rave: happy birthday b!

happy birthday babe! hope you enjoyed your birthday party this weekend!
thanks to everyone who came out and tried blue star cafeteria with us. i have to admit...it was quite yummy. we'll def be going back.
this year i decided to bake brian a cake instead of going out and getting one. so to make it easier for dining out i decided on cupcakes...mini ones :) his fave is carrot so i found this fab recipie on cupcake bakeshop by chockylit. she has the most innovative and fun recipies around. I used her carrot-ginger cupcake recipie with the ginger cream cheese frosting recipie. all in all not so hard...just a lot of washing of bowls and kitchen electrics. i will probably make it all again. the only edit i made was to the frosting...i added the juice and zest of one lemon. if you're looking for a good carrot cake...this one rocks!
Carrot Ginger Cupcakes
makes 30 cupcakes / 350 degree oven
1 cup pecans
1 pound carrots
3 large eggs
1/2 cup 1% fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger (I grated w/ microplane)
1/4 cup candied ginger
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1. toast pecans in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes
2. remove from the oven, let them cool, then chop coursely
3. peel, rinse, then grate carrots coursely
4. in a large bowl, combine carrots, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, sugar, vegetable oil, fresh ginger, and candied ginger
5. in another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon
6. fold flour mixture into the carrot mixture
7. fold in pecans
8. scoop out into cupcake pans
9. bake at 350 degree oven for ~20 minutes or unti cake tester comes out clean (15 nin max for mini cupcakes)
10. cool in pan for 15 minutes, cool on wire rack completely
Ginger-Cream Cheese Frosting
12 ounces or 1-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated or chopped fine
1 teaspoon ground ginger (the spice)

1. bring cheese and butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours
2. sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment
3. beat butter and cheese at medium speed until creamy
4. add 4 cups of the sugar and beat until combined
5. add gingers and beat until combined
NOTE: If you are not sure how much ginger taste you might like, start by adding half the amount and taste/adjust until you get the ginger flavor you like.
6. add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like


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