Carrot Cupcakes

{ Wednesday, April 14, 2010 }
Between intensely fudgey brownies and sinfully chocolately bundt cake, it should be obvious that both of us Poor Girls have a sweet tooth.  And while my heart really lies with chocolate, I also have a deep appreciation for carrot cake.  I mean, it's delicious, and I'm sure all those carrots make it somewhat good for you.  Okay, maybe not all that good for you.  But a girl can dream.


I was stuck waiting in the apartment on a beautifully sunny Tuesday for the Time Warner guy (oh, how I loathe you, Time Warner).  To mitigate some of the misery of being inside, I took inventory of my fridge, grabbed a bag of carrots, and started shredding.  An hour later, I had internet and a dozen very airy and very moist carrot cupcakes.  The cream cheese frosting, which had all the tang of cream cheese without being too sweet, was the perfect compliment to such a light cake.   Or in other words, these little guys are pretty darn good, and the "OMG cupcakes" text I received later from my roommate served as a another testament to their deliciousness.

Carrot Cupcakes (yields 12) 
Adapted from All Recipes

For the cake:
2 eggs
1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups grated carrots

For the frosting:
1/4 cup butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a cupcake tin with wrappers.

Mix together eggs, canola oil, brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla in a bowl (be sure to break apart sugar clumps.  Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Add carrots, stirring until just combined.

Spoon batter into cupcake tin, filling the cupcakes about 2/3 full.  Bake for 20 minutes, on until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

As cupcakes bake, prepare frosting.  Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until combined.  Gradually add in powdered sugar.

Frost cupcakes, serve, and enjoy!

Lower-fat Deep Chocolate Bundt Cake

{ Monday, April 5, 2010 }
This recipe is titled "lower-fat," which is essentially meaningless, but at the same time offers an excuse to eat two pieces of cake instead of one. This cake is ridiculously easy to make, and it looks super classy on a pretty platter. Bundt cakes are weird though. I wonder why people wanted to make cakes in that shape. It's like a wheel...or a doughnut. Did I just answer my own question? Well, after using my excellent online research abilities, I have found the answer. Apparently bundt cake was invented in Germany a very long time ago and no one cared about it until a bundt cake won a baking contest in the 60s, and then it became very popular and housewives were falling all over themselves to buy bundt pans because they make cake look fancy with virtually no effort.

Although apple sauce replaces some of the oil in this recipe, this cake is (probably) not that healthy. However, it is highly chocolaty and it is not too sweet or rich, so it is perfect with coffee as an after dinner treat. If you are like me and serve it after a huge Easter meal, you will find a way to make some room to eat some even if you feel like you are going to burst. Not that I would advocate gluttony. know...dessert is important.

Lower-fat Deep Chocolate Bundt Cake (serves 12)
Adapted from Veganomicon.

1 3/4 cups fresh brewed coffee
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup applesauce
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Icing sugar and strawberries to garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease an 8- or 10-inch bundt pan

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring coffee to a simmer, turn down heat, and whisk in cocoa until it is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool until it reaches room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, canola oil, applesauce, and cornstarch until well-blended. Whisk in cooled chocolate mixture and extracts.

Sift in dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from oven, let cool 20 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate. Let cool completely, dust with icing sugar, and garnish with fresh strawberries.

Cottage Cheese & Apple Pancakes

{ Thursday, April 1, 2010 }

I'm a firm believer in the fact that breakfast doesn't have to be a mornings-only event.  Give me eggs, pancakes, waffles, and I will eat them - anytime.

Before leaving for work one afternoon (yes, afternoon - I work bizarre hours),  I decided that I wanted pancakes for lunch.  But not just run-of-the-mill buttermilk variety.  I wanted a hearty pancake that was still simple to make.

The addition of cottage cheese and grated apple to pancake batter created a whole new species of pancake.  These have a chewier texture, which in my opinion makes for a much more satisfying meal, and a slightly tangy flavor.  Topped with vanilla yogurt, they made for a satisfying light meal, although I also suspect they'd be delicious with maple syrup or powdered sugar.

Grating time aside, these guys are quick to make and equally quick to eat (unless you know how to exercise self-restraint; I don't).  The batter can be kept refrigerated for a couple of days.  I didn't feel like breaking out the skillet twice in a span of two days, so I made all my pancakes in one go, and I can assure you they are just as tasty reheated the next day.

Cottage Cheese & Apple Pancakes (serves 4)
Adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook

4 eggs, separated
1 cup cottage cheese
2 granny smith apples, grated
3/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
butter, for frying
maple syrup or yogurt, for topping

Beat the egg whites until stiff.  In a separate bowl, combine all ingredients except for toppings and butter.  Mix well, then fold in egg whites.

Heat butter in a skillet  When hot, spoon in batter.  Fry on both sides until lightly browned and firm.  Serve immediately with your choice of topping (although they're still quite tasty the next day reheated).