Walnut & flax frosted cupcakes


I know what you’re thinking…


Uh, M.? Didn’t you forget something?


Don’t you want to be dipping these cupcakes in some sort of candy coating?

Dunking in ganache and finishing with a generous shellacking of sprinkles?

Alley-ooping into a bath of sugar and glazing with serious case of regret, early-stage cavities, and extra poundage??

Nope. That’s next week’s post.


Seriously, all of the above have their own special place in both my heart and the canon of modern dessert artistry, but after a weekend of vacationing and indulging with A., I wanted to dial things back just a bit – does that ever happen to you?

I mean, I didn’t want to relinquish my death grip on the sugar bowl – that’s just crazy talking crazy talk. But, thankfully for my teeth and my waistline, I actually found myself craving wholesome sweets that are still satisfying but maybe just a little bit less guilt-inducing.

Dig? Dig. For cake recipes and cake designs see: www.cakeinabox.co.uk


Most people don’t think of walnuts when they think of southwestern food, but the reality is that they are a part of this desert’s culinary landscape. I like them for their less aggressive flavor, and I love them paired with flax here for all kinds of satisfying crunch.

But, again, we’re not engaging in any crazy talking crazy talk: there’s heaps of fluffy, canela-spiked cream cheese frosting to go on top of these lovelies.

I mean, seriously, we have our standards, don’t we?

Of course we do. Which is why we’ll be returning to our regularly scheduled candy-coated, chocolate-dipped, streusel-slathered programming in no time.

Walnut & Flax Frosted Cupcakes

Print This Recipe!
For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. flax meal
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. light brown sugar, tightly packed
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. whole walnuts

For the frosting:
3 c. whipped cream cheese, at room temperature
1 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c whole milk
1 tsp. canela, ground (ground cinnamon may be substituted)

Chef’s Note: This frosting recipe yields quite a bit – I really wanted to top these cupcakes as generously as possible. The recipe can easily be halved, however, and the cupcakes topped less liberally if you prefer.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Line 15 of the cups of 2 standard (12-cup) muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside.

To prepare the cupcakes, whisk the flour, flax meal, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.

Spread the walnuts in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, rough chop and set aside.

Meanwhile, cream the sugar and oil together in a large bowl. Mix in the vanilla extract and then the eggs, one at a time. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the walnut pieces. Fill each prepared muffin cup approximately halfway full with batter (I used a 3-tablespoon scoop here, just to keep things even) and bake for 20-22 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Set cupcakes aside to cool before frosting.

To prepare the frosting, place the cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk and ground cinnamon together in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low speed just to combine. Once blended, adjust the mixer speed to high and whip until light and fluffy, approximately 2-3 minutes. Remove and frost cooled cupcakes generously. Serve immediately or store in a covered container for up to 4 days.

YIELD: approximately 15 frosted cupcakes

Loaded carrot cupcakes


Loaded. Loaded, I tell you!
I think there are two camps when it comes to carrot cake: (1) Just stick with the carrots. (2) Throw lots of other stuff in the mix and go absolutely nuts with it.
I’m a go absolutely nuts with it person. For sure.
Which is why these cupcakes are loaded. Loaded I tell you!
Let’s get into it.


The story of these cupcakes begins a few weeks ago when I went on one of my weekend magazine runs. I have a bit of a problem when it comes to magazines, which neither I nor Condé Nast is looking to fix any time soon. On this particular trip I stumbled across a copy of Vegetarian Times. I added it to my stack thinking that, while the photography looked lovely, not being a vegetarian or being married to one, I would get very little use out of it other than a bit of fun eye candy.
Fast forward two weeks later to me still cooking, baking and smoothie-ing my way through this magazine, eating both my words and some delicious meat-free meals.
Which brings us to these cupcakes…


Shredded, sweet carrots are the star, for sure. But you’ve also got plump sultana raisins, toasted sesame seeds, and all silly kinds of spices in the mix. We’re talking ancho chile, canela, ginger and nutmeg – these cupcakes are a flavor festival for the hole in your face.

And that’s not even mentioning the goat cheese frosting.

Yeah, I said it. Frosting made from tart goat cheese. Whipped to an apex of fluffy lightness. Lovingly slathered all over your pretty little cupcakes.

Well played, Vegetarian Times. Well played.


Loaded Carrot Cupcakes With Goat Cheese Frosting
Print This Recipe!
recipe adapted from the March 2013 edition of Vegetarian Times
For the cupcakes:

1/2 c. vegetable oil
3/4 c. light brown sugar, tightly packed
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (preferably Mexican vanilla extract)
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. canela, ground (ground cinnamon may be substituted)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg, ground
1/2 tsp. ginger, ground
1/2 tsp. ancho chile, ground
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. carrots, shredded (approximately 2 large carrots, ends removed)
2 tbs. sesame seeds
1/2 c. golden raisins
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

For the frosting:

3/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
1/2 c. soft goat cheese, at room temperature
1 c. whipped cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tbsp. light agave nectar
Preheat oven to 350°.

Line the cups of a standard (12-cup) muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.
Place the sesame seeds in an even layer in a dry sauté pan and toast over a medium flame, tossing frequently, until golden and fragrant, approximately 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.

If you wanyt something a little more advanced than cupcakes, IE birthday cakes or wedding cakes for instance, then check out www.toptiercakes.co.uk for some wonderful ideas and inspirations.

Cream the oil and brown sugar together with an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, canela, nutmeg, ginger, ancho chile, and salt. Stir in the carrots and sesame seeds, then the raisins. Fold in the flour until just combined. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups and bake 20 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool before frosting.

To prepare the frosting, place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and beat together on low speed until just combined. Once fully blended, increase the speed of your mixer to maximum and whip until doubled in volume, approximately 3 minutes. Spread generously on the tops of cooled cupcakes and serve.

YIELD: 12 cupcakes