Friday night was very eventful. I was standing in our kitchen washing baking dishes when I saw that it was raining.
Except that it wasn't raining- it was SNOWING!
It kept snowing, and sticking, too, until the early morning. To my knowledge, the last time it snowed here was like 7 years ago, so this is something extraordinary. I've been quietly jealous of my friends in Virginia who've had nothing but snow this winter; while I watched the snow falling thick and fast, I felt my body relax, like I'd been holding my breath for it all winter.
So all that was good, except we had to drive to Columbia in 2 hours for Spencer and Liz's Engagement Potluck, and my first batch of cupcakes just failed miserably.
I made carrot cupcakes from this carrot cake recipe on Epicurious. It got rave reviews so I figured it was a sure thing. I hummed along, using the shredding attachment on my food processor to reduce a pound of carrots to a fluffy pile in seconds. You can use it on cheese, too! Or with the slicing disk to make sweet potato chips! It's like magic!
Before they went in the oven:
After the oven:
Oh, devastation. Cupcake craters. I am blaming this on the fact that it was a cake recipe and maybe had too much leavening for cupcakes, and also maybe I didn't use enough carrots. The recipe called for 3 cups grated carrots, about a pound. Well, I shredded two carrots and got 3 cups and just used that. When I tried my second recipe I weighed the carrots and realized maybe I should've used double or more carrots the first time.
Time was ticking away, but I searched the world wide web for a specifically carrot CUPcake recipe and thank heavens I did because I found a recipe with a truly amazing taste that produced perfectly domed little cupcakes that looked like this after icing:
Mmmm, they had cardamon and orange zest in them. Just thinking about it makes me want to make another batch.
(I omitted the walnuts because I am not one for nuts in my baked goods)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 pound carrots
3 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 t vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 T orange zest
3 cups AP flour
1 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 t ground cardamon
1 t ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350. Toast the walnuts for 5 minutes, if using.
Rinse and peel the carrots, then roughly grate. (Food Processor!)
Place carrots, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, sugar, oil and orange zest in a bowl and stir/whisk thoroughly.
In another bowl, sift/whisk the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cardamon and cinnamon.
Fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture. Don't over mix. Fold in the walnuts, if using.
Scoop into cupcake papers, filling 1/2-3/4 of the way full. Bake for 19-21 minutes, being sure to rotate the pans after the first 15 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool slightly before removing to cool completely on racks.
Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting:
Mix 2 sticks softened unsalted butter with 16 oz softened cream cheese. Gradually add powdered sugar to taste. I used about a pound.
It was pretty stressful driving through the heavy snow to Columbia. It took us about 45 minutes longer than it usually would. We made it though, and after most people left, we had a cupcake photo shoot with Spencer and the beautiful Liz.