Thursday, October 20, 2011

the goose loves carrot cake cupcakes

I'm working hard to get these posts out, because I want to be up-to-date by November! So keep in touch. More good things coming!

The past few weeks, our farm share has brought us dozens of carrots. We don't mind, really, because we know what to do with carrots and we like how they turn out. There are other things (like chard, or fennel, or japanese eggplant) that we don't know what to do with, and they don't always turn out so tasty.
But carrots are easy. You can broil them, boil them, grill them, or saute.

Or you can make cake.

We made cake, of course. Carrot cake!
I did some internet "research" which included checking my favorite blogs for carrot cake recipes. I decided to go with a recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everthing, an awesome blog with great recipes. Here's her version:

Carrot Cake
From: The Girl Who Ate Everything, via Camden LeeMaster  

1 cup oil
2 cups white sugar
3 eggs, beaten well
2 cups carrots, peeled and grated finely
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour (replace one cup with whole wheat flour for a denser, nuttier taste)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix oil, sugar, eggs, carrots, pineapple and vanilla until combined.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and add slowly to the wet ingredients.

To make a 9x13 cake, pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish for 45 minutes.

To make a 2 layer cake use 2 round pans and bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If using 2 round pans make sure to really grease or use parchment cut in circles so that your cake comes out clean. Invert cakes into a cooling rack.

When cake has cooled frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1lb (4 cups) powdered sugar

Beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and then powdered sugar one cup at a time, scraping the bowl often. Frost the carrot cake.

So there's no way I'm going to spend hours grating carrots on a box grater (which I don't even own) and risk my poor fingertips. Using my cuisinart took me all of 5 minutes, which left me about 55 minutes to browse the internet or watch TV or pet the dog - more useful things, you know.
Here's the ingredient spread. Like my baking-supply tupperwares? Oh and that's grated carrots, not cheddar cheese.
You start by mixing all the wet ingredients, which included a can of crushed pineapple. Yeah I thought it was weird too, but it makes for really tasty and moist cupcakes.
Separately combine your dry ingredients - I added plenty of cinnamon and went off script by adding some nutmeg and allspice - classic fall flavors in my book.
Slowly incorporate the dry stuff into the wet stuff. I could have used my stand mixer, but I already had the Cuisinart to wash...
Now you have a bowl full of wet pre-cupcake goodness, ready for baking. You could go with cake rounds, but I went for the muffin tin.

Ahh, golden-y goodness! I got exactly 24 cupcakes.
Now for my frosting. Two of the best ingredients ever - butter and cream cheese.
I used my stand mixer for this job - no sense in wasting all that arm power to cream the ingredients, when you could instead use your arm for remotes or applying nail polish or something.

Voila - we are complete!
I made about half the recipe of frosting and put it in a tupperware. I then frosted the cupcakes when I was ready to eat them, and left the rest dry. Here's my theory -

A muffin becomes a cupcake with frosting. Frosting-less cupcakes are muffins. Cupcakes do not make for a healthy breakfast, but muffins do.
So I'd eat a muffin in the morning (they are seriously just as tasty without the frosting) and then a cupcake at night! There are really lots of benefits of frosting individually:

1) the cupcake-muffins are easier to store without worrying about refridgerating tall frosting-tops
2) you can just eat the frosting with a spoon if you run out of cupcake-muffins (or if you just want frosting)
3) you can eat the cupcake-muffins for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert
4) you can eat the frosting for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert
5) you can put more frosting on your cupcake-muffin than you would have originally. maybe a spoonful of frosting per bite? I think so.
Sorry for the dark photo. It was night and I just wanted to eat the damn cupcake-muffin.
So wanting to be healthy but still needing a cupcake? Make these, they fit the bill. I've actually made these twice in the past few weeks (I'm telling you, carrots are extremely abundant in those organic fields!). The second time around, I didn't have more crushed pineapple but I added chopped pecans instead. Just as tasty! I know. I just ate one!

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