Nothing makes me happier than when I can combine two things I love into one thing I really love!
I love apple cake and I love carrot cake. While looking at some apples in the market I noticed carrots on sale also, and inspiration struck! Why not combine the two? Tart apples, sweet carrots, warm spices, moist cake … how can that be anything but good? To increase the yum factor I added a bit of some fabulous dark maple syrup that was sent to me by a friend in Canada. Honestly, it was crying out to be added to the cake.
The result is a moist and tender cake with a hint of maple flavor. I topped the cakes with a light oating of maple cream cheese frosting for extra tang, and an extra punch of maple goodness. These would make a great breakfast, but are also lovely for snacking and dessert!
Apple Carrot Maple Cakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting Yield 12 muffins, or 1 – 8″ square cake
For the cake:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup natural applesauce
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated tart apple
1/2 cup grated carrot
For the frosting:
1 ounce cream cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
Heat the oven to 350 F and spray a 12 cup muffin pan, or 8″ square pan, with non-stick spray.
In a small bowl combine the sugar, brown sugar, butter, and maple syrup until well blended. Add the buttermilk, egg, and apple sauce and mix well. Set aside
In a large bowl add both the flours, the spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Whisk to combine.
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and whisk until just combined. Add the shredded carrots and apples and fold in until evenly distributed and no dry flour remains.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes for the muffins, 30 to 40 for the 8″ square cake, or until the cake springs back when pressed in the center and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cake cools prepare the frosting. In a bowl combine the cream cheese and butter. Whisk until well combined.
Add the powdered sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
Frost the cake and enjoy!