Although I'm not a huge cake fan (In most instances I could do away with the cake and just eat the icing), I do love carrot cake. So it will be no surprise to most that when I debated what dessert I should bring to my parent's house for the upcoming Easter holiday, the first and last thing that came to my mind was carrot cake. I debated making a bunt cake carrot cake, but I've never had luck spreading icing on bunt cakes so I decided to make carrot cake cupcakes instead - from scratch. Roger was very impressed when he walked in last night and he noticed that for once I was not making a cake from a box and that even the cream cheese icing was from scratch. Now, I am the sloppiest baker ever so my kitchen is still recovering from my baking fiasco last night, but boy was all of the mess worth it. (On a side note, I'm still coming down from my sugar high too - I could not resist a taste- or two or three - of the cream cheese icing!) Above is a photo of two of the cupcakes. In all, I believe I made over 60. Yes, a bit of an overkill. I doubled the recipe as I decided to also make cupcakes for Roger's family. I guess I just didn't realize how far one recipe would go. :)
For Roger's family I decided to make some plain iced cupcakes with a bit of crushed pecans on top for decoration. I also tried to make some of their cupcakes extra Easter-ish by adding crushed maple sugar flavored frosted wheat to the top and adding egg shaped chocolates to the center. I was going for an edible bird's nest affect. Although the nests turned out pretty flat and it was getting late so I didn't have the patience to try a second attempt last night. Oh well, at least they are edible. I'm going to try to attempt this once again for my parent's desserts - only hopefully my second attempt will be much more successful! (I swear that I should make a show about how awful some of my creations begin! In the end most turn out great, but getting there is sometimes a hilarious battle for me. Many call me Martha - if only they knew what goes on behind the scenes!) Anyway, if my second attempt at birds nests goes better I'll highlight them next week. If they turn out just embarrassing as the first, I won't! Although it might be a good laugh - not sure I could take the humiliation. :-)
For those who are interested in making your own homemade carrot cake for the upcoming Easter holiday, see the recipe below. I pulled this recipe off of www.allrecipes.com. The rating is 5 out of 5 stars. With over 850 positive ratings, you know it has to be super yummy!
Carrot Cake III
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
To Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in chopped pecans. Frost the cooled cake.
FYI: For cupcakes, I filled the liners 3/4 full and baked in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Each batch makes around 30 cupcakes.
Hope you enjoy - the above is yummy to your tummy!