Cardamom, carrot and zucchini — yes, vegetables (!) — create complex-tasting but easy-to-make cupcakes. The cupcakes are moist enough on their own, but for an extra mouth-watering element, top them with a delicious rosemary and orange crème fraîche. And if you prefer a full-blown cake to a cupcake, this recipe can easily be used to make a cake using two 9-inch spring form pans.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare 2 cupcake trays and line them with muffin cases.
For the zucchini and carrot cupcakes:
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and cardamom with a wooden spoon.
In a stand-alone mixer (or in a large bowl, using an electric hand-held mixer), whisk together the sugar and eggs until pale and fluffy. With the mixer still on, pour the oil into the bowl, in a steady stream, and mix until it is completely incorporated, then mix in the vanilla extract.
Sift the dry ingredients into the batter and fold in with a spatula until just mixed through. Add the finely grated carrot and zucchini and fold through until completely incorporated. Divide the batter between the two lined cupcake tins and place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Remove the trays from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely. Spread the frosting on top of each cupcake before serving.
For the rosemary and orange crème fraîche:
Pass the orange juice through a sieve into a small pan with half of the caster sugar and rosemary, and simmer until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely, then remove the rosemary sprigs and discard. Fold into the crème fraîche, then cover and chill until needed.