Emma is one of my favorite characters on Glee, so I was very excited to make her cupcake this weekend. On the outside, Emma is a reserved, polished, sweetheart of a guidance counselor with a little spunk to go along with her firery red hair. Inside, she wrestles with more complex issues - a battle with OCD and a longing to be loved by the one man who stole her heart.
I knew from the start that her cake would be carrot cake, but with her recent proclamation of Gingerhood, a little kick from some ground ginger was definitely in order! The ginger also helps add a level of complexity to the flavor of the cake, to play off Emma's internal struggles. In keeping with Emma's polished exterior, I topped the cake with a tribute to her signature bow blouses and throwback hairstyle - a white fondant bow with curled tails.
Emma's cupcake combines gingered carrot cake with a delicate cream cheese frosting, topped with a signature bow!
Gingered Bow Cupcakes
Source: Slightly adapted from Baking Illustrated
Yield: about 24 cupcakes
Total time: 45 minutes
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (12 1/2 ounces)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoons table salt
- 1 pound medium carrots (6 to 7), peeled
- 1 1/2 cups evaporated cane juice (10 1/2 ounces)
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
- 4 eggs (large)
- 1 1/2 cups safflower oil
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar (4 1/2 ounces)
- fondant, for decorations
- Wash all bowls, pans, utensils, and equipment in hot, soapy water. Dry thoroughly.
- Wash all carrots thoroughly to ensure they are free of pesticides.
- Day dream about Will Schuester.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 muffin pans with sterilized cupcake wrappers.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and salt in medium bowl; set aside.
- In food processor fitted with large shredding disk, shred carrots (you should have about 3 cups); transfer carrots to bowl and set aside. Wash food processor components thoroughly with hot, soapy water, then dry pieces and fit bowl with metal blade. Process granulated and brown sugars and eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds. With machine running, add oil through feed tube in steady stream. Process until mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 20 seconds longer. Scrape mixture into large bowl.
- Realize you are alone and break down in tears, singing "All By Myself."
- Pull yourself together.
- Stir in carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Full cupcake wrappers 2/3 of the way and until toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean, about 16-20 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time.
- Cool cupcakes to room temperature in pan on wire rack. When ready to frost, prepare icing. Try not to pass out while working with cream cheese and butter. Process cream cheese, butter, orange juice, and vanilla in clean food processor workbowl until combined, about 10 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add powdered sugar and process until smooth, about 10 seconds. Frost cupcakes and top with fondant bow. Have a cupcake to make yourself feel better.
- Resume day dreaming about Will Schuester.