The big day is here.  The day I could not even conjure up in my head 10 months ago.  You know, when a baby is 2 months old and she can’t do anything but eat, cry and sleep and cry and cry….And now the day is upon us and how she has changed!  Smiles that melt your heart, laughter that makes you warm all over, physical abilities that make me burst with pride.  Nothing is better than my Little Pea.

This carrot cake placed right up there though.  Moist as all get out, quite spicy and that icing!  That icing is the icing that I have been waiting all my life for.  Smooth, cool, creamy, sweet and tangy.

I went for The Very Hungry Caterpillar theme.  I saw this cake/cupcakes made up on Pinterest.  I had it bookmarked for months.  I must say that I am very pleased with how it turned out.  I used marzipan instead of fondant for the head with a thin layer of the cream cheese icing underneath.  I thought the taste was great! A little wobbly for my first time using a piping bag with the star nozzle, though.*  My friend Patty once told me a Japanese saying – imperfect art has it’s own character.  I think I’m going to go with that!

And of course LP inhaled it.  I picked carrot cake because it is healthier than just regular cake, right?  Because of all the carrots. So, if you just wanted to bake yourself up some healthy cake, this is the one for you.  And go ahead and eat a whole bunch.  All that beta carotene is good for your eye sight – wink wink.

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing – via smittenkitchen.com

The recipe makes 24 cupcakes or two 9″ cakes.  Just like Smitten Kitchen, I grated the carrots on the fine grater.  I loved this since there were no thick strands of carrot, but grating was……..a pain.  I made 1.5 batches of this recipe for the cupcakes and one 9″ cake.

Carrot Cake

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
4 large eggs
3 cups grated peeled carrots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 degrees celcius).  Mix the dry ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.  Mix the oil and sugar together and then add one egg at a time and incorporate.  Now add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix.  Lastly, add the grated carrots and stir until just combined.  Spoon into cupcake tins lined with paper cups 3/4 full.  Bake for 14-18 minutes until a tester comes out clean.  OR half of the batter into a 9″ buttered and floured pan and bake for 40 mins and repeat.

Maple Cream Cheese Icing

Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (I used Mon Chou cream cheese)
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Slice the butter and cream cheese into 1″cubes and put everything into a mixing bowl.  Use a hand held mixer to combine until whipped and smooth.  Add food colouring of your choice.

*Here is a handy tip for using a piping bag.  It made my life soooo much easier.

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