One of the best things I remember about past Thanksgivings is the dessert table--although, after a big dinner, it's usually saved for later in the evening to indulge in. The last couple of years, I've chosen to do small desserts so we could have a sampling of everything we love--like mini tarts instead of a large pie. So today, I thought I'd try out a recipe, I've had in my head for awhile, for a cupcake that would be a perfect bite for the occasion. After all, who doesn't love cupcakes, especially for the kid's table.
Instead of picking the obvious pumpkin, I chose carrot, which is one of oldest daughter's favorite. In fact, as much as Kelly asked for pumpkin pie for her birthday, Erin asked for carrot cake! The concept maybe the same with the spices, but to them they each had their own version. Carrots possess that beautiful orange colour that I love at Thanksgiving and nutritionally speaking, they pack a wallop of goodness with b-carotene and vitamin A besides, dietary fiber, antioxidants, and minerals.
Carrot Cupcakes with Apple Cider Caramel Cream Cheese Icing
3 large carrots (about 12 oz) peeled and grated=approx. 2 cups
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 cups + 1T buttermilk
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. Kosher salt
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cardamon
pinch of ground cloves
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 325F-degrees. Line muffin pan with paper liners (this recipe made 15 cupcakes).
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine the first five ingredients and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients, then add to the wet ingredients in the bowl and mix on low to combine. Stir in the dried cranberries.
Scoop the batter into the lined muffin pans, filling almost to the top.
|When you don't utilize every opening, fill the remaining cavities with 1/2-inch of water to ensure proper baking|
Apple Cider Caramel:
4 cups (1 qt) Apple Cider
2 T unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Bring the apple cider to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Continue to cool until the cider reduces down to about 1 cup.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1-8oz package to cream cheese, at room temperature
2 lbs. confectioners' sugar (icing sugar)
7 T apple cider caramel
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese completely. Add one-half of the confectioners' sugar and 4T apple cider caramel and mix on low to combine. Add the remaining sugar and cider, again mixing on low, then turn the speed up to med/high and beat until fluffy.
I decided to remove a "plug" of cupcake to add some icing into the center of the cupcake, but you could also do a fancy filling.
Now, to plate this dessert for Thanksgiving, I would remove the paper lining, and drizzle addition apple cider caramel over top.
It's these little twists in dessert that brings the oohs and aahs when your family and friends gather. I've got some other ideas that I will share for the holidays, so come back--Enjoy!