Saturday, May 24, 2008
Week 20: "Southern Charm with Northern Exposure" Carrot Cupcake Deliciousness with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting Topped with Toasted Coconut
Hi friends! Boy oh boy, do I love to eat! Before we were all worried about "Y2K" and the new millennium, I was living in the charming city of Savannah, Georgia. A city which not only has the BEST key lime pie ever (in my opinion) but has remained a city untouched by the outside world yet is still as welcoming as the "Waving Girl" who is Savannah's symbol of hospitality.
One of the many things I love about Savannah, Georgia, is the very proud way the city clings to its heritage in every aspect. There were many afternoons I spent at the Gryphon Tea Room with girlfriends or wandering through the azaleas in Forsyth Park with my little guy. There are simply too many landmarks to name, but a popular landmark is the gorgeous façade of the Mercer House (from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil) surrounded by lilacs and wrought iron gates. Another staple in Savannah are the SCAD (Savannah College of Arts and Design) students walking through the park and drawing in chalk on the sidewalk under canopies of enormous Live Oak trees. If there is ever a place that not only enjoys their food, they enjoy and promote the heritage of their food! Lord knows, I have eaten my way up and down River Street appreciating that heritage!!!
City Market is also a fabulous place to go along with all the shops in Factors Walk. Factors Walk was once used by cotton merchants to store cotton but now has some of the most unique shops you have ever seen. There are troves of galleries, antique shops and charming boutiques. I loved, loved, loved walking through there! Does anyone know of any cupcake shops there now?
How did you like my trip down memory lane? With that... I thought I would share my take on a truly Southern recipe I enjoyed from a bakery I used to go to waaaaay back in 1998 called Magnolia's. This "Yankee" was first introduced to Red Velvet Cake and all sorts of Southern delights in this delightful, unassuming little bakery. I used to work at a newspaper across the street from the bakery. Everyday for lunch I used to go to Magnolia's and find a "sweet treat" behind the glass casings.
As "Northern" as this recipe might be, something happens when you cross the Mason Dixon Line! I have tweaked this recipe just a bit by adding the raisins. I use both dark raisins and golden delicious. You are getting a mini version of what I would eat once a week! A tangy, robust Southern carrot cupcake with a luscious pineapple cream cheese frosting and topped off with toasted coconut.
Oh. My. Gosh. It is delicious!
Carrot Cupcake Deliciousness
Makes 24 cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups finely grated carrots (about 3 to 4 medium carrots)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 can (8 ounces) well drained crushed pineapple
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans, divided
1 cup raisins (or golden raisins)
1. Preheat oven at 350° degrees F. Line 12-cup muffin tin with muffin papers and set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients; stir to blend.
3. Add eggs, oil, shredded carrots, and vanilla; beat until well blended.
4. Stir in pineapple, coconut, and 1/2 cup of the pecans and raisins.
5. Spoon into cupcake liners with small ice cream scooper. Bake 18 - 20 minutes until the tops are golden brown or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
6. VERY IMPOPRTANT to cool completely before frosting.
Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting
1 brick (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1. Combine cream cheese, butter, salt and vanilla in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer.
2. Alternate powdered sugar and pineapple juice and beat mixture for 5 minutes until fluffy.
3. Add Wilton gel food coloring "Peach" until pastel color is achieved. Pipe onto completely cooled cupcakes and sprinkle toasted coconut on top.