April 02, 2010

Easter cupcakes: it was my turn indeed

It was about time I was going to post something for Easter. I have seen the cutest things around my favorite blogs: carrot cakes, chocolate eggs, super cute Easter bunnies, and even cuter cupcakes. I couldn't resist anymore! I am going to Portland from Saturday to Monday so I will not have a chance to bake those days. Today I felt it was my last chance as I actually had free time. But...what to choose with all the amazing Easter decorations I have seen around? (and I am not much of a decorator yet). Looking at my first 11 posts I have noticed that I still have no post about cupcakes and after all I feel cupcakes are the one goody that gives the widest range of Easter (and non-Easter) adorable decorations.

So I have decided to make some Easter-theme cupcakes for Wally to bring to work. As I said, I'm not a great decorator and I still cannot use gum paste or fondant but I did have still a lot of icing from yesterday's Wilton class (the last of course 2! I will have to post something on that too! soon, very soon!). Anyway, I have this complex about not being a decorator (did I say it enough times now? I am not a decorator). I still do not feel creative enough to come up with an original, never-seen cupcake topping and honestly I also do not feel I have the tools yet. So I decided to do something simple, that did not require me spending the afternoon learning how to use gum paste or fondant and miserably fail (my heart and my rubber spatula could not have survived another failure, not so soon at least).

I played safe but I think this was not such a bad idea. Sometimes I feel we try to make overly complicated or innovative things instead of going back to what we already know how to do and make it better! I decided to go for a recipe that is in one of my favourite cupcake books:  "A Baker's Field Guide to Cupcakes" by Dede Wilson. [I should update my book links...there are so many amazing things I should do on this blog...I need 9 lives like my kitties].

The cupcake is a very simple carrot cake cupcake with cream cheese frosting. What I did differently instead is that I made the carrots for decoration with the royal icing I had at home. I know...I know...but you cannot eat the carrot then! Ok, don't look at me like that...the truth is: I did not feel like going out and look around for sugar candy carrots, while, as I said, I still had a lot of icing from yesterday's class. Also, sometimes I have a thing for making everything myself from scratch. I was already not making any innovative recipe....I wanted at least to claim that I had made every single piece of the cupcake.

Anyway, these are very easy cupcakes. The good result is almost 100% sure. Oh and Wally forgot to bring them to work so I simply distrubuted them among friends. Too bad for Wally's co-workers...but there were more for us :-).

"Real Carrot" cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes (make 24 cupcakes)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil*
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 cups grated carrots (from about 3 large carrots)
1 1/4 cups walnut halves, toasted and finely chopped
1 cup dark raisins (which I omitted)

*The book recommends to use a light-flavored oil but, personally, I do not like canola oil and I did not have vegetable oil so I used 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil instead of 3/4 cup canola or vegetable oil.

Cream Cheese Frosting (yield about 4 cups)

1 stick and 2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
1 1/4 pounds cream cheese at room temperature
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, whisked before measuring

1 1/2 cups ground chocolate cookie or graham crackers crumbs (I used the latter)
24 icing "carrots"

To make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper liners in all wells of two 12-cup cupcake tins.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt together in a small bowl to aerate and combine; set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until well blended, about 1 minute. Whisk in vanilla extract, then whisk in eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to be absorbed before continuing. Whisk in carrots. Stir in dry mixture until almost completely blended. Add nuts and raisins (not in my case) and stir just until blended (An extra-large rubber spatula works great here).

Divide batter evenly among cupcake wells. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center shows a few moist crumbs.

Cool pans on a rack for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes to cooling racks to cool completely.

To make the icing ( made only half doses and it was more than enough):

In a large bowl with an electric mixer on a medium-high speed, beat butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Frosting is now ready to use. (It may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Rebeat after storing).

To assemble the cupcakes:

Frost each cupcake generously using an icing spatula or a spoon. Place cookie crumbs in a wide bowl. Hold each cupcake over the bowl. Using a spoon or your fingers, scoop up crumbs and sprinkle a row of cookie crumbs across the cupcake to mimic a row of dirt (Excess crumbs will fall back into the bowl and ca be reused).

"Plant" a carrot as shown in the photo, with carrot tops poking above icing and carrot buried below.

Source: Dede Wilson, "A Baker's Field Guide to Cupcakes".

Carrot on Foodista


  1. Wonderful recipe! If you won't mind I'd love to guide foodista readers to your site.Just add your choice of Foodista widget at the end of this blog post and it's good to go.Thanks!

  2. Madhura: thank you...they were actually pretty good :)

    Alisa: thanks for contacting me. i would love to be put in touch with Foodista readers! I will add the widget right now :)


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