I decided to do a themed cupcake each month in 2009. My goal will be to choose a different "clean" cake recipe each month. (According to Clean Eating Magazine, "cleaning up a recipe is reducing calories and fat" and adding in or substituting more nutritious ingredients.) Since tomorrow is the final day of January, I thought I'd best get movin' or my idea will fizzle before I get it off the ground. (I already have a plan for February's cupcake. I will be baking it next week in case you're looking for an idea for Valentine's Day. It's a chocolate cake batter, of course.) Before I unveil January's creation, I would like to share the catalyst that set my thought processes in motion. When I was in Tampa, the day I discovered Sami's Bakery, Dick and I stopped at a thrift shop nearby. I purchased this "Goodie-Goodie Gumdrops" puzzle for $0.49. It had such lovely colors and the puzzle's name is irresistable. Here's the picture on the box lid...
Here's the puzzle that I completed while watching "24" one night.
Therefore, I decided to use gumdrops to create a snowman... appropriate for January's cupcake. My circuit to four stores to purchase large gumdrops turned up empty, so I settled on small ones that I mushed together to create the snowball sizes I desired.
I thought carrot cake batter would be appropriate... carrot nose, ya know. I found a lightened up version on EatingWell's web site that is so light (as carrot cake goes) and extremely tasty. I definitely put my stamp of approval on it as a must-try. I used cake flour, as called for in the recipe, since the remaining ingredient choices were more than substantial to satisfy my requirements for a "clean" recipe. You might want to try substituting whole wheat pastry flour and see what happens. I think probably it would just be a trifle heavier. The cake is a definite keeper.
Dick got involved in the project by creating some skis and poles for our snowman. He cut popsicle sticks for the skis and wooden skewers for the poles. The pretty blue ends on the poles are candies that I had left over from a choo choo train cupcake topper that I made last winter.
Carrot Cupcakes from EatingWell
Makes 12 cupcakes
½ cup pitted prunes
¼ cup hot water
1-8 oz. can crushed pineapple
1 ¼ cups sifted cake flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 large egg
1 large egg white
¾ cup sugar
¼ canola oil
1 cup grated carrots
Frost with cream cheese icing, plain powdered sugar frosting, or simply a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
Preheat oven to 325°. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Combine prunes with hot water in a food processor and process until smooth; set aside. Drain pineapple in a strainer set over a small bowl, pressing firmly to extract most of the juice. Set the pineapple aside and reserve the juice for another use. Whisk flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Whisk egg, egg white, sugar, oil, and the reserved prune puree in a mixing bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir with rubber spatula until blended. Stir in carrots and the reserved pineapple. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups, filling them about 2/3 full. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake’s center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Let the cupcakes sit in the pan for about 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool before frosting.