Carrot And Date Cupcakes
- scant 1/2 c light brown sugar
- 3/4 c oil ( I used canola oil)
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 c all purpose flour ( I used whole wheat pastry flour)
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- good pinch of salt
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- zest of 1/2 orange
- 2 medium carrots grated
- scant 1/2 c walnuts chopped (and toasted, ofcourse, it makes their flavors really come out)
- scant 1/3 c chopped medjool dates
- Heat oven to 400 F.
- Cream sugar and butter for a couple minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time, blending thoroughly after each one.
- Mix in dry ingredients and zest.
- Finally, fold in grated carrots, toasted nuts, and chopped dates. The mixture will be seriously thick, esspecially the batter, before adding the carrots and mix-ins. Trust me, once you add the carrots, their moisture will help to thin the batter a bit, so don't worry. I usually let the batter sit for a few minutes, to let everything acclamate, and allow the glutens from the flours to rest for a second.
- Spoon evenly into 12 muffin papers (or sprayed tins). Mine filled up almost flush with the top (like I like it... I like TALL cupcakes/muffins).
- Bake for 20 minutes, and cool on a rack completely before icing.
The original recipe for these yummy little cakes came from Nigella Lawson's lovely cookbook 'How to be a Domestic Goddess.' I totally love this book, its slowly becoming a quintessential part of my cookbook collection :) and a favorite, ofcourse. The original recipe didn't call for any baking powder, but I added a bit, because I really wanted my cakes to get that high, domed top. I'd imagine without it they would still be fabulous, just not quite as popped up on top. I also added cardamom because a hint of the spice works really well with flovors such as cinnamon, carrots and fruits. I added the dates, because I love dates, and thought they'd be good in carrot cake I used the zest of an entire lemon, and no orange, because I didn't have an orange... and 2 large carrots, because, again, its what i had on hand. With the icing, I used about 1/4 teaspoon lime extract, because I didn't have any fresh limes, which turned out really well, and gave the icing a more intense flavor, that suprisingly matched fabulously with the flavors in the cupcakes. One more small note... these turned out great, but probably more like a hybrid muffin/cupcake. Since I used more carrot than was probably intended, I think it also added to the more mufffin like texture. All in all, a pretty waist friendly recipe, and hey, atleast you're getting a serving of vegetables! :)