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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Carrot Cakes


I was asked to bring a dessert to our family Easter dinner, so I made mini carrot cupcakes. I did kind of spend forever on them, but they were worth it... the best carrot cake I have ever had.

I used Pioneer Woman's carrot cake recipe, but I added 1 package of instant vanilla pudding to the dry ingredients, and 2/3 cup of milk to the wet ingredients. I learned this trick as a kid from my church choir director (who, by the way, was awesome. She called us "noodleheads" and taught us to play poker.) - the result is a cake so moist you'll want to kiss it. I add this pudding/milk combo to almost every cake I make, especially boxed mixes. Just switch up the pudding flavor to best suit the cake. (I can't help myself. I'm actually scared to make a cake without it. WHAT IF IT'S DRY???)

The frosting practically deserves it's own post. I have never tasted better frosting (and I've tasted my fair share).  Not too sweet, not too rich, light and fluffy... I could have eaten it straight out of the bowl. (I did eat it straight out of the bowl.) I made the frosting from PW's recipe, but I omitted the nuts and added 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. The spice didn't affect the flavor greatly, but it did tint the frosting a nice cream color, and added some lovely specks. I also added a bit more powdered sugar to make it stiff enough for piping, then sprinkled the cupcakes with chunky white sanding sugar.

Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1 package (8 Oz) Cream Cheese
  • 1 1/4 pound Powdered Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
Cream butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and vanilla and blend, then mix in the cinnamon. Spread  or pipe on cooled cake.

Of course, you could always leave out the cinnamon if it wasn't the right accompaniment for your cake. Or substitute ginger! Lemon extract! Cocoa powder!




To add some springtime festivity to these, I made some butterflies and little flowers out of vanilla candy coating. I had Cory draw me a few different butterfly designs, then I placed a sheet of wax paper over the drawings and traced them in the candy coating. I wanted to butterflies to appear in flight, so I made their wings separately, let them dry, then piped the bodies and attached the wings while wet, using sugar cubes as supports.








I'll definitely be making these again, though I will probably save such elaborate designs for special occasions.