Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

I absolutely love this time of year.  I love the colors and the smells of the kitchen as we turn from herbs towards spices. After the long hot humid SE Louisiana summers, I especially love the cool weather.  Nothing warms a house faster than something fragrant baking or roasting in the oven.  When deciding on classic fall fare, I turn to the northeast for authentic recipes.  This recipe hails from Connecticut a la Carte which is owned by the Jr League of Hartford, Inc.  My sister gave me this book in 1982.  I made slight changes to update to my style of cooking.  The recipe calls for 2 cups sugar and I split the sugars using 1 cup each of granulated and light brown sugars.  Also, I only buy large eggs so I used 5 as they called for 4 extra large eggs.  Lastly, I always add vanilla to my baked goods.
Line 2 muffin tins with 11 muffin papers keeping open a corner for handling.  Preheat oven to 350.  Peel and grate 4-5 carrots on a grater box to produce 3 Cups Grated Carrot.  In a bowl fitted with the wire whip, beat 5 Eggs for about 30 seconds.  With mixer running, add 1 Cup Granulated Sugar and beat for 30 seconds.  Add 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.  Add 1 tsp Kosher Salt, 1 tsp Cinnamon and 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla.  Beat for another minute or 2.  In the meantime, sift 2 Cups Flour with 2 tsp Baking Soda and add slowly to the bowl with the mixer running on medium.  Stir in by hand 3 Cups Grated Carrot.  Using a 1/4 cup scoop, scoop batter into muffin papers and bake 1 pan at a time for 18-20 minutes or until fragrant and lightly golden.  I always test for doneness using a toothpick.  If it comes out clean, it's done.  Let cool completely and make a quick cream cheese icing.
Beat 1/4 Cup Butter with 4 oz Cream Cheese.  Add a few Tbl 1/2 & 1/2.  Add Powder Sugar until you have the consistency and volume you are looking for.  Go back and forth adding sugar and 1/2 & 1/2 as needed until it is perfect.  This is very forgiving.  You can even stuff the cupcakes with the icing and just top with powder sugar.  I like to color the icing in a variety of fall colors.  As you ice the cupcakes top them right away with things like, a Walnut Half, Holiday Sprinkles, Maple Sugar, Nutmeg, Candy Corn, Toasted Coconut and Vanilla Sugar.  Just have fun!

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