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La Brea Bakery Carrot Raisin Baby Cakes

1/2 C. coarsely chopped walnuts
2 T. unsalted butter, melted for brushing the pan
1 1/2 C. unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 3/4 t. baking powder
1 1/4 t. baking soda
1 3/4 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 t. ground ginger
just under 1/2 t. ground allspice
pinch of ground cloves
1 1/2 C. light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 extra-large eggs
1 T. pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 t. grated fresh ginger
3/4 C. plus 1 T. vegetable oil
2 1/2 C. grated peeled carrots
1/4 C. crushed pineapple, well-drained
1/2 C. California golden raisins

Frosting:
7 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 C. powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 C. creme fraiche or sour cream

For cakes:
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 325F. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Prepare 12 mini-loaf pans by brushing them with melted butter.

Turn the oven up to 350F. In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, ground ginger, allspice and cloves together.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the sugar and eggs on medium-high for 10 minutes, until lightened in color. Add the vanilla extract and grated ginger and mix on medium to combine. Add the dry ingredients and the oil alternately, in three batches, mixing on low until just combined.

Fold in the carrots, pineapple, walnuts, and California golden raisins. Fill a pastry bag with the batter. Pipe the batter into the prepared mini-loaf pans.

Bake for about 20-30 minutes, until lightly browned and springy to the touch. Remove from oven. Allow cooling for about 10 minutes, and then turn the cakes out of the mini-loaf pans to finish cooling.

For frosting:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar on high speed for about 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix another 2 minutes, until the frosting is light and fluffy. (The frosting can be made up to two days in advance.)

Using a piping bag fitted with a No. 2 star tip, pipe the frosting in a horizontal serpentine design. Makes 12 cakes.

    
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