Wednesday, 25 March 2009

My Bunny Cakes

Of all the Holiday Seasons, Easter is by far my favourite one. Not only is it a time to eat more chocolate than is good for you, but for me it also a time when I can give flight to my baking fancies. All of the pretty pastel colours which are abundant this time of year, lend themselves wonderfully to lovely tea-time treats. Plus, with the shops filled with eggs, bunnies, chicks and lambs, both real and candied, I am always so inspired to create my own Easter treats, that I cannot help but get an early start on it all.

This year is no different, and although we are still a couple of weeks away from Easter weekend, I just had to bake my special Bunny Cakes when I came back from the shops this afternoon with a big bag of fresh carrots. These delightful little cakes are essentially small carrot cakes, but with the addition of honey, use a lot less sugar and oil than the traditional big cakes. Frosted with a low fat cream cheese and orange icing they are a much healthier and lighter option, and give a welcome break from all the chocolate.

Now that I've made mine and they are ready to eat, I thought that I would share my recipe with you and hopefully inspire you all to make your own :)

My Bunny Cakes:
(makes 12)
  • 280g plain flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 75 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 120g light brown soft sugar
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  • 350g carrots, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 90 ml vegetable or seed oil
  • 75g chopped pecans nuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 190°C/ gas mark 5. Prepare a 12 bun muffin pan by either greasing or lining the trays.
Sift all of the dry ingredients, except the sugar, together into a large mixing bowl, and make a well in the centre.
In another bowl, lightly beat the egg and then stir in the milk, honey, sugar and vanilla followed by the carrots and lastly add the oil. Mix everything well.
Add this wet mixture to the dry ingredients, and with a large metal spoon, mix everything together until just combined and none of the dry flour is visible. Finally add the nuts to the mix. It is really important not to over-stir this mixture, you ideally want a bit of a lumpy batter.
Working quickly, spoon the mixture into the waiting tins. Bake the cakes for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown and the tops spring back when lightly pressed.
As soon as you can handle them, take the cakes out of the tins, and let them cool completely on a wire rack.

Low-fat Cream Cheese and Orange Icing:
  • 70g Low-fat cream cheese, softened and at room temperature
  • 115g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp softened butter
  • zest of 1/2 an orange
Beat the cream cheese, butter and icing sugar together until smooth and thick. Add the orange zest and mix really well to distribute it throughout the frosting. Put into the fridge for about 30 minutes before frosting the cakes.

Once frosted, you can adorn these sweet little cakes as much as your imagination allows. Sometimes, I go the whole nine yards and make tiny little candied carrots to place on-top or using marshmallows and liquorice strands, will turn the entire cake into a bunny's face. Today, I felt that they needed nothing more than perhaps a small glace cherry on top to make them hop :)

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