June 9, 2009

carrot cupcakes with a twist

Before I tell you about cupcakes, let me just show you why my dog gets a bite of everything we do. Could YOU turn down that face? The answer is no. Especially when it's coupled with a sweet little nudge from that heart-shaped nose.

Moving on.

I made cupcakes. This was quite a determined, much talked-about, when's-it-gonna-actually-happen batch of cupcakes. We came home one weekend with five pounds of carrots from my mom's garden, and I wanted miniature-sized carrot cakes with cream cheese icing. But I didn't have a lot of brown sugar, and I didn't have cream cheese, and, in short, I just wanted something different.

Enter the Google search. I typed in "carrot cupcakes mascarpone icing" and picked a result that sounded delicious. After halfheartedly checking for the ingredients, I went for this one: Carrot Cupcakes With Mascarpone Icing from the Food Channel.

You've heard it before, though--me being me, I couldn't let the recipe just unfold the way it was written. I ran out of fresh OJ, so I used 5 tablespoons of fresh-squeezed juice plus two tablespoons of water. I ran out of granulated sugar and used some light brown sugar. And I scrapped their mascarpone icing all together and made up my own. Light and Creamy Mascarpone Icing

Whisk together....
8 oz mascarpone
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
splash of vanilla extract, to taste

Add more of whichever ingredient seems to be missing. This makes for a VERY creamy icing and is not as heavy-handed as a buttercream. In short, it's light and delicious and not too sweet. The perfect compliment to tangy-sweet and moist cupcakes.

I iced all the cupcakes (I made a double batch so I could take some to work and leave some for Ryan), but topped some with Texas pecans for a nice nutty crunch. In the end, the dozen or so cupcakes that made their way to my office were all eaten up by the end of the day, and the ones at home are dwindling by the day.

But I've got a couple pounds of carrots left, so I'm thinking I'll try a more traditional, dense, orange-less, breakfast-y carrot cake later this week.