Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Low-Fat Whole Wheat (but still delicious) Carrot Muffins

I had 4 giant leftover carrots from the cake in the previous post. What to do?

I figured my options were:
feed them to my bunny (pictured mid-bite with her 2nd favorite treat) and/or make random dishes with shredded carrot.

Since both of these options would surely fail to use up 5 cups of shredded carrot before they went bad, I turned to baking. After searching for a healthy version of carrot bread, I came upon a recipe for low-fat carrot muffins using whole wheat flour on RecipeZaar.

After doubling the recipe to use up all the carrots, I had 23 muffins, half of which got a drizzle of reduced-fat cream cheese icing (about 2 T reduced-fat cream cheese, 3 T powdered sugar, 2 T milk - adjust ingredients as needed to make the right consistency):

Here's the recipe with a few adjustments:
* 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 2-4 teaspoons cinnamon**
* 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1 egg, slightly beaten
* 3 tablespoons oil
* 2 teaspoons vanilla
* 1/2 cup nonfat milk
* 1 8 oz can crushed pineapple,
well drained (I forgot to drain it and ended up squeezing moisture out of my carrot-pineapple mixture)
* 1 1/2 cups grated carrots
* 1/2 cup raisins

1. Set oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners or spray tins with non-stick cooking spray.
3. In a large bowl mix together first 7 ingredients.
4. In a small bowl whisk together egg, oil, milk and vanilla.
5. In a medium bowl mix the shredded carrots with the crushed pineapple.
6. Add in the oil/egg mixture into the carrot/pineapple mixture; mix well to combine, then add to the dry ingredients; mix JUST until combined.
7. Add in the raisins.
8. Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin tins.
9. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the muffins test done.

**The original recipe called for 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon, but it's my favorite spice and I always add way more than I'm supposed to. Do whatever you feel is right ;)

Of course, the bunny (aptly named Cinnamon, a.k.a. Cinnabun) still got her treats too:

She's kinda spoiled ;)

Carrot Birthday Cake

My friend Jen's birthday fell over 4th of July weekend and she requested I bring a baked good to her BBQ. So of course I wanted to make her a fabulous birthday cake using my new decorating tips. At first I tried to go the cheap & easy route and looked for a cake recipe with ingredients I already had at home, but then I remembered her all-time favorite: carrot cake. After searching around the 'net for a good recipe, I decided to go all out and grate whole carrots instead of getting pre-shredded (well, I decided this after the boy pointed out our nifty lil' food processor came with a grating attachment), and of course make everything else from scratch. I only mention this because I bought 7 big carrots so I wouldn't run out and ended up only needing 3 (yes, there was 1 whole cup of grated carrot in each one of those bad boys!) so that led to my next post, making 2 dozen carrot muffins.

Annnnyway, on to pictures, decorations, recipe and review:
The top of the cake, in the cake box I got for free from a grocery store (makes it so much easier to transport plus it looks all professional and store-bought)

All lit up with matching candles! This happened by pure luck, as I found them hidden in my cupboard and they happened to match the frosting I'd already made.

I can't locate the cake recipe I used :(. I have a bad habit of using a recipe and then just closing the window without bookmarking it. Now that I'm blogging I'll have to be more diligent about saving recipes and taking pictures. I do remember that the recipe did not use crushed pineapple, which surprised me because I've always used that in carrot cakes. I used a basic cream cheese frosting (with Neufch√Ętel, which has 1/3 less fat than regular), which was good but a little too sweet. For the pink parts I used good ol' buttercream because that was thicker and easier for piping.

Friday, July 11, 2008

First post!

I love reading blogs, especially wedding and craft centered ones, so here I am. I get a creative urge every couple of weeks and have been exploring different crafts and creative outlets, including photography, baking, painting designs on clothing, making ornaments and costumes. Now that I'm a couple years out of college and living with my partner, I'm also starting to get into decorating the house and making it look a little better than just mismatched hand-me-down furniture lingering from our college days.
I've always loved baking, although I often lack the time and motivation nowadays to make anything, unless I have people to share the goodies with. Here are some cakes and other goodies I've made in the past...

Birthday cake for a chocoholic: chocolate cake with chocolate and raspberry ganache filling and chocolate frosting

Corset cake for a friend's bachelorette party

Stork cake for a friend who is pregnant

Flourless chocolate cupcakes with fresh strawberries and powdered sugar