Last weekend, we attended a Summer Soiree at the apartment of our friends, Corrie and John. Corrie and John will be married this October, and they decided to throw a little party to introduce their closest friends to one another prior to the big day.
I think the party was a success; We laughed a lot, played a little gambling game (I lost), went to a wine tasting at a wine store that is directly below their apartment (Lucky), and ATE. For a late-lunch/early dinner there were appetizers, homemade pizza, and a pasta and cauliflower dish (I plan on begging for this recipe). For our second dinner, three hours later, we had grilled hot dogs with John's special sauteed onions. We drank Corrie's homemade red sangria that was fruity, not too sweet, and packed a serious punch. For dessert, there were hearty and tasty oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies, a delicious peach crisp (that I believe came from a recipe on www.101cookbooks.com), and my carrot cupcakes with a lemon cream cheese frosting.
Everything was delicious, and everyone was lovely! It was great to be in such fabulous company, and to meet so many interesting people. Thanks, John and Corrie! Can't wait for the wedding!!
I'm sharing my carrot cupcake recipe, because, personally, I think it's divine (and I heard no complaints from the party-guests.) Of course, the lemons did not come from the CSA or my own garden...Living in New England, I have given up the hope of having a lemon orchard (grove?) in my backyard. However, carrots are a-plenty right now! I must credit The Frog Commissary Cookbook for the backbone of this recipe, as I started from there and wiggled things around as I saw fit. These are officially my all-time favorite cupcakes! I plan on bringing them to whatever party I'm invited to, and if I could eat one of these cupcakes every day and never gain an ounce, I would....
Recipe: Carrot Cupcakes with a Lemon Cream Cheese IcingAdapted from The Frog Commissary CookbookMakes 24 normal-sized cupcakes
For the cake:
For the Icing:
- 1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- 4 cups carrots, grated (about 1 pound)
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 8 ounces soft unsalted butter
- 8 ounces soft cream cheese
- 1 1-pound box of powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- zest of one medium lemon, chopped
To Prepare the Cupcakes:
Preheat over to 350 degrees. Have a muffin tin ready with cupcake liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil and sugar. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add half the dry ingredients into the sugar-oil mixture and stir to blend. Add in the rest of the dry ingredients while adding the eggs, one by one. Combine well. Add the carrots and pecans. Divide evenly into muffin tins. Bake approx 20 minutes, or until tops begin to golden. Makes 24 regualr-sized cupcakes.*
To Prepare the Icing:
In a mixer (or large bowl and with a hand-mixer), cream butter until smooth. Add room-temperature cream cheese and whip, until combined and fluffy. Gradually add in vanilla extract, lemon zest and powdered sugar.
*I made a combination of miniature cupcakes and regular-sized cupcakes. The guests at the party preferred the miniature versions because (and seriously, someone said this) "It means I can eat more of them".
Note: These cupcakes are moist and fluffy. I recommend chilling them prior to icing, as you will have an easier time and the cake won't pull up with the icing. You'll also want your icing to be soft and spreadable, but not overly so. Stick it in the fridge to firm up the icing. If you are traveling with these treats, bring the cupcakes and icing separately and "dress" before presenting.