If you’ve ever taken a little gander at my recipes, you might notice I don’t have very many baked goods & that’s because I’m not much of a baker. You’d think my love for science would translate to baking being my forte, but no recipe = inedible hot messes. In high school, I baked a lot of cakes using a Better Homes & Gardens cookbook my mom had. I loved that I could easily make an apple, carrot, or miscellaneous fruit cake from scratch & I always had friends over to lick my cake pans clean. I didn’t think it was challenging back then, but now? Trying to create the best chocolate chip cookies from scratch or even some elegant French macarons result in failure. I probably jumped the gun trying to tackle the macarons, but I figured since they’re some of the hardest things to bake; if I can’t cut it with those, I’m probably just bad at baking.
On the other hand, cooking comes really natural to me; toss a bunch of complementary ingredients together et voilà, dinner! So, one day I stumbled upon a beautiful recipe for Earl Grey Tea Loaf Cake & I was inspired to use my love for tea in my next baking adventures. While I still haven’t quite perfected the macaron, I have to start with my baking basics: cake. I’ve made a bunch of different breads in the last 3 weeks, but this recipe for my Maté Carrot Cupcakes is one of my favorite things I’ve baked so far. Using my new love for DAVIDsTEA’s Honey Bee maté, I figured it’d be delicious to bake with, but the remaining question was “in what?” Since maté originates in Argentina, should I make an Argentinian inspired cake for the first time or should I make a fancy smancy version of a cake I’ve made before? I went with the latter, because I figured I wasn’t about to infuse maté with 3 different kinds of meat.
Maté Carrot Cupcakes with Greek Yogurt Frosting
Still curious about what maté is? Its processing is very similar to Camellia sinensis (aka tea leaves) in that it comes from a maté tree: it’s picked, dried, & ready to consume for that extra boost of energy. It’s a natural stimulant & a cup of it can be just as potent as a cup of coffee, without that caffeine crash. Stick it in some baked goods & you’ve got some energizing cupcakes!
So, is this completely South American inspired? Kind of… These cupcakes are in no way a homage to Argentinian cuisine, however maté originated there & is embedded in their culinary cultural roots. Using maté in my carrot cupcakes doesn’t make them South American by any means, but many of the ingredients that go into the carrot cupcakes overlap with many South American desserts: eggs, flour, sweetener, & vanilla. Let’s not forget that carrots are very prominent in South American cuisine, so while this is a classic American treat, it’s only appropriate I give credit to the inspiration. The Greek Yogurt Frosting is clearly not South American rather, it’s a healthier version of cream cheese frosting. Read more about maté & get my recipe to recreate your own cupcakes. Plus, I’ll have you know my roommate Cassy, her friend, 4 of my neighbors, & 4 of my co-workers all raved about these cupcakes.
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