Friday, March 20, 2009

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

One of Tom's other favorites is carrot cake --- but a whole cake is a lot for one person, so I made cupcakes instead, so we could freeze them, unfrosted. He frosted them one at a time, after thawing.

Light Carrot Cake
from The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook by Christopher Kimball

For the cake
5 cups coarsely grated carrots, about 6 large
1 cup granulated sugar
1 8 ounce crshed pineapple packed in its own juice, drained well
2 2/3 cups cake flour
4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. salt
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
5 eggs
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
3/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
2/3 cup unsweetened, dried, flaked coconut, optional
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 T. butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 T. sour cream

1. Heat over to 350 degrees. Grease 2 9x2 cake pans. (I used muffin tins and mini-muffins tin. Makes 24 cupcakes.) Flour well, so they don't stick or use paper liners.
Grate carrots (this is a pain!) and toss with sugar and let them drain in a colander over a bowl. while you do the rest. Drain pineapple. Whisk together the next 5 ingredients(cake flour through salt)in a medium bowl.
Now for the tricky part!
2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium low heat, stirring frequently. Cook until the butter turns golden brown, about 10 minutes, and has a nutty aroma.There should be small brown flecks on the bottom of the pan. Do not let these flecks turn very dark, otherwise the cake will have a burnt, bitter flavor. As soon as I saw the brown flecks, I removed my pan from the heat. The nutty smell happened just before the brown flecks showed up.Pour the melted butter into a large bowl and let cool for 2 minutes. Whisk in the brown sugar.Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and whisk for 10 seconds. Add the flour mixture and whisk until it is three-quarters incorporated.Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold in the carrots, pineapple, pecans, and optional coconut until the batter is well mixed.
3. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Smooth top surfaces with the rubber spatula. Bake until cake feels firm in the center when pressed lightly, about 40 to 50 minutes. The mini-muffins were done in 12 minutes and the cupcakes in 22. Remove from the oven and run an knife around the perimeter of each cake/cupcake. Invert cakes onto a plate and then put them on a cooling rack right side up. Cool completely before frosting.
4. To frost, beat the softened cream cheese and butter together on low speed until homogeneous, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the confectioners' sugar and sour cream and beat until well blended, up to 2 minutes longer. (We used store bought frosting - which Tom prefers - I don't know why.) Garnish with pecans and coconut, if you wish.

Love this cookbook for my homey recipes like muffins and cakes. And techniques. Found it in a used bookstore. If you run across it, buy it!

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