Feb 17, 2011

Today I am in Hiding...

Lincoln Park Zoo 9/10
Did you ever have one of those days...you know, THOSE days. Today is one for me. I am officially in hiding while I try to figure out where I left my DIY brain. You see, I have been working on my office project for a long time. Things were going good and then I would hit a glitch. I would get back on track only to be derailed. Then the whole project was stalled due to creative differences between me and my wall (more on that later). I honestly am having the hardest time just trying to hang a shelf...a shelf for crying out loud...I actually am crying out loud! Real tears, people! Ugghhh!

Today I am working on a jump start to get my butt back in gear. While I am doing that I thought I would leave you with a little Carrot Cake/Cupcake recipe from lasts weeks Carrot Challenge (check it out here).

Carrot Cake or Cupcakes

Ok - I kind took this recipe from Ina Garten out of a back issue of BH&G. I revamped it a bit to make it a bit healthier and put my own spin on it. A lot of recipes call for more oil and sugar than necessary so I try to cut where I can...I hope you likey!

You will the following...

  • 1lb Carrots which is about 6-8 medium size. Once grated it should come to about 3.5 cups. On a side note I was happy to be using my GIANT carrot which I was saving for a special occasion...weird, I know. But look at that thing - it is HUGE!!
  • 1.5 cups Sugar
  • 1 Cup Canola or vegetable oil
  • 3 TBS of ground Flax seed mixed with 9 TBS of warm water - If you want to you can use 3 eggs instead of the flax/water mixture. I don't like eggs so I go the alternative route.
    Flax Eggs...sooo simple!
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 Cups Flour - I do a mixture of Wheat and White
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Chopped Walnuts - or more if you want! I used up the last of what I had which was a little less than a cup but I would have added 1.5 cups if I had them!
  • 1 Cup Butter AKA 2 sticks Butter or Margarine - I use Earth Balance which is a vegan butter but go with what you have.
  • 3/4 Cup Cream Cheese - this is purely a taste thing. I dont like my frosting too tangy so I like to leave some Cream Cheese out. If you are baking vegan use a CC substitute.
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 lb Powder Sugar - Do not add it all at once!!
OK - Lets Bake!!
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees - make sure you don't have anything IN your oven or are using it as a storage area like Carrie on SATC. Move you rack to the center now before it gets too hot.
  2. In the mixer, or by hand, beat Sugar, Oil, Eggs, and Vanilla till smooth.
  3. In another bowl sift the dry ingrediants together: flours, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  4. Add the dry to the wet while still mixing.
  5. Toss in the carrots and walnuts and keep mixing till it is all combined.
  6. Use a cupcake tin with liners or you can use a small cake pan and divide the batter into 2 small cakes...layer them later or freeze one!
  7. Bake 10 minutes at 400degrees then lower to 350 and bake for about 20 more minutes. Once you start to smell them keep an eye on them as goes with all baking.
  8. Let cool completely before frosting
Picture play by play:

Let's FROST!
  1. Make sure your butter is room temp or your frosting will be chunky.
  2. Blend the Butter, Cream Cheese, and Vanilla.
  3. Slowly add the Powder Sugar. I didn't use as much as the recipe called for. It really depends on how stiff/sweet you want your frosting. I liked mine a bit thinner more like a heavy glaze.
  4. Wait until cupcakes are coll before frosting and then START EATING!!
Need pics, you say?

FYI - the above is what happens when you have cold butter - lumpy frosting. To fix this mess I put the whole bowl on the stove top for a couple of minutes and that brought the temp high enough to get a smooth mix. Do not leave it on too long or you will have a liquid mess on your hands...

All in all this recipe turned out diving AND I got rid of 1 lb of carrots ta boot! Want to see inside?


Your turn! Go bake yourself some goodness. It certainly helps to get you out of a funk if you are in hiding mode like me. :) Oh - and if you live in the area fell free to stop by for some carrots...I have plenty!


PS - I am linking this recipe up to some ParTays with some other Bloggy friends! Check them out here!!

PSS - Anyone catch my new kitchen gadget? Thanks to my neighbor Mandy for getting me this triple cooling rack! It has a whole other layer but so far I haven't had to bust it out...that would be a whole lot o' cupcakes!

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