Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I have always loved birthdays. Not just my own, but everyone’s. I have never been one to shy away from a surprise party, I often encourage them. I used to always try to throw birthday parties for my friends growing up. I even threw my friend Laura more than one in high school, until on her 18th birthday she was less than thrilled with me, so I learned my lesson. I never really understood why my friends didn’t want to celebrate their birthday with parties, balloons, good food and lots of friends (and booze). It’s YOUR day. The one day of the year where people can celebrate YOU. I think everyone deserves that day and it’s a good way to remind you how much people care about you and feel lucky to have you in their life. It’s all about embracing your day because you only get one. That’s how I have felt every single year, until now.

This year, my birthday is giving me a sense of impending doom. I notice myself catching my breath at the thought of THIS birthday, but it’s a silly feeling and I am hoping that when the day gets closer (it’s a few months away), maybe a strong martini will cure my birthday blues. Or even better, a margarita on the beach. I could get behind the idea of celebrating my 25th birthday on a beach. Anyway, helping Laura to throw her boyfriend Adam a surprise party for his 26th birthday definitely made me feel a little better about turning 25 (sorry Adam!). Since I love celebrating birthday’s I thought I would help her out and make some snacks for the party.

What better treat than cupcakes for your birthday! I have been wanting to learn how to make my mom’s Carrot Cake recipe for a while. I have made it with her a few times, but never on my own. Cooking with my mom is one of my favorite things, but sometimes you need to be alone in the kitchen to see if you are capable of actually making the recipe correctly. So, carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting it was!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Ingredients:

2 cups of flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp. Salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil

2 cups grated carrots

1/2 cups chopped pecans

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

Beat eggs, sugar and oil together until combined.


Grate the carrots and chop the pecans if needed.

Stir in flour, fold in carrots and nuts. Mix well.

Pour into cupcake pans and bake for about 12 minutes.

Frost with cream cheese frosting and enjoy!


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Scrape It Don’t Shake It!!

So I had a few things planned for my Easter activities, but they all unfortunately fell through.  The weather here in Chicago was SO nice, I couldn’t bring myself to stay inside after work coloring Easter eggs…so that never happened.  I was so flustered while packing Thursday night to go home, I  forgot to pack my recipes of inspiration for holiday flare and was unable to find them online in time to make them for everyone.  SO, instead, I went with second best.  I made an Italian Cream Cake and a Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing.

Let me tell you, I am so glad I did not find the recipes in time because I learned so much while baking with my mom (actually I did the baking, prepping, and cleaning while she did the directing and watching).  Similar to my first kitchen adventure when I was making dinner for my cousins, I learned a few things in the kitchen.

1. there is a difference between a wet measure and a dry measure.  How was I suppose to know that?  Who tells you these things?  It’s not like I had baking class in high school (thanks a lot Brebeuf…useless).  I asked my mom how she knew this little fact and she had no clue.  So here I am telling all of you – there is a difference.

2.  Do not shake off the extra flour when measuring.  You have to scrape it off the top or it will make your cake heavy.  Do not shake off the baking soda or the baking powder either.  You MUST scrape it off.  Ok, seriously?   That just seems absurd to me…what is a little shake going to do?  Apparently, a lot.  So don’t shake…scrape!

3. When the directions say combined and sift….you should always combined the ingredients in the sifter and THEN sift.  Sifting one at a time is not correct.  Adding all together without sifting is not correct and if it says combined into wet ingredients…combined together first then add.  DO NOT add one at a time.  Good thing I have baking 101 right in my own home kitchen thanks to my mother.

4. I don’t know how people bake without high-tech tools.  I could never accomplish what I did without the Kitchen Aid Pro.  That thing is a God Send.

5. When filling your cake pans, use a measuring cup and put about 2 cups in each round pan in order to make your cakes even after baking.

I was so grateful to learn all of these things over the weekend, so I hope you are equally as intrigued and appreciative!  My cakes turned out fabulous.  I was able to share a piece of the Italian Cream Cake with my sister before it was too late.  The cake was gone within 30 minutes after lunch (my family usually hides pieces of this cake to take home with them – it is a coveted dessert in the Bayt family!).  The carrot cake was taken to my mom’s family and I tasted a little bite of it.

I don’t usually choose carrot cake as my dessert option.  I was always freaked out by the fact that it had carrots in it and in my mind carrots ≠ dessert.  But in the cakes defense…it tastes nothing like carrots and was actually really good.

It was nice being able to spend the day baking with my mom, but it was exhausting….I was glad to finally be done and head out to my friends to watch the Butler game!  Sad ending last night, but so proud of them!