Carrot cake is a perennial favourite and yet more proof that the idea of vegetables in desserts is not as crazy as it sounds. You could replace the candied carrot with tiny marzipan carrots for decoration.

Makes 12 cupcakes, Prep: 20 minutes, Cook: 35 minutes

150g carrots
100g light brown sugar
175 ml sunflower oil
2 large eggs
225g flour
¾ tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
grated zest of 1 lemon
50g shelled and blanched pistachio nuts
50g finely chopped dried apricots

Candied carrot:
75g carrots
75g sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp water
Cream cheese frosting:
100g cream cheese
250g icing sugar
1-2 tsp lemon juice
½ vanilla pod

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Grease 12 mini muffin cups or line them with paper cases. Peel, then grate the carrots into a bowl with the fine shredding drum on the rotor vegetable slicer/shredder on speed 4.
  2. Cream the sugar, oil and eggs in the mixer bowl with the wire whisk on speed 6 until pale and fluffy. Mix in the flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom and lemon zest until just combined. Fold in the grated carrots, pistachio nuts and apricots, then spoon into the cups and bake for 20 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  3. Make the candied carrot. Peel, then grate the carrots with the fine shredding drum on the rotor vegetable slicer/shredder on speed 4. Put the carrot strips in a saucepan with the sugar, lemon juice and water. Slowly bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Then cook on a high heat for 5 minutes until the syrup has thickened and the carrot strips have become translucent.
  5. Make the cream cheese frosting. Beat the cream cheese and icing sugar in the mixer bowl with the wire wisk on speed 4. Stir in lemon juice to taste, then scrape out the seeds of the vanilla pod and mix in on speed
  6. Spread the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and decorate with the candied carrot.