Friday, April 9, 2010

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

I'm back with part 2 of Easter weekend food!  After we did church and brunch with John's family, we trucked it up to Alpharetta with our friend Jill and hung out at my parents house.  We enjoyed a fantastic dinner - Jill's stuffed mushrooms, my dad's grilled filets, lots of fresh veggie side dishes, and we finished it all off with my Carrot Cake Cupcakes.  

I was originally going to make a carrot cake, but the weekend really got away from me and I just didn't have the time.  These cupcakes ended up working really well though - good portion control and I was able to bring the rest into work on Tuesday to share with some co-workers.

A quick update on the marathon training - I went to the doctor last week, they took a lot of x-rays and basically told me what I already was sure of - I have bad runners knee in both of my knees.  The doctor gave me the advice to STOP running all together and to do some serious cross training until d-day, 4/24.  She said if my knees are feeling better, to still try to run the race.  This would put me at about 5 weeks of no running before the marathon!  I'm still debating what to do - my knees kind of ache even after a walk, so I'm not positive.  I guess it will be a game time decision - stay tuned.  I'm pretty bummed after 3 months of serious training, but I also am trying to listen to my body - I really don't want to put myself in a position where I cannot run comfortably again.  Maybe I'll just be a half marathon girl for the rest of my life :-)

Anyway - back to the cupcakes.  They were absolutely delicious.  Even John, who is not really a cake person (he prefers pie!) told me for days how much he liked them!  The cream cheese icing topped with coconut really made them shine - I'll just choose to forget how much butter, sugar, and cream cheese went into it!  The lesson here is you really can't go wrong with a Martha Stewart recipe, especially when it comes to desserts.  I've blogged about her pumpkin pie and chocolate pistachio biscotti before, which are both seasonal favorites!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Recipe Source: Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes

1 pound carrots, peeled and finely chopped (I chopped mine in my new food processor!)
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe to follow)
unsweetened shredded coconut for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners.  In an electric mixer, stir together the carrots, eggs, buttermilk, sugar, oil, vanilla, and raisins.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.  Stir the flour mixture into carrot mixture until well combined.

Pour the mixture in the lined muffin tins about 3/4 full.  Bake for 28 minutes.  Transfer to wire racks and cool completely.  

Once cooled, top with cream cheese icing and garnish with coconut.  (The recipe called for sweetened, but I only had unsweetened and they were still great).

Cream Cheese Icing
Recipe Source: Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

2 sticks butter, room temperature
12 oz cream cheese, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy (about 3 minutes) in an electric mixer on high.  Add in the sugar by 1/2 cup increments until well combined.  Add in the vanilla extract.  Spread evenly on cupcakes.  

The cream cheese icing can stay in the fridge for 3 - 4 days.  Just bring to room temperature and whip again before topping.

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