Friday, April 2

Spent - {Carrot Cake]

An unfamiliar hum resonates between my ears, berating my senses as I stare questioningly over the gaming floor. The combined ringing and whirling becomes little more than a confusing cloud of noise and I find separating the components into unique entities not only impossible, but pointless. Streaming fluidly from the displays, the sounds pool thickly around my feet, edging up my calves and straining for my pockets. Dictated by flashing lights and spinning reels, a number of navigable aisles lay before me. Mom is captain for the night, so I check out and simply train my eyes on her heels as she leads through the fog.


Depositing a crisp twenty into the slot machine wasn't easy. The bill was quickly swallowed whole as if it had slipped into a vending machine, but I knew I'd receive no chips or candy in return. Still, worn buttons displaying the words "one credit," "two credits" and "max credits" lay winking below my hesitant fingers. Their show was overtly seductive, and successfully so; by the end of the night their cheap charm and alluring call would draw fifty dollars from my tightly-buttoned green clutch.

Just a few hours later, I examined the empty space in my wallet and thumbed through the remaining bills. As I considered the night's decisions, I found that I couldn't free my pockets of the guilt sewn deeply inside. With every bill I had relinquished that night, I had thought not of winning, but instead of the things I could have bought instead. And the thoughts weren't fleeting; visions of chocolates and pans and nuts and fruits and extracts danced in my mind, and on top of that was the general bad feeling I have whenever I spend money on something frivolous, because that money really should have gone toward tuition.


I had fun spending time with my mom and Grandma that evening, but I don't want to go back. I always think very seriously about spending money, so I guess that just means that the casino's not really my cup of tea! What do you think? Do you like to gamble? Ever win big and promise to give me half?

Anyway, I always make carrot cake for Easter because my Grandma (HI!) requested it once and... Well, I guess I just never quit making it. But it's tasty, you know, so no one complains! That said, for every nickel and dime that went into the slot machine, I was hoping and praying more and more that I would have all of the ingredients at home to make these! Luckily I did!


Happy Easter! I hope you all have an amazing weekend!

$50 Carrot Cake from Cooks.com
I halved this and got 16 cupcakes. They're delicious, but I had an issue with them sinking! Nearly half of them caved in. This always happens to me with oil-based cakes, the exception being these. Anyone know what's up with that? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Printable Recipe

2 c (250 g) flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 c (400 g) sugar
1 1/4 c (295 ml) vegetable oil
4 eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp maple flavoring (I replaced this with about 2 tablespoons of maple syrup)
2 c (about two large carrots, I think) grated carrots
1 (8 1/2 oz or 250 ml) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 c (55 g) chopped pecans
1/4 c (20 g) flaked coconut

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 3 cupcake pans with liners or grease and line one 9"x13" pan or three 9" pans.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and sugar in a large bowl. Mix well to combine and set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, vanilla and maple flavoring (or syrup). Add to the dry ingredients and mix just slightly. You should still see streaks of flour. Add the remaining ingredients and fold gently to thoroughly incorporate all of the ingredients. Pour into pans and bake:

Cupcakes: 20-25 minutes, or until they spring back when lightly touched. Cool in pans 5 minutes, then set on a rack to cool completely.
9 inch pans: 50-60 minutes, or until they spring back when lightly touched (but to me this seems a little long. Be sure to check it often). Cool on a rack for ten minutes, then loosen the edges with a butter knife and turn onto racks to cool.
9"x13" pan: 50-60 minutes, or until they spring back when lightly touched (but to me this seems a little long. Be sure to check it often). Cool on a rack until room temp.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8-oz or 226 g) package of cream cheese, room temp
1 stick (120 g) butter, room temp
2 c (312 g) powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbls maple syrup

Beat together the cream cheese and butter. Sift in the powdered sugar in 1/2 c increments, beating slowly at first so the powdered sugar stays in the bowl and scraping the sides often. After all of the powdered sugar incorporated, add the vanilla and maple syrup, then beat for five minutes until lightened.

To decorate
Top cupcakes with a generous spoonful of cream cheese frosting and spread evenly. Toll edges in chopped pecans. I topped mine with some gumpaste carrots that I made yesterday evening.

46 comments:

  1. I have no idea why your oil-based cakes cave in. Maybe it is because of the pan you use? I don't know. Anyway, your cupcakes look cute! I love the carrot decoration. I don't like nuts and carrot cake, but my mom loves them both. I will have to make this for her.

    Why is this cake called "$50 Carrot Cake"?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm glad you like them!!

    I named it $50 Carrot Cake because I spent $50 at the casino :P

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had a piece of half-stale carrot cake at work today. I wish I'd held out and made these instead. They look way better. Amazing, actually.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your carrot cake muffins look wonderful! Love all those pecans....and no I don't like to gamble. Cupcakes on the other hand, love 'em!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I had a problem with my carrot cake caving in, and solved the problem by cooking it 10 mins. longer. Instead of 35 mins @ 350 degrees I cooked it for 45.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is the cutest carrot cake I've ever seen! I love the nutty decoration, they look truly professional - real bakery style! I probably have to extend easter until I've made these! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Beautiful, awesome, gorgeous bakes ... and not just these carrot cakes. You are fantastic with the camera too!

    ReplyDelete
  8. These look so so good!! LOVE your blog! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog to say hello....I'll be back!

    ps. and happy birthday!

    ReplyDelete
  9. These look perfect to me. As to why they might cave - I am clueless. I'm sure you've gone through the litany of possibilities and ruled them out. The usual culprits are oven temp or cooling in a draft.

    ReplyDelete
  10. These are so adorable...I love 'em!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am so glad you dropped by my blog, leading me to yours. I can't believe that all these beautiful creations are made by a 19 year old. I am really humbled. You write really well and take absolutely beautiful pictures (though the format is a little huge, I had to pull back another 30cm to view the screen :D)
    You will have a new follower in me... can't wait to see what the talented 19 year old will be churning out next!

    ReplyDelete
  12. These look scrumptious! I may have to steal this recipe :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Those look delicious...
    Gambling scares me... Because everytime I slip that bill in the machine, my thoughts go racing "thats the money i could have spent shopping", or thats a twenty I could have saved for a trip.

    But it's still fun. I can see how it could be addicting.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Love the cute lil carrots! Absolutely adorable :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. These look gorgeous, both the cupcakes and the photos!
    I don't know about the oil-based cake problem; I've never tried one before. The rest of it sounds deceptively simple. I might toast the pecans before topping. Yum.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I only have cakes cave in the center when I am making them for a special occasion. That seems to be the key. They are beautifully perfect all other times.
    I only like to gamble when I win !!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Very Cute cupcakes! I used to make a carrot cake somewhat like this, I'd completely forgotten about it until I saw this. Thanks for stopping by my blog, it's always nice to discover another foodie :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. These pictures are awesome... love your originality!!

    That whole oil/butter thing is exactly why I love butter laden cakes. Er, maybe I am just obsessed with butter and need a scientific excuse. ;)

    Blessings-
    Amanda

    ReplyDelete
  19. They are extremely cute!
    I am so impressed that you made 16 small carrots, I would have given up after 4 ...
    I'm glad to have found your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  20. These look incredible!! I have been craving carrot cake.. i cant wait to make them!!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love bed of pecans the cupcakes are on and the carrots are just too cute! I make a "no-carrots harmed in the making" carrot cake with shredded pears instead which also uses oil and i don't really have the sinking problem. I would say try cutting the baking powder down to 1.5tsp. Sometimes when I add too much, it rises really high in the oven and then caves spectacularly once it cools. Just a thought.

    ReplyDelete
  22. this looks incredible! Yum! Nice job on the carrots.

    ReplyDelete
  23. these look truly beautiful! i make carrot cake cookies but have never tried to make the cake itself or your rendition of cute little cupcakes!

    i agree with the previous poster who said to cute down the baking powder! good luck!

    here's my little carrot cake cookies in case you wanted to try your expert hand :)
    http://clutzycooking.blogspot.com/2010/02/carrot-cake-cookies.html

    love you and love your blog! <3 meg

    ReplyDelete
  24. Carrot cake is my favorite. Both the cake and frosting look delicious here.

    Nisrine

    ReplyDelete
  25. These look adorable and delicious! YUM!!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Really cute cupcakes and great photos!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm with you, not very into gambling, although I have been known to participate in family poker nights at my grandmother's where the buy-in is $2 so you get off pretty easy. Otherwise, I'm with you. I'd rather have something new for the kitchen or carrot cake to delight in!

    ReplyDelete
  28. these look so yummy and adorable :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Oh nooo, I'm not a gambler at all. Never touched a slot machine or bet on anything! Anyway, carrot cake will always be one of my favorites. After all, it is healthy with all that veg! Lol.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Very nice post. For a moment I thought I was reading a novel, or a short story out of one of my very humble library :) I love the cupcakes, too. I am not a big carrot cake person, but I wouldn't complain if I was given 1, 2 or 3 of them :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Beautiful carrot cakes! Great post. Love your writing.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Lovely cakes! My chocolate cupcakes often cave in also. Hmmmmmmm. Yours still look great, though!
    Laura in Ludwigsburg, Germany!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Those look incredible...I don't care if they are caved it a bit...I bet they taste as good as they look!!

    ReplyDelete
  34. These look fantastic! I'm not sure about the caving in, but it could have something to do with how full the cups are.? I bet they were delicious anyway!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I'm with you on the gambling.... what a colossal waste of money ... and what a guilt trip.... which hardly makes it fun. I'd much rather use my hard earned loot on something special. Some day...a lovely custard yellow Kitchen Aid mixer... which I have yet to find locally anyway.... I wonder where I ever did see one...but, I know I did.

    .....love carrot cake.... and my hubby makes mine for my birthday....( I make chocolate cake for his birthday... it's our little tradition) .. think we'll have to stick with our recipe though..it is the best tasting one we've found; a few things different from yours .... and I just prefer butter over oil in a cake.....

    congrats on your Martha appearance...I enjoyed your presentation... you appeared so cool yourself and not at all flapped over appearing with the big cheese.... actually, I think you impressed the hell out of her... way to go...

    ReplyDelete
  36. I love the way you write also ;)

    The photos are beautiful as are the cakes themselves.
    I can never justify spending anything more than 5cents at a casino as I just don't like gambling - that being said I do occasionally buy a lottery ticket, but hey, you never know if one day it might be you...

    ReplyDelete
  37. This looks super. I love your photos!

    ReplyDelete
  38. You have such a fantastic blog and great recipes.
    Next time reduce your sugar to 200g.
    From experience my cakes or cupcakes sunk when the flour was more than the sugar.
    With this little adjustment I get perfect cupcakes.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/shamsd/

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thanks for all the kind comments, guys, and thank you, ShamsD, for the tip! I'll give it a shot!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hello, I have a question for this receipie. For the cream cheese, can I use Philadelphia? Thank you for you answer ;)

    ReplyDelete
  41. Gmmf, yes - absolutely! Philadelphia works great :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. I made this cake today for my step-daughters birthday and it is delicious!!! Thank you so much for sharing your recipes, i look forward to trying some more of them xxx

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hi,

    Great blog, your cakes look awesome!
    I found that my cupcakes usually cave in when I either use too much baking powder or put on the frosting too soon (when they haven't cooled sufficiently).
    Maybe that helps to explain your problem :)

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hey,

    I made these and I cooked them for 10 mins longer as someone else had suggested and they did not sink!! And they tasted great! thanks!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for reading! I would love to hear your thoughts!

If you have any questions, please feel free to email them to me at kaitlin@whisk-kid.com.

Have a great day!