June 16, 2011

A Humpday Post...

Yelp and Google are my new best friends.  But like some friends, they can be a bit overwhelming.  My besties tell me that there are:

  1. 3 cupcake bakeries in the Loop 
  2. 3 in Lincoln Park
  3. 2 in the Gold Coast
  4. 2 in Lakeview
  5. 1 on wheels (which will be right across from Millennium Park while I'm in rehearsal tomorrow..maybe they'll still be there when I get out of rehearsal...or I can escape to get one on my break...muahaha)
  6. don't even get me started with the suburbs and other neighborhoods I don't visit much...
I'm making a list in my head of the ones I should make a visit to so hopefully I'll go to at least ten.  That makes one a week but then I also should then hang out with another friend of mine, Jillian Michaels, to prevent me from getting cupcake belly.  


In the meantime, I'll post a favorite cupcake recipe I like to bake.  They're amazing but a lil time consuming if you don't have a food processor.  


The recipe comes from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking, which Big Sista bought for me a few years ago.  I took the Carrot Cake recipe and just put the batter into cupcake liners.  They're not quite perfect cupcakes since they don't dome but who has to know if you just put a huge mess of frosting on the top! 


The pic is from the New World Bake-Off in 2009.  In a rush to frost and decorate, I made the carrots on top look a lil suspect. PLEASE IGNORE.  But please do try out this recipe.  The cake is so moist and the cream cheese frosting is a perfect complement to the spice-filled cake.   


Carrot Cake (Cupcakes)
baking temp: 350 degrees
baking time: 22-24 minutes


Cake:
4 large eggs
1.5 cups vegetable oil
2 tsps vanilla extract
1.5 cups granulated sugar
0.5 cup packed light/dark brown sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour, traditional or white whole wheat
2 tsps baking soda
1.5 tsps baking powder
1.5 tsps salt
1 tbs ground cinnamon
0.5 tsp ground nutmeg
2.5 cups finely grated carrots (about six carrots)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup shredded or flaked coconut sweetened or not, according to taste
1 can (8oz) crushed pineapple, drained *(i only partially drained the pineapple to make a more moist cake)

Cream Cheese Frosting:
6 tbls (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 package (8oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2-4 tbls milk
food coloring (red, yellow, green)

Preheat the oven to 350 degress. Line the pans with cupcake liners and spray with non stick spray.

To make the cake: beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer and add the oil while the mixer is running.  Add the vanilla, then sprinkle in the sugars.  you will have a thick, foamy, lemon-colored mixture.  Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices in a medium bowl.  Add these dry ingredients to the eggs and oil in your mixing bowl, mixing to make a smooth batter.  Add the carrots and nuts, then the coconut and pineapple.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s).  each cup should be filled 2/3 of the way or use a 1/4 cup of batter.

Bake the cakes for 22-24 minutes.  The cake is done when a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack in the pan for five minutes then remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the frosting: combine the butter, cream cheese and vanilla in a medium bowl and beat them together until they are light and fluffy.  Add the sugar gradually, beating well.  stir in the milk a little at a time, until the frosting is a spreadable consistency. Frost cupcakes





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