Saturday, December 11, 2010
I promised my Uncle Dave I would make him some cupcakes for his 65th birthday on Thursday but, I thought I better do a test batch this weekend just to be sure they aren't terrible.
As I was trolling the aisles of the local Kroger today, I almost bought a Carrot Cake Mix... until the phrase "Carrot Flavored Pieces" quickly lead me to return it to the shelf (as did my sister, who was on the phone telling me I had to make them from scratch). So, instead of buying a mix, I used my Cooks Illustrated iPhone app (FREE!) to look for a carrot cake recipe. Luckily, it turned out that I already had all the ingredients I needed at home.
I started baking "process" as soon as I got home, by shredding the carrots in my stand-up food processor (warning: carrot juice will stain your white plastic kitchen gadgets, but I found Mr. Clean Magic Eraser works wonders on this). After shredding the carrots, I hauled out my full sized food processor to combine/fluff the eggs and sugar. I was kind of surprised the recipe called for a FP ... but the bottom of the recipe had directions for using the Stand Mixer.
By this point, it looked like an orange tornado had cut a path right through our previously clean kitchen.
Once the mix was prepared I quickly tried to look up a method to calculate the proper time for cupcakes (vs sheet cake), gave up and guessed at 15min (it took 20).
Three batches of cupcakes later it was time to start the icing. It seemed to go well at first, and after following the directions I added a VIA instant decaf coffee packet for an extra kick -- (Dave's party is going to be a Starbucks and the SB manager suggested trying the VIA in the icing). It tasted DELICIOUS and after just one more minute whisking it was supposed to be light and fluffy and ready to decorate. That is, until I turned around to straighten up the kitchen and left the icing whisking in the mixer....
With in just a few minutes it looked curdled and I was devastated.... luckily, I happened to stock up on cream cheese last week (it was on sale) and I had JUST enough powdered sugar left for another batch. Unfortunately though, I couldn't risk using the last two VIA packets - since I still needed those for the birthday party batch.
I decided to try piping the frosting which went ok, but next time I'm going to use the larger tip so I can get a larger dollop of icing on each cupcake (and to avoid clogging).
In the end it was a lot of work, some of which was unnecessary, but overall, the cupcakes were delicious, spicy, and had great texture.
Spiced Carrot Cake by Cooks Illustrated - http://tiny.cc/carrotbd