1. Begin by preheating your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and lining a 12-hole muffin tin with large cupcake cases.
2. Grate the carrots using a large hole grater before wrapping tightly in food-grade muslin and squeezing out the excess liquid.
3. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, combine your dry ingredients (sugar, flours, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice and orange zest) and mix thoroughly.
4. Lightly beat the eggs in a separate jug. Before adding these, add the sunflower oil and the grated carrot to the dry ingredients, mixing by hand until thoroughly combined.
5. Divide the mixture evenly between the cupcake cases and bake at the top of the oven for around 25-27 minutes (until the mixture stops bubbling or ‘singing’).
6. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the tin for around five minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
7. While your cakes are cooling, make your buttercream. Begin by creaming your butter until pale and smooth.
8. Add in the icing sugar, a little at a time, ensuring each addition is fully incorporated before adding the next – the orange juice can be added at this point if the mixture is too stiff to work with.
9. Finally, add the orange zest and mix through thoroughly.
10. When your cakes are fully cooled, use a piping bag with an open star tip to pipe a swirl of buttercream onto each cupcake, before decorating with a sprinkle of freshly chopped pecans.
11. Once the buttercream has set, store in an airtight container for up to three days at room temperature.
These deliciously spiced cupcakes are a perfect way to sneak an extra portion of this week’s ‘veggie villain’ into your 5-a-day. They also keep brilliantly in an airtight container, meaning they make the perfect addition to your lunchbox.