Saturday, November 19, 2011

One More Reason to Stuff My Face

You ever say yes to something when you shouldn't? A simple something, like maybe oh, can you help me with a little party? Just a little birthday thing, no big deal. And then the next thing you know you are baking and cleaning and picking up flowers and balloons and getting stuck in traffic and decorating a dining room while nursing a baby and trying to put him to bed with three minutes to spare even though the guest of honor's flight was delayed? Yeah. That.

These are those kind of crazy cupcakes. Sigh. At least they were worth it. I know that carrot cake is usually a spring thing, but these were a special request. It was a birthday, and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is the birthday girl's very favorite thing. Of course I had to go all overboard in the middle of 4 other projects and make her some from scratch with little carrot toppers instead of just ordering them and giving my boss the bill. Typical. They were a delicious pain in the ass that took me three days to complete thanks to Jude getting a cold, Jason forgetting he needed a Halloween costume until the last minute, and then everyone got sick. Word. So anywhosit, even though these are really a spring thing, a few recipe switches make them fabulously fall friendly. Say that 5 times fast. I switched the raisins out for dried cranberries and added crystallized ginger and coconut. Top them with turkeys instead of carrots (or just a sprinkling of coconut and cranberries) and they'd be kick ass on your Thanksgiving table. And on your ass later, cause these are so fricking fattening! Have two.

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing 
adapted from Martha's Cupcakes

1 lb. carrots, peeled and grated (sounds like a lot, but trust me!)
3 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. buttermilk
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/2 c. dried cranberries
2 Tbls. crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1/2 c. grated unsweetened coconut
3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
For icing:
2 sticks butter at room temperature
12 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature
reserved vanilla bean seeds
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Blend carrot, egg, sugar, oil, buttermilk, 1/2 of the vanilla bean seeds, ginger, coconut and cranberries in a large bowl. Sift remaining dry ingredients and fold into the carrot mixture. Divide evenly among tins and bake for 15 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely on wire racks. Beat butter, cream cheese, and vanilla bean until very fluffy. Beat in sugar a little at a time until very fluffy, at least five minutes. Frost cupcakes.

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