Having mastered tacos, I decided to apply my culinary prowess to the realm of baking in an attempt to make something for Elly’s birthday. I don’t ever recall baking anything, let alone baking something from scratch. But since Elly makes all of our meals and desserts, I figured I could return the favor once (plus I knew I’d be granted leniency, considering it took her three attempts to make me a German chocolate cake).
Elly repeatedly changed her mind on what she wanted but finally settled on carrot cupcakes (after I wasted time looking at recipes for spice cakes). So how did it go? Meh. I thought I’d be able to mix all the ingredients in a bowl, dump it into a muffin pan, and get the cupcakes into the oven within 20 minutes, then play video games for 15-18 minutes while they baked, and then spend 5 minutes frosting the cupcakes. Wrong! It took me about an hour to prep everything, mix stuff, etc. before getting them in the oven. I next spent 20 minutes staring at the oven while the cupcakes baked (I didn’t play video games because I had to be vigilant about the moistness of the cupcakes). Then, unbeknownst to me, I had to wait 40 minutes for the damn things to cool! Only after that was I able to frost the cupcakes. Overall it took me a little over 2 hours. Sheesh.
A few other things I learned along the way:
- You can’t grate an apple. If a recipe calls for grated apple, you’re better off grabbing your meat tenderizer and just pulverizing the thing. It’s faster and yields roughly the same results.
- Read your recipe carefully and double check the unit of each measurement. I can’t stress this one enough. Any time I do try to follow a recipe, I either misread at least one of the directions (like the time I made waffles but forgot to add sugar) or use the wrong unit for the measurement of an ingredient [like this time, when I caught myself pouring ¾ a cup of baking soda, when I only needed ¾ a teaspoon of baking soda (I would like to interject here that *I* was the one who caught him doing this, after he told me I had run out of baking soda). Yeah, I wasted a lot of baking soda].
- When lining a muffin pan with cupcake liners, make sure you only use 1 liner per cup in the pan. I was careless and used 8 in one cup and 3 in another. There’s 9 cupcakes I’ll never get to eat.
- When used for baking, cream cheese and butter need to be at room temperature. Thus you’ll either need to set these ingredients out on the counter an hour or two ahead of time or rely on your wife to take care of this detail.
I got the sense that this activity was more for Elly’s entertainment than anything, but whatever. Despite my inexperience, I think the cupcakes tasted pretty good (although Elly says my pictures aren’t that convincing). And for her next birthday, I’m going to combine my two signature dishes into one: taco carrot cupcakes.
Me again – another interjection. I would just like to say that these carrot cupcakes were delicious. Very moist and flavorful and, most importantly, made with love.
Elly gave me this recipe for a site called the Joy Of Baking. It’s a half recipe and makes 10 cupcakes. Note: Elly gave me two large carrots and a medium apple to use, but I found that I only needed one carrot and half an apple. I also added some cloves. And unlike Elly, I didn’t substitute Greek yogurt for anything.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda (teaspoon, not cup!)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup granulated white sugar
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 cup finely grated raw carrots
- ½ cup grated apple (good luck grating it)
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (I used walnuts)
- ½ cup raisins
- A dash of cloves
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the center of the oven. Place paper liners in 10 muffin cups (and only use one liner per cup).
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, and cloves. In another large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and oil until slightly thickened. Then fold in the flour mixture until incorporated. Lastly, with a large rubber spatula, fold in the grated carrots, grated apple, chopped nuts, and raisins.
- Evenly divide the batter between the muffin cups and bake about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
- Remove the cupcakes from the oven, and let them cool completely on a wire rack. With a knife or small metal spatula, spread the cream cheese frosting on top of each cupcake. Cover and refrigerate the cupcakes until serving time.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- ¼ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 cup sifted confectioner’s (powered or icing) sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Mix the butter and cream cheese until very smooth and creamy. Then gradually beat in the powdered sugar until smooth. Then beat in the vanilla extract.
Albums Listened To
How do you know carrot are good for your eyesight? Have you ever seen a rabbit wearing glasses!?!