This is another great recipe from the cupcake book my sister gave me for Christmas (Cupcakes by Susannah Blake). These are actually not terribly "carrot-y"...the orange flavor is more prominent.
I used a different frosting than in the original recipe, which called for mascarpone cheese (we didn't have it on hand). Instead, we used some non-fat cream cheese from the fridge to make a quick cream cheese frosting (cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, a little butter, and orange zest). It was not as thick as most cream cheese frosting, even though there wasn't much liquid in it, I guess because of the lack of fat in the cream cheese? It was still yummy, though, and had a good cream cheese tang even if it wasn't super creamy. With the low-fat frosting, the use of oil rather than butter in the cupcake, and the carrots, this made for a relatively healthy cupcake that was still extra delicious!
Carrot and Cardamom Cupcakes (from Susannah Blake)
1/2 c packed brown sugar
2/3 c oil
grated zest of 1 orange
seeds from 5 cardamom pods, crushed (or 1/2 tsp ground cardamom)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 c self-rising flour
1 c grated carrot
1/2 c chopped walnuts or pecans
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Put sugar in a bowl and break up using the back of a fork. Beat in the oil and eggs. Stir in the orange zest, cardamom, and ginger. Sift the flour into the bowl and then fold in, followed by carrots and nuts.
3. Spoon into muffin cups and bake about 20 minutes until risen and a tester comes out clean. Cool and then ice with cream cheese-orange frosting (rough recipe above in notes--just mix to taste and to the consistency you want!)