The theme of this week’s #SundaySupper is Kids in the Kitchen. Since I don’t have any kids in the house and my nephews are five hours away, I decided to draft a 9-year-old cooking buddy from the neighborhood. The first time Evan and I cooked together, we made Homemade Corn Tortillas. I showed her how to use the tortilla press and she was off and running! This time we decided to go in a sweeter direction and make some relatively-healthy Carrot Cupcakes.
My favorite moment of the day happened when I was showing Evan how to use a box grater to shred the carrots. She got through about half a carrot, then pointed to my food processor and said “Can’t we use THAT?” It was a brilliant idea!
Without further ado, allow me to introduce today’s guest blogger: Evan A. from Avon, NC, a rising fourth grader at Cape Hatteras Elementary School. Not only is Evan a terrific cook – she catered her own birthday party! – but she also helped us plant the Three Sisters Garden at the Hatteras Island Community Garden.
My Day with Ms Shelby
by Evan A., Avon NC (age 9)
When I first got to Ms Shelby’s house, I had to get all of the stuff ready, like the flour, eggs, carrots, that kind of stuff. And then, Me and Ms Shelby made the carrots for the topping by shredding carrots. After we shredded them we put them in a pot with this syrupy stuff and cooked them in the pan.
I made the batter. Ms Shelby did the dry stuff and I did the wet stuff. For the wet stuff, I put the other shredded carrots, vanilla extract, eggs, oil and water in the bowl and mixed it up. Then we put the batter in the muffin tins, the big ones. We put the leftovers in the little muffin tins.
When the carrots got out of the oven, we got them and swirled them around using my hands and tongs. This was for the topping. It was hard at first but when I got the hang of it, it was easy. Then we put the cupcakes in the oven.
When they were done we took them out to cool and then we went to the community garden and out to lunch at angelo’s. After we got back, we tried one of them and they were pretty ready and cool, and they tasted good!
Ms Shelby asked me what I wanted to put on top with the carrots and I picked coconut, because coconut is my favorite! We iced the cupcakes with our homemade icing of cream cheese and vanilla extract. We frosted all of them and then I put the coconut on the big ones and then I did the carrots on the big ones and then I did the little ones the same way.
Then we took pictures of them and I felt like a model after all of those pictures. Then we got to try the little ones with the icing. They tasted rich and delicious! I learned how to use some new carrot shredders that I had never seen before and twisting them was new too. It was really fun!
Adapted from Diabetic Living and Food Network Magazine
The original recipe says it makes 15 full-sized cupcakes. We had the exact amount of batter to fill one full-sized muffin pan (12 cupcakes) plus one mini-sized muffin tin (24 mini cupcakes). One or two of the little ones were a perfect sweet bite that didn’t wreck my meal plan for the day.
1 medium carrot, peeled
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups peeled and shredded carrots (4 medium)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (neufchatel), at room temperature
3 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
flaked coconut (optional)
Make the garnish: Peel long ribbons from the carrot with a vegetable peeler, then slice each ribbon in half lengthwise. Preheat the oven to 250°F. Bring the water and sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain and cool until easy to handle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using tongs to swirl, arrange the carrots in 15 piles on the baking sheet. (You want the swirls to be small enough to fit on top of a cupcake.) Bake until dry, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on rack.
Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 15 muffin cups with paper baking liners. Lightly coat liners with cooking spray; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon and ginger.
In a separate bowl, mix eggs, carrots, applesauce, oil and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and stir to combine. (We used a muffin whisk.)
Using a small dry measuring cup (1/4 cup or 1/3 cup), scoop batter into muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full.
Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, combine cream cheese and agave/honey and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread on cupcakes and garnish with the carrot swirls and coconut, if desired. (If you use coconut, put it on the cupcake first, then top with a carrot swirl.) Slightly press swirls into icing so they stay put.
Makes 15 servings
Per serving (cupcake plus icing): 208 calories, 8g fat (2g sat), 36mg cholesterol, 200mg sodium, 31g carb, 2g fiber, 17g sugar, 4g protein
Per serving (carrot swirls): 40 calories, 0g fat (0g sat), 0mg cholesterol, 3mg sodium, 10g carb, 0g fiber, 10g sugar, 0g protein
Nutritional Analysis: These cupcakes are a good source of Manganese and a very good source of Vitamin A (source: nutritiondata.com). The sugar content of the carrot swirls is misleading since some of the sugar gets poured off when you drain them. If you don’t want to include the swirls due to their sugar content, you can garnish with shredded carrots instead.
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