Monday, April 9, 2012

For Easter there are of course Carrot Cake Cupcakes

So I could not be more excited to have my mom in town for Easter this year!  Last Easter Sunday I was hoping on an airplane and heading to Key Largo for work.  Where Meghan, Shanan and I proceeded to feel completely out of place in our jeans and cold weather clothes, when everyone around us was dawning there best Lilly Pulitzer and Vineyard Vines Easter outfits.

She arrived Friday, we we grabbed some lunch and headed into the city.  We walked around Union Station and then head to the National Postal Museum.  Saturday we headed back to Union Station and hopped in to one of the crazy World War II DUKW amphibious vehicles for the Duck Tour.  My mom's friend Jane has been recommending this tour since I moved to DC 3 1/2 years ago.  And I have to say and was super fun and I actually learned some new facts about DC...definitely a different kind of tour.  P.S. you get quackers on this tour...

I need to put things in to perspective here.  My mom and I when we are together are characters...we laugh for absolutely no reason...we decide to go on walks just because...and we make breakfast together, because its what we have always done.  It took the college years for us to get close, but we now talk often, sometimes about life and other times about nothing really at all.  We travel together and this weekend for the first time in a long time we baked together.

Meet my mom...

Picture from our adventures in Greece two summers ago

Oh Union Station...definitely one of the prettiest buildings in DC.

Stamp ceiling in Union Station.

Meet Captain Bucky...our duck tour guide.

From land to water....

Bridge shot...

Carrot Cake Cupcakes: (adapted from Magnolia Bakery's carrot cake recipe)
*makes approximately 2 dozen cupcakes
1 cup canola oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature or 3/4 cup egg substitute
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
One 8-ounce can crushed pineapple in its own juice, with juice
3/4 cup coconut
1 cup raisins

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line cupcake pan with paper liners.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, cream together sugar and canola oil.

3.  Whisk in eggs and vanilla extract until well combined.

4.  In another mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin spice and salt.

5.  In another smaller mixing bowl, combine carrots, pineapple, coconut and raisins.

6.  Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, just until combined.  Then gently fold the carrot-pineapple mixture into the batter.

7.  Pour batter into prepared muffin pans.  Bake for 20-22 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cupcakes cool in pans for 2-4 minutes.  Then carefully remove cupcakes from the pan and let cool completely on a cooling rack.  While cakes cool, prepare cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces (1 package) 1/3 fat cream cheese, softened
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 cups powdered sugar

1.  In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth.

2.  Mix in the vanilla extract until well combined.

3.  Mix in the powdered sugar starting with one cup until well combined.  Continue mixing in the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until desired consistency and taste.  I generally like my cream cheese frosting to be slightly sweet with a strong cream cheese flavor.  Frost the cupcakes and enjoy! 

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