soft and has a little tang, but it’s lower in fat and doesn’t contain any salt. So, since it’s lower in fat, that means if you make a batch of icing with it you can just eat it by the spoonful (or entire batch-ful), right? Sssh. Don’t ruin this for me…

ingredients

Since I also had some organic PEI carrots courtesy of Taproot Farms from Pete’s at home hanging out in the crisper, we decided our quest was complete with the quark and headed home to make a personal favourite of mine: carrot cake… err cupcakes.

Carrot Cupcakes with Quark Icing
Yields approx. 4 dozen medium cupcakes, or 2 dozen regular/large cupcakes

For the cupcakes
4 eggs
1 ¼ C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 C Just Us! fair trade organic cane sugar
1 tbs vanilla extract
2 C Speerville Flour Mill organic unbleached white flour
1 tbs baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
3 C Taproot Farms organic carrots, grated
For the icing
1/2 C Scotsburn Butter, room temperature
1 C Foxhill Cheese House quark
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 C icing sugar

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. I’ll be completely honest with you, I usually forget to preheat my oven, despite the fact that every recipe ever starts with a reminder to preheat your oven. Maybe I’m just a rebel, or maybe I just don’t read too good. Who knows?

Give your carrots a quick wash, then ask your lovely assistant Kerri to peel them for you.

Peeling carrots
If you are not so lucky, and do not have a lovely assistant, you can do this yourself.

Next, take your freshly peeled carrots and grate ‘em up until you have 3 C worth.

Grated carrots
We used four carrots, but this can vary depending on the size of the carrots so this one’s up to you to figure out.

Crack your eggs, then add the olive oil and vanilla, and let them whip for a minute or two.

Oil, eggs, and vanilla mixing

Pour in your Just Us! fair trade organic cane sugar

Add sugar

Mix until blended. In another bowl, mix Speerville Flour Mill organic unbleached white flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, then add your spices.

Nutmeg and cinnamon

Pour it all into your sweet oily egg mixture, and once again mix until blended. Then pour in all the grated carrots. All of them.

Add grated carrots

Then… guess what? Mix until blended!

Mix batter until blended

Line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners. We went with medium liners so that we could have lots of little cupcakes. Fill them just-about-to-the-top with batter. Once the liners are full, whatever’s left in the bowl is totally fair game to just eat. I refuse to believe that there is anything wrong with eating raw batter. Ssshhh… don’t ruin this either…

Soon to be cupcakes

Pop ‘em in the oven for approximately 18-20 minutes. At the 7 minute mark I usually check on them and rotate them. To test and see if they’re done, try the ‘ole toothpick trick. If it comes out clear, you’re all done.

These cupcakes are SUPER moist, so be careful taking them out of the pan. Give them a minute to cool down, then gently transfer them to a wire rack to cool.

Cupcakes cooling

Now it’s icing time!

Put your Foxhill Cheese House quark and Scotsburn butter together in the bowl and blend them together.

Quark and butter

Then add the vanilla and icing sugar and mix.

Icing mixing

We found the quark made the icing a little runnier than cream cheese, we carefully added a little extra butter and icing sugar to get a thicker texture. Our theory is that if you used slightly harder butter and some extra icing sugar that it would have had a little better texture, but be careful – if you add too much icing sugar you’ll lose that delicious tangy flavour. Not worth it.

This icing isn’t pipeable (that’s a word, right?) but it’s lovely to just place a small spoonful on each cupcake and let it smooth itself out.

Carrot cupcakes with quark icing

And there you have it. Simple, delicious, and totally counts as a serving of vegetables, right? Sssh… no need to ruin this either…

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