Cashew, Carrot, Cardamom Cupcakes with Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting23

Posted by in Carrots,Indian-Inspired,Nuts,Spices (Sunday October 21, 2007 at 4:47 pm)

cashew, carrot, cardamom cupcakes with cashew cream cheese frosting

This recipe is inspired by a delicious dessert I had when I was last in India. I actually didn’t know the name of the dessert, but I described it to my coworker and she informed me that what I had was Gajar Halwa or carrot pudding. I considered two preparations, one where I made the pudding and stuffed cupcakes with it and the second where I made the pudding and put it directly in to the batter. I opted for the second, simpler preparation. We were having an amazing weekend in San Francisco and I didn’t want to spend it all indoors.

These cupcakes are delicious and completely edible (meaning I could eat and eat them). The cake is much like a typical carrot cake, but mellower. Otherwise, it is just as moist and very flavorful with the crunch of the cashews and slight spiciness of the cardamom. The frosting is scrumptious. I am a fan of cashews and I am very happy with how this recipe came out – creamy, not too sweet, slightly tangy, and very “cashewy”. Together the cake and frosting result in a perfect mid-morning or afternoon treat – satisfying without overwhelming.

makes 30 cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1 pound carrots
2 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee
1/2 cup water
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon cardamom pods
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup cashews, chopped

1. Peel, rinse, and grate the carrots with a fine grater.
2. Sauté the carrots in clarified butter for 3 minutes. Add the water, bring to boil, cover and simmer for 3 minutes.
3. Remove the lid. Stir to cook off any remaining water.
4. Add the milk and cardamom pods. Simmer for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
5. Add 1/2 cup of sugar and stir to dissolve. Simmer for 5 more minutes. You could stop here and have some yummy pudding to eat with vanilla ice cream.
6. Remove of the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. I spread the mixture on a sheet pan so it would cool faster. Remove cardamom pods.
7. In a large bowl, mix together the cooled, cooked carrot mixture, eggs, vanilla, 1-1/2 cups sugar, vegetable oil, and milk.
8. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom.
9. Stir the flour mixture into the carrot mixture. Continue to stir until combined.
10. Add the chopped cashews and stir to combine.
11. Scoop out into cupcake papers about 2/3s full. This will give you a nice dome that won’t overflow, so long as your oven is hot enough.
12. Bake at 350 degree oven for ~25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

cardamom and cashews
cardamom and cashews

Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup cashews
2-3 tablespoons vegetable or nut oil
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, room temperature
8 ounces or 1 package of Philly cream cheese
3-4 cups powdered sugar

1. Grind the cashews for a few pulses in a food processor to break them up.
2. Add two tablespoons of oil and continue to pulse until the nuts start to get creamy. Add more oil, 1 teaspoon or so at a time, until you get to a creamy consistency like chunky peanut butter.
3. Beat the butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Add the cashew butter and beat to combine. Scrape the bowl.
4. Sift 3 cups of the powdered sugar into the bowl. Beat to combine.
4. Add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like.

Note: If you add too much sugar and the frosting gets too thick, simply add a tablespoon or so of milk to soften it up.

1. Frost the cooled cupcakes.
2. Garnish with a cashew or candied carrot.

ready for transport
ready for transport

23 comments for Cashew, Carrot, Cardamom Cupcakes with Cashew Cream Cheese Frosting »

  1. Love. It. My Aunt Harmeet makes gajar halwa, and it’s always such a treat at Christmas.

    Comment by Garrett — October 21, 2007 @ 10:36 pm

  2. Those sound fabulous! I am a huge fan of Indian food (after living in the UK)…this would be a perfect accompaniment…

    Comment by Caffienated Cowgirl — October 22, 2007 @ 12:20 am

  3. you always come up with the most creative cupcake ideas! and this one is right up my alley…mmmm cashews and cardamom YUM. i can not wait to try it. it’s also really interesting how you made the “pudding” first (cooked the carrots) before making the cupcakes. i’m really intrigued how this changes your basic carrot cake.

    Comment by monica — October 22, 2007 @ 3:08 am

  4. Mmmm, looks delicious! Can’t wait to try this!

    Comment by Sara — October 22, 2007 @ 11:11 am

  5. Where did you purchase the cupcake carrier?

    Comment by Tee — October 22, 2007 @ 3:49 pm

  6. These are beautiful, and tempting. I love halwa, especially the carrot version!

    Comment by Faith — October 22, 2007 @ 7:00 pm

  7. I bought them here – – the carriers are great, but mind you they only sell in bulk. But I bake a lot so 100 boxes works fine for me…

    Comment by chockylit — October 23, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

  8. OMG that looks delicious! I can’t WAIT to try the more spicy cupcakes you have going.

    My uncle LOVES cashews, I might make your cupcakes for him as a birthday present (oh, and he tends to prefer the cashews we make here and not the ones from India that he would normally buy).

    By the way, I’m going to start blogging about my cupcake journey but wanted to say that you were the first cupcakerette that I found a few weeks ago and ever since then I’m HOOKED!

    Tomorrow I’ve got an interview for a job at a local bakery (they want someone to make cupcakes and decorate cupcakes! imagine!) and I just wanted to say that I made a concoction cupcake from some of your recipes and some of my own added ingredients to take to the future-boss tomorrow

    THANKS so much hon and your pictures made me hungry hah

    Comment by Naline — October 23, 2007 @ 7:42 pm

  9. I am currently addicted to your blog. I have one request/question.

    Do you ever do eggless cupcakes? I am getting married in March and am looking to do about 100 cupcakes instead of doing a wedding cake. The only problem is that my soon to be husband has a dietary restriction that doesn’t allow him to have eggs. I can not find any good recipes for eggless cupcakes.


    Comment by Kristen — October 24, 2007 @ 8:02 pm

  10. I tried to make the homemade frosting and here’s what happened:

    smelt like eggs, was watery and I was beating it by hand …

    I’m not sure but I followed your instructions except I wasn’t sure since it didn’t say if the egg/sugar mix has to cook on the water bath or not?

    Comment by Naline — October 24, 2007 @ 9:40 pm

  11. Oh, Cheryl, I was so looking forward to your newest cupcake but this one isn’t doing it for me. Totally not your doing: 1) I had copious quantities of burfi (which I hate, in fact, I dislike most Indian sweets) shoved in my mouth when I was a child (Indian women are overbearing and force children to eat even when they don’t want to, thankfully my mom wasn’t like that but her friends were!), and 2) I now HATE cashews.

    Horrible childhood food experiences have ruined this for me! Although I think it would work just swell with almonds, which are a common base for Indian sweets. Why, yes, I think we’ve found a solution!

    Cashew & burfi hatred aside, I adore your blog and have to thank you for your cupcake inspiration and the recipe for the wonderful peach/blueberry/thyme cupcake that my friends all harass me to make for them now!

    Comment by roopa — October 24, 2007 @ 11:01 pm

  12. Kristen: I know you asked chocky, but I figured I’d jump in. I used to make these cupcakes all the time growing up. very popular and super yummy!

    the only egg is in the cream cheese filling, so I imagine you could find something else to bind the cheese together. The cake part is also vegan, so it’s a great recipe to alter for such uses. This isn’t the specific recipe I used growing up, but it’s close enough :)


    Comment by sarah — October 25, 2007 @ 11:15 am

  13. Awesome! Cashews are my favorite nuts. Thanks for this.

    Comment by Chubbypanda — October 25, 2007 @ 1:12 pm

  14. Oh no! I stumbled upon your blog today and happened to be contemplating making cupcakes for our halloween party this week. Your blog is (beautifully) cruel and intoxicating. I’m going to have to subscribe now… See what you’ve done?!? so (deliciously) cruel.

    Comment by Silversara — October 29, 2007 @ 12:22 pm

  15. Wow – what a brilliant recipe. Have a huge passions for cooking and adore Indian food. This just complements the flavours of a fine Indian meal perfectly. Wish we had a place like this in New Zealand – well done!!!!

    Comment by Deb B (New Zealand) — October 30, 2007 @ 1:14 am

  16. YUM! I made these last night and they are a hit at work this morning! I altered it a bit, and subst. one ts of ground cloves for one of the cardamom (my hubby has a low cardamom tolerance). And used 1c sugar + 1/2c brown sugar (I ran out of white)

    They came out moist and fragrant and will definately make them again!

    Comment by J.Mai — October 30, 2007 @ 2:51 am

  17. I made these last night and found the recipe very forgiving and easy to work with, despite the many ingredients and steps. They came out wonderfully! Thanks for the inspiring recipes.

    One suggestion. It would be helpful to know approximately how much volume of halwah and cashew butter you are supposed to end up with after processing. I don’t have a scale and I think I ended up with way too much halwah, but I just omitted the extra half cup of milk and it worked out great.

    Comment by Jet — November 15, 2007 @ 4:16 pm

  18. I love this recipe, your Blog is amazing and inspiring…i all ready did the lavender cupcakes and they are wonderfullll… just a couple of questions. whats changes if i replace the unsalted butter for the normal butter(in any recipe)? and how can i split the cashew cupcake recipe for 12 to 15 cupcakes?

    Thanks! Cheryl…

    Comment by Candycanne — November 17, 2007 @ 9:58 am

  19. My girlfriend has warm milk with cardamom in it just about every night before bed — I made these for her birthday and they flew off the plate. And the cashew butter in the frosting? That’s an evil, wonderful, evil thing. Beautiful texture, color and a taste so subtle it’s dangerous.

    Comment by Burkbum — November 20, 2007 @ 3:04 pm

  20. ooOOooh! Irelly love it
    i canot wait to tray it
    thnk u so mutch

    Comment by meaad — November 22, 2007 @ 3:57 am

  21. So Delicious cupcake sometimes i will try to make it.Thanks for the recipe

    Comment by Dinda Sheeva "Great Wedding Cakes" — December 22, 2007 @ 8:22 pm

  22. Thanks for the recipe. I ask my friend Tami who loves to make cupcake to try it. I just love to eat it. :))

    Comment by lia — April 23, 2008 @ 12:32 am

  23. What a great idea! I am making a variation on these today. I made beet halwa (made in the same fashion, just substitute beets) and figured I’d use it as a filling. The color of the beet halwa is amazing on its own, and will surely provide a beautiful contrast to the orange cupcakes.

    Did you use roasted cashews for this recipe? I figured you must have. . . I just roasted mine, so I’ll know soon if it was the right thing to do!

    Keep up the good work, you are an inspiration to many!

    Comment by Ashley — December 15, 2009 @ 9:53 am

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