A Few Carrots for Easter

Cannoli Cream-Filled Carrot Cupcakes

Cannoli Carrot Cupcakes

Been feeling reflective and meditative this entire, very holy weekend. It’s rare that I quiet my mind enough to reflect on the wonderfull-ness of my life and I have to say, it feels good to really feel it! So I will be doing this more often.

In terms of food, I’ve been experimenting with cream-filled cupcakes.  Frostings, icings, and cream fillings are not things I tackle due to their complexity, as I have written so many times. I’m seeking a creamy, high-quality flavor that would not be easy to create and I try my best to keep things as simple as possible yet, it may be time to branch out and grow.

These carrot cupcakes were a big hit from colleagues at work and if you enjoy the flavors of cinnamon, spice and cream cheese frosting, the cannoli cream filling takes the flavor and texture to another level.
Try these special cupcakes on this oh so special day, they will transform your holiday baking tradition.

Cannoli Carrot Cupcakes

Cannoli Cream-Filled Carrot Cupcakes (with Cream Cheese Frosting, of course)

Carrot Cupcake (Yield = 16 cupcakes)

Dry ingredients: 1 cup flour, ¾ cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon each – salt, all-spice, and nutmeg,
Wet ingredients: 3 eggs, ¾ cup canola oil, 1 ½ tablespoons fresh grated ginger, ½ teaspoon rum extract (or vanilla)
Add-ins: 3 cups of grated organic carrots, ½ cup pecan pieces (or walnuts or raisins).
Process: add all dry ingredients to a large bowl; add wet ingredients to a smaller bowl and mix well; combine the wet into the dry and mix well; fold in carrots and pecans. Bake at 350 F degrees for about 20 minutes.

Cannoli Cream Filling

Ingredients: 1 ¼ cups ricotta cheese, 4 ounces cream cheese, ½ cup confectioners’ sugar, ½ teaspoon vanilla, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 cup of fresh whipped organic cream.
Process: add all ingredients except cream, to a food processor and process until smooth; fold the whipped cream into the processed mixture. Use a long tubular piping tip and bag and insert into cooled cupcake to fill. See this video for more instruction.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients: 4 ounces cream cheese, 4 ounces butter, 1 ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup whipped organic cream.
Process: mix all ingredients except the whipped cream together; fold in the whipped cream.

Cannoli Carrot Cupcakes

Cannoli Carrot Cupcakes

Cannoli Carrot Cupcakes

Cannoli Carrot Cupcakes


The Pumpkin, Cream Cheese & Raspberry


Huh??

Not the flavor combo one would think would work! But work it does. When the pumpkin is a very enthusiastic cooking assistant named Shaniya!

My grand-daughter, Shaniya was very eager to do everything to help out when creating these delicious raspberry cream cheese cupcakes. Well, they were for her mommy.

Although her mom doesn’t normally eat sweets, I thought “cheesecake” is a special kind of sweet. The cream cheese makes it a less sweeter, more cream-like experience.

I really don’t like overly sweet desserts, myself. Those cupcakes with piles of colored frosting on them, ick me out! Smooth, creamy texture, sweet tart of the raspberry — few will refuse these!

Shaniya really likes working in the kitchen. Here she is doing a little clean up.

There were basically three stages to this recipe: creating the crust, mixing the batter, and making the raspberry swirl. I started each stage but Shaniya completed each one with the skills of an older person and with minimum instruction and supervision! Really, the best qualities in an assistant.

She carefully spooned the cookie crumble mixture into the cupcake molds then after I demo’d the pressing of the cookie mixture to create the crust, she completed all 12 cupcake crusts and wanted absolutely no help from me!

When it came time to add the batter to the crust, she again wanted no help and did a good job but I couldn’t resist, I had to help even out the batter so we didn’t end up with two over-sized cupcakes and ten cookies.

Here’s the finished cupcake.

S-M-O-O-T-H!! C-R-E-A-M-Y!!

Here’s the recipe.

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Cupcakes (From Annie’s Eats)

Crust: 1 ½ C graham crackers (we used the Maria cookies, I think they have a better, milder flavor than graham crackers), 4 T butter melted, 3 T sugar
Swirl: 6 oz. raspberries, 2 T sugar
Batter: 2 lbs cream cheese, 1 ½ C sugar, pinch salt, 1 t vanilla, 4 eggs

Directions
Crust: Process cookies and add melted butter and sugar. Press the mixture into the cupcake mold liners using a small cup. Bake at 325 degrees for 5 minutes and let cool.
Swirl: Rinse and process raspberries, add sugar. Pour through a sieve to remove seeds.
Batter: Beat softened cream cheese and add sugar. Beat till smooth. Add salt and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each. Add the batter to the cookie crumb crust cupcake molds (about 3 T in each). Add small dot of raspberry mix and swirl around gently using a toothpick.
Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes about 32. We cut the recipe in half.

The Maria Cookies