Sunday, April 29, 2012

RECIPE: Carrot Cupcakes with Caramael Cream Cheese Frosting

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 On Saturday night our friends invited us over for a bbq at their ranch.  I forget sometimes that we live in the same city, since we're in the cookie cutter suburbs.  But their 5 arces of farmland is every kid's dream-- goats, chickens, horses, a huge treehouse, trampoline, land to explore, and plenty of pigs to chase.  Yes, Lucy and Owen had a ball chasing those squealing pigs around the pen and I'm kicking myself for not snapping a photo.  It was hilarious.

So our contribution to the bbq was my anytime favorite: Carrot Cupcakes.
I used the same yummy Carrot Cake recipe but with a couple modifications and an added twist on top: Caramel.
Makes appx 22-24 cupcakes

2 - 4 carrots (enough for 2 cups grated carrots)
1/4 cup oil*
1/4 cup smashed banana (about 1 banana)*
1 3/4 cups white sugar **
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup lowfat milk mixed with 2 tsp vinegar)
* the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of oil but I decreased that to 1/4 cup oil and added a 1/4 cup smashed bananas.  And it turned out great.  I still loved the consistency, it was slightly more healthy,  and no one could even taste the banana.
**the original recipe calls for 2 cups sugar. I cut it back to 1 3/4 cups and it still tasted wonderful.
Heat the oven to 350º
Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners

• Grate 2 - 4 carrots. Measure 2 cups of loosely-packed carrots (don't cram the carrots into the measuring cup) and set them aside.
• In a large bowl beat the oil, banana, sugar, eggs and vanilla together until light, about two minutes.
• In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.   Mix the flour mixture, buttermilk, and carrots into the oil/sugar mixture for about 2 minutes. 
• Scoop approximately 1/3 of the cupcake mix into each cupcake holder
• Bake for about 18 minutes at 350 degrees, until a toothpick comes out clean.
• Let the cupcakes cool on a rack while you prepare the frosting....

makes enough for 24 cupcakes or a layered cake

8 ounces Cream Cheese (Lite Cream Cheese or Neufchatel room temperature)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick) at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
5-6 cups powdered sugar
• Cream together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla.   
• Add the powdered sugar and enough milk to make a creamy, spreadable frosting.  
• Place the frosting in a piping bag or make your own by spooning frosting into a ziplock bag and cutting a small hole on the corner of the bag (do not seal the top of the ziplock bag).  
• Pipe the frosting onto each cupcake.
• Then....(nothing fancy here), drizzle each cupcake with a bit of cold pre-made caramel (I used Smuckers).
• refridgerate the cupcakes till ready to eat.
And, Yum.
They get a little messy but it sort of adds to the charm.
 After burgers and hotdogs, we pulled a whole pile of cupcakes out of the fridge for the masses to enjoy.
Then it was time to take June for a ride.
Cupcakes, horse rides, sunsets, and good conversation.
That's my kind of an evening.

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