They say you’re either a baker or a cook. Thus far, I would always have classed myself in the cook category. I am not very mathematical, which I feel goes a long way to hinder the sponginess of my sponges and the crumbliness of my pies.

However, I’m starting to come around to the idea that you can do anything in the kitchen. Anything at all. As long as you’re not that fussy about the results, that is.

Baking in my kitchen has in the past been very stressful scene, all piles of flour and wretched-looking spatulas splattered across the floor. The last few times I’ve baked, however, a realisation, nay, a revelation, has slowly dawned on me.

I am not a Masterchef contestant.

If my cake doesn’t turn out, I will not get eliminated.

Yes, it will be frustrating if my cake flops, but really the only person I’ll be letting down is myself. My friends and family will be understanding and no one misses a cake or a loaf that they’ve never tasted. Am I right?

As this has sunk in, my calmness approaching baking has risen. So what if the cakes I make look a bit worse for wear and my cupcakes are dangerously lopsided? If they taste good, it’s a job well done in my book.

It was with this in mind that I approached these Carrot and Cream Cheese Cupcakes. Let me tell you, they were a delight to make and they came out a dream. Lovely and moist, sweet and sumptious, and very lopsided indeed.

The only thing I changed about this recipe was that I substituted the whole spice for 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and 1/4 of a whole nutmeg finely grated. Otherwise, I followed it to the T. I’m not about to mess with tested baking recipes!

What you need for some Ah-mazing Carrot and Cream Cheese Cupcakes 

I got 7 muffins out of this mix, but I was using rather large muffin cases. I’d say using regular sized muffin cases, you’d get closer to 10 or 12.

175g brown muscovado sugar (the light kind was the one I used)

100g wholemeal self-raising flour (I only had regular wholemeal so I used it and added 1 teaspoon of baking powder, as advised by the lovely Like Mam Used To Bake. Thanks for saving my baking, Rosanne!)

100g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

2 teaspoons of mixed spice (as stated above I substituted this with 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon and 1/4 of a whole nutmeg, finely grated)

Zest of 1 orange

2 free-range eggs

150ml sunflower oil

200g carrots

For the Cream Cheese Icing

100g of butter (make sure it’s out of the fridge and soft!)

300g of soft cheese

100g icing sugar, sifted (I actually used the same amount of caster sugar because I didn’t have any icing sugar and it was grand!)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Orange coloured sprinkles, to decorate (I didn’t use these but sprinkled with orange zest instead)

Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cases.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the sugar, flour, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice and orange zest.

Whisk together the eggs and oil, then stir into the dry ingredients. Now finely grate the carrot and add it to the mix.

Divide the mixture between the cases and bake for 20 to 22 minutes until a skewer poked in to the largest muffins comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before icing.

For the icing, beat the butter until really soft. I used my food processor for this but a hand-held beater is probably better. Although I don’t know why. Baking. Tsk!

Now beat in the soft cheese, icing sugar (or caster sugar as I used!) and the vanilla extract. Give it a taste. It should be really yummy.

Using a spatula or a cutlery knife, swirl dollops of icing on top of the cooled muffins. Finally, sprinkle the orange decorations (or a little grated zest of orange) over each muffin as a final decoration.

Bring these babies into work and expect a promotion by little break time.


I couldn’t resist. I’m just on giant cheeseball.