Monday, March 1, 2010


I love the recent cupcake trend. Cupcakes allows me to enjoy cake with much less frosting and much less temptation to take a huge piece. So when I was planning a baby shower with friends, I volunteered to make cupcakes for the event.

In the process of finding a recipe that looked complicated enough to be wonderful but simple enough that I could complete (baking isn’t my forte), I learned some neat tricks for baking.

Oil/fat is needed in baking products to keep gluten from forming. However, plant based oils react differently with flour than animals based fats do. For a fluffier consistency, use oil. Fat (butter, crisco, etc...) make a denser consistency.

Egg whites, if beaten a little after adding them to your batter, make your cupcakes huge and beautiful and fluffy, which also helps to stretch your batter a little.

A cheat to avoid sifting flour (this is especially handy when you’re making 60 cupcakes, like I was) - use a whisk. Just dump all of your dry ingredients in your mixing bowl and run the whisk attachment through them for 30 seconds. It mixes, fluffs and breaks up the lumps.

If you don’t have enough batter to fill the baking pan, put water in the empty cups. It keeps the heat circulating evenly. Otherwise the heat will concentrate around the filled cups and bake too quickly.

Here’s the recipe for the Carrot Cupcakes I made for Kristin's baby shower:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2 cups of all purpose flour

2 cups of sugar

1 t baking powder

1 t baking soda

1 t cinnamon

1/4 t ground cloves

1/4 t nutmeg

3 cups of grated carrots

Mix these ingredients until the carrots are covered in the flour mixture, then add:

1 cup of oil

4 eggs (or the equivalent in egg whites)

1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate

1 t vanilla

Mix for 2 minutes on high.

Pour batter into greased muffin tins, filling cups 1/2 - 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Makes about 20.

Hope that’s helpful. Enjoy your cupcakes.

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