is this thing (still) on?

 


I can’t go another minute without acknowledging my rather lengthy, and completely unplanned, absence from this blog.

The list of things that have conspired to keep me off the keys these past several weeks includes, but is not limited to:

Our move;

a lack of internet service (and an appalling lack of service from our internet provider, but you’ve all no doubt heard that story before) for more than a week following the move;

three family birthdays and twice that number of birthday parties;

many wonderful out of town house guests;

a broken camera;

and my husband’s travel schedule, which took him away from us for what felt like an eternity.

I have missed posting a great deal – in fact, I have missed cooking a great deal, since most of my meals this summer have centered around cheese and crackers and leftover birthday cake.

Still, there are at least a couple of weeks left of this glorious summer yet, and my kitchen, now that I have begun to settle into it, is awash in fresh local ingredients.

Which I plan to press into service.

Any minute now.

As soon as I finish this cupcake.

Carrot Cupcakes for a Momentous Day
adapted from Gourmet Today

It was my son’s first birthday on Saturday, and I made these cupcakes for the first of two parties we held for him over the weekend. They were a huge hit, and I’d make them again in a heartbeat.

For the Cupcakes:

1 1/2c light spelt pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
3/4c vegetable oil
1c packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4c finely shredded carrots (I used 2 large ones)
1/3c finely chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2c sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

For the Icing:

3 1/2c icing sugar
250g cream cheese, room temperature
1/2c unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp vanilla

For the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg in a bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together oil, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Beat in flour mixture until well combined. Gently fold in carrots, walnuts and coconut until just combined.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake 25-30 minutes, turning pan halfway through cooking time, until a tester inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Turn cupcakes out onto rack to cool completely.

For the Icing:

Place icing sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to remove any lumps. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth and thick. If icing is runny (as mine was on a highly humid Saturday morning), refrigerate it for an hour or so until firm enough to pipe onto the tops of the cupcakes.

Makes 12.


d-day.

My kids have the best dad ever.

Root Beer Cupcakes
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

I had a couple of cans of root beer in the fridge leftover from my pregnancy, and this seemed like a great excuse to crack them open. Note that these cupcakes are super moist and freeze very well – which may or may not be good news if, like me, you find having 24 cupcakes sitting on your counter to be tempting in the extreme.

Cupcakes
2c root beer
1c cocoa powder
1/2c unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4c granulated sugar
1/2c firmly packed dark brown sugar
2c all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs

Frosting
500g icing sugar
1c soft butter
250g soft cream cheese
1 tbsp rum

For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners. In a small saucepan, heat the root beer, cocoa powder and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until just beaten then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined.

Gently combine the liquid and flour mixtures together in the large bowl (batter will be slightly lumpy).

Use a 1/4c measure to fill cupcake liners and bake cupcakes, rotating trays halfway through, until a tester inserted into the center of each comes out clean, about 15-17 minutes.

Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

When cupcakes are cooled, make frosting:
Place icing sugar in the bowl of the food processor and blast for a few seconds to remove any lumps. Pulse in butter and cream cheese, and then rum.

Using an offset spatula or a table knife, dollop and spread frosting onto tops of cupcakes.

Makes 24.


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