I suspect that my mother spoils me.
She was the one to bring the green stand mixer into my life.
And while visiting me this weekend (along with my aunt) she bought another small appliance for my kitchen.
A fancy-schmancy food processor. One that chops, shreds and slices. And holds 7 cups of food. A major upgrade from little baby 3-cup chopper I had been using. (Which perfectly fine – it just doesn’t have any bells and whistles and is unbelievably small.)
And my first thought was “Well what I can I make with this?”
Followed immediately by “Carrot cake – but only as cupcakes.”
And suddenly I craved carrot cake. But the weird thing is I never liked carrot cake as a child. The cream cheese frosting, well, that’s another story. But the carrot cake never really did anything for me. What I would do was take the tip of my finger and scrape off the cream cheese frosting, leaving the carrot cake alone and naked. For the life of me I can’t think of why my younger self didn’t like carrot cake. Moist, spiced cake with sweet carrots topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting.
I found the recipe in the collection of recipes that my mother gave me several Christmases ago. Just carrots and cake. No chunks of pineapple or raisins ruining the carrot flavor. I halved the recipe and reduced the cooking time for the cupcake version.
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
makes 12 cupcakes********** Carrot Cake 1 cup sugar 3/4 cup vegetable oil 1 cup flour 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 eggs 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans Cream Cheese Frosting 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature 5 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 2 cups powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla
Measure the vegetable oil in your mixing bowl.
Mix in the granulated sugar.
While beating the oil and sugar, sift together all of the dry ingredients. (The stand mixer is crucial for multi-tasking.)
The ground cloves.
And the salt.
Go ahead and add the dry ingredients to the oil and sugar mixture.
Beat in the eggs.
And finally fold in the carrots.
Fill up muffin cups about 3/4 full.
Bake at 350º for about 23 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
About halfway through baking, I realized I forgot the walnuts. So I improvised.
Let cool before frosting.
While the cupcakes are cooling, mix up the cream cheese frosting.
Bring the butter and cream cheese to room temperature in a mixing bowl.
Now beat in the powdered sugar, a little bit at a time.
(I know I put 2 cups in the ingredient list – but honestly I just dumped until I thought it tasted right. And I prefer a not-t00-sweet frosting.)
Add just a touch of vanilla.
There may have been some finger licking.
Judging from the grunts coming from my houseguests, I would say they turned out well. And my adult tastebuds agree.
I figured it was only fair that if my mother was going to feed my kitchen addiction that the least I could do was feed her.