Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sometimes you NEED carrot cake

I'm back. The air conditioning system has been replaced, the workers left a hell of a mess but I really don't care, not today. Today, it's cool and I might have just found my cooking juju. I was accused of having broken juju but I'm feeling every so slightly like me again and that might be instrumental in repairing it, and me.

I thought I needed support from specific people to make me believe in my own cooking and writing ability. I think I may have been wrong. Family is complicated and you can't make people care. The people who are in my life by choice make me realize how blessed I really am. I'm going to try not to focus on those who don't care and smile sweetly in the direction of those who do.

I've done a lot of soul searching in my head for the past couple of weeks and I think I made some decisions about food, cooking, writing and life in general.

Nothing profound that I care to share today, today, in addition to wallowing in the coldness of my house, I have a hankering...

I have a hankering for carrot cake. The ONLY problem with carrot cake is the sheer size of it. Husband doesn't like anything sweet and Connor claims to love treaties but really hardly eats any of them. I love carrot cake but even I can't eat a whole one.

Enter the muffin/cupcake. I'm not a fan of either really but if you fill the paper cups with carrot cake and slather, liberally, with decadent cream cheese icing then in my book it's neither muffin nor cupcake, it's heaven in the palm of your hand. I'm calling them mini carrot's all in the name. I morphed some recipes, some old and some new and this, my pretties, is what we have.

Let's begin. (Oh and this post is pictureless because I was almost frantically making it, cooking it and slathering it and forgot to take pics, sorry but really, they're that good)

Preheat oven to 350, remove cream cheese from fridge to come to room temperature, grab some butter and let it warm up too. Line a 12 and a 6 muffin pan with cups. I made 18, I think you could make only 12 and they'd be higher but then there'd be your own math on it.


Combine (by hand or in your beloved kitchenaid)

2 eggs
1/2 + 1/8 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 dribbly tsp of vanilla

Beat like heck. Dump on top of it (I don't bother with the extra bowl then combining, even though I have a dishwasher, I'm all about less dishes is more joy)

1 cup a/p flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 solid grating of nutmeg (I use the whole nut and scrape once into the bowl)
1 1/2 cups grated carrots (I grate them with my cuisinart but a hand box grater is fine. I grated 2 extra fat and 1 thin carrot today and it was only slightly more than the amount so I tossed them in anyway)
1/2+ cup chopped walnuts (I portion half the batter first because Connor isn't a nut fan and then add them to the rest and get extra nutty ones for me!)

*Some people add raisins and pineapple...if you're one of those types, go for it just add a bit. I'm not a fan of either in my carrot cake, hence the absence of them in the recipe.

Blend gently until just mixed and scoop into the papers with an ice cream scoop. Again, either fill them to the top and get 12 or 3/4 and get 18, it's your call.

Bake in preheated 350 for 25 minutes or until just done, do not over bake these babies, you'll be sorry.

When the oven dings, remove them to a rack to cool completely. It's torturous but IF you made 18 then you can eat one warm and no one will know any are missing whereas if you made 12, someone will notice. Just an observation.


1/2 package (4 oz) cream cheese - room temperature
2 Tbsp butter - room temperature
whip these together with a whisk with a dribble of vanilla and a pinch of salt then add
1 cup confectioners sugar (or more or less depending on the consistency you want, I want thick so I can pile it on and swirl it)

When the cakes are cool, put an enormous blob on each and swirl it, put it on thick, it's carrot cake after all and everyone knows most of the joy is in that smooth cheesy sweet thick creamy icing.

Ice them, eat a couple (to ensure they're good enough for those who you love) then arrange them on a plate to be a hero for anyone who walks into your house. They're moist, delicious, crazy easy and quick. I had a vision that I'd freeze half of them (before I frosted them) but, um, no. I've already eaten 3 - they're carrots...that's GOT to be healthy!!!


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