I love tiny little desserts, who doesn't? They are perfect for parties, most not requiring cumbersome utensils to eat or serve. Everyone just dives in for a bite. These sweet little cakelets are no exception. Just grab 'em and go.
While the Fall season is looming on the calendar, the weather here in Oregon has been unseasonably warm, about 90 degrees at the moment. I cannot complain, we have had a beautiful wine grape growing season. It should be an epic harvest, with lots of big and bold fruit flavors and plenty of sugar to ferment into alcohol.
However, even with the warm weather, I still have pumpkin and apple on the brain. It's hard not to, as I witness the leaves slowly changing color outside my office window. Soon the rains will come and I will be dreaming of a warm weather vacation. You really need one when you reside in the Pacific Northwest.
Anyway, I made these cakelets in my Nordic Ware Mini Bundt-Brownie Pan. I love this pan. I love the idea of creating little bites of cake in this pan. But, I have a question, I love Nordic Ware and all of their really cool pans. But, no matter what I have tried, I never get those perfectly edged cakes like they have in their pictures.
I have tried various methods of greasing the pans, cooking spray, cooking spray with flour, Crisco with flour ~ applied several different ways. Yet, my cakes always lack the perfect edge. Does anyone know the secret? Is there one? I'd love to know because I LOVE all my festive Nordic Ware pans. All comments appreciated!
And this my friends, is my new favorite baking ingredient, pure vanilla bean paste. Do you hear the angels singing? Vanilla bean paste is made by infusing the actual vanilla bean into a mix of water, vanilla extract, sugar and a thickening agent to make this yummy product.
It is full of visible vanilla bean seeds and can be substituted for a vanilla bean (1 Tablespoon = 1 vanilla bean). An equal quantity of paste can also be used in place for an equal quantity of vanilla extract. So, all of those recipes you would love to have speckled with the appearance of the seeds, here's your answer. You can thank me later. I currently have five jars in my pantry, the shelf life is two years. However, I'm hoping my stash makes it through the holidays.
Aren't these darling? This is why I love this pan. The flavor possibilities for mini bundts are endless. I did use my food processor to shred the carrots, using the fine shredder attachment. The carrots are shredded so finely, you can't even see them in the cake. If you don't have a food processor, make it a priority to get one. It makes certain jobs in the kitchen so easy!!
Pumpkin Pie Spiced Carrot Cakelets with Buttercream and Walnut Dust
- 4 large eggs
- 1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 2-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 3 cups finely grated carrots
Pumpkin Pie Spiced Buttercream
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/8 cup walnuts, shelled (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour pan. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla bean paste. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Slowly add to wet mixture until fully combined. Do not overmix. Stir in carrots.
- Pour half of batter into prepared pan, about 2/3 full for each cake. Bake 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in pan and invert cakes onto a cooling rack. Wash and prepare pan again. Repeat with remaining batter.
- For frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Place a dollop of frosting on each cake or use a pastry bag to pipe out frosting.
- Place walnuts in a plastic bag. Use a rolling pin to pulverize them into dust. Sprinkle on top of buttercream.
See the specks in the buttercream? That's the lovely vanilla bean paste. Pretty, isn't it?
My husband loves carrot cake so I'm always making a different version. Here are a couple others to try:
Triple Layered Spiced Apple Carrot Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting
Alton Brown's 18-Carrot Cake