Category: Easter Brunch

Carrot Cake Cupcakes or Bunny Cake

Carrot Cake Cupcakes or Bunny Cake

 
 
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
 
What better for Easter dessert than carrot cake?  I’ll freely admit I love carrot cake and am happy for an excuse to make it; Easter’s one of those rare times when I whip up a big fattening dessert and don’t worry about it.   There are usually some other folks willing to eat most of it and I can send leftovers home  with children.  All right, I do keep a bite or two for Dave and I to share on Monday.  There’s a link about making the bunny cake, though it’s fairly obvious, and if you make the cupcakes, let the kids decorate them with the cream cheese icing and jelly beans.  They’re pretty on a big tray filled with Easter “grass.”
 
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Disclaimer: I decorate about one cake a year, so forgive my cake. I do always have fun doing it, whether for adults, kids, or a mix.  This old-school bunny method has been around for decades and is simple and easy for children or for anyone who doesn’t have cake decorating skills or equipment.  Icing, jelly beans, licorice whips, and food coloring-dyed sweetened coconut are all you need..
 
(below:  Miss Gab and Tucker all ready for Easter.  Miss Gab wanted a bonnet I refused to buy.)
 
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Note: This recipe has shown up on the blog before, but it bears repeating. It comes from our housekeeper at Woodlawn Plantation –where I worked years ago — Grace Herson.  If we had someone special coming for dinner at Woodlawn, Grace made carrot cake.  When I left, the women in the house wrote a cookbook for me.  Grace’s addition was this cake.
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Grace’s Carrot Cake

Warnings: This cake, while totally delicious, is prone to a sink hole at its center for the 9×13 or 2 9″ layer versions. Fill it with icing and no one’s the wiser. After years, I still can’t fix the problem.

UPDATE:  The hole in the center problem can be helped by either grating the carrots by  hand and pressing out extra moisture with paper towels or grating them with the food processor and letting them dry for 30 minutes on sheet pans and then pressing out extra moisture with towels. (See photo at bottom of post.)  The problem evidently comes from the weight of the extra water in the carrots.

The cupcakes easily run over and sometimes have a hole, too.  Don’t overfill the cupcake tins and, if they still over run, scrape them each back off the tin carefully and remove to cool on rack. Trim, cool completely, then cover with icing!

makes 1 9×13 cake,  2 9″ layers for one bunny cake+, or about 24 cupcakes      
 
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs (I use extra large at altitude or add an extra egg.)
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (I use Canola now)
3 cups grated carrots (blotted dry w/ towel if you use food processor or the extra liquid will make the cake sink-which it may do anyway.)
1 cup chopped walnuts
 
 
Icing:  8 ounces cream cheese, 4 Tablespoons softened butter, 3 1/2  cups powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
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Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  (If you make cupcakes, use 350 F.)

 
Cake: mix dry ingredients together and add eggs, oil and mix well. Add carrots and nuts and mix well again. Turn into greased 9x13x2″ pan  or scoop into cupcake tins* and bake 45-55 minutes for cake, 25-30 for the 9-inch pans, and about 20 minutes for cupcakes or until a toothpick stuck in middle comes out clean. Cool well in pan, if making the 9×13. Remove cupcakes from the pans and cool on racks.  For 9-inch round pans –used for bunny cake — let them cool in the pans about 10 minutes before turning out onto racks to cool completely.  Bang pans soundly on the counter before tipping out.
 
Ice all cakes when completely cooled, piping icing  onto cupcakes and topping with a bit of tinted coconut and 3 or 4 jelly beans, if desired.
 
Refrigerate if not eating that day. Cake freezes very well for up to one month.
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*I like muffins and cupcakes baked right in the greased tins so that the cake batter hits the hot metal directly for a nice crust instead of steaming in the paper liners.  If you’d like to use paper liners, which many bakers do, please feel free.
 
+The two nine-inch layers form the bunny:  one layer is her body and the other layer is cut into three pieces that form the two ears and the bow tie.  See Bunny Cake directions below.
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Icing: Beat cream cheese and butter together very well for 2 minutes. Slowly add powdered sugar (or you’ll have a big mess). Beat in vanilla and whip icing until very smooth.
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bunny cake:   If you’d like to make this into a bunny cake, follow these directions.

 

{printable recipe for cupcakes or 9×13 cake}

 
Here’s what my 9×13 cake looks like with my oh-so-artsy carrot at center.  (Just draw a carrot with greens freehand with a toothpick and fill with orange frosting for carrot and green for the greens.)
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Sing a new song,
Alyce
 
 
below:  drying out the shredded carrots.
 
 
38 Power Foods, Week 36 — Rainbow Trout — Pan-Fried Trout Brunch with Red Pepper-Zucchini Potatoes and Fried Eggs

38 Power Foods, Week 36 — Rainbow Trout — Pan-Fried Trout Brunch with Red Pepper-Zucchini Potatoes and Fried Eggs

 
Skip the quiche this Easter and fry up a tasty rainbow trout to go with your eggs and a big platter of potatoes with peppers and zucchini. While this is a lovely and not too time-consuming brunch (no do-aheads), it necessitates planning and … well …and doing things in approximately the order (see below), as fish waits for no one.  
Servings:   One fish will serve two people generously.  There’s plenty of Avocado-Basil Mayonnaise and potatoes for four. If you do have four, you’ll need to buy two trout and cook one, putting it in the warming oven while you cook the second.   Alternately, each of the four of you could have a small serving of the single trout.  With the eggs, it’s a filling meal.
       

1.  Make the coffee.  You’ll need it.  Take four eggs out of the frig. 
2.  Set the table–including butter, jam, salt, pepper, water, etc. (Or have a helper do this.)
3.  Make the avocado-basil mayonnaise and place on table.*
4.  Slice half a lemon and put on table.
5.  Make the potatoes and vegetables; place in 200 degree oven to keep warm.*
6.  Set up toaster with bread, but don’t push down yet.
7.  Make the three large dishes with flours and wet mixtures for fish.*
8.  Heat oil in skillet to fry fish.
9.  Set up skillet for eggs; melt butter.  Turn off.
10. Fry fish.*  When you turn it over, start the eggs and push down the toast.
      A helper at this point would be nice.
11. Pour coffee.  Bring oven vegetables out and place on platter.
12. Drain fish on a paper-towel lined baking pan or platter.
13. Gently place fish on top of hot potato mixture.
14. Butter toast and serve up eggs.
15. Enjoy it while it’s hot served with the Avocado-Basil Mayonnaise.
*=Recipe included

AVOCADO-BASIL MAYONNAISE

To the work bowl of a food processor fitted with steel blade, pulse together until pureed:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Flesh of one avocado
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1 teaspoon whole grain or Dijon-style mustard
Pinch each:  kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Generous shake or two of hot sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Makes about a cup.  Refrigerate leftovers well-covered; use for vegetable dip or salad dressing.

POTATOES WITH PEPPERS AND ZUCCHINI

1 tablespoon each: olive oil and butter
 Pinch crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons crushed rosemary
2 large russet potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 small onion, chopped
Kosher salt; fresh ground black pepper
2 small zucchini, sliced in 1/2-inch rounds
1 clove garlic, minced  
2-3 tablespoons water 

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place potatoes in a microwave safe container with a splash of water, cover tightly, and microwave at full power for three minutes.  Drain.

Heat oil, butter, crushed red pepper, and rosemary in a large, deep skillet over low heat for a minute or two.


Pour the drained potatoes, red bell pepper, and onion into the heated skillet and season well with 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and black pepper; raise heat to medium.  Cook five minutes or until bell pepper is softening; add garlic and zucchini.  Spoon in water, stir, and cover.  Lower heat again and cook until all the vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings. Spoon vegetables onto an oven-safe platter or container and place in oven to keep warm while you cook fish and eggs.  When trout is about done (after turning over), remove from oven and place on a serving platter if needed.

PAN-FRIED TROUT

Don’t be scared; he doesn’t bite.

  • 1 cup all purpose white flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided 
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided 
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon each chopped parsley and dill
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk 
  • Hot sauce 
  • 1 approximately 3/4-pound cleaned rainbow trout, head and tail left on (rinsed and patted dry)
  • Olive oil
  • Canola Oil

 

1.  Into one of three shallow bowls, place 1/2 cup flour mixed well with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
2. Into another bowl, place the rest of the flour, the cornmeal, fresh herbs, lemon zest, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt,  and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mix well.
3.  Into the third bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and 4-5 drops hot sauce.
4.  Dip both sides of trout first in the flour-salt-pepper mixture, then in the buttermilk mixture, and last in the flour-cornmeal mixture.  Set on plate while you heat oil.
5.  Into a large, deep skillet, pour a mixture of olive and canola oil to fill the skillet 1/4 – 1/2 inch deep.   Heat over medium-high heat.  Gently lay fish in the oil and cook 4-5 minutes or until quite brown on one side.
6.  Carefully turn fish and cook another 2-3 minutes or until browned and, when tested inside, fish is firm and flaking.
7.  Drain fish on paper towels while you fry four eggs in prepared skillet (no recipe included.)  and make your toast.
8.  Gently transfer fish to the platter with the warm potatoes and vegetables.  
9.  Using a sharp, serrated knife and cooking fork, separate head from the body of the fish with a quick cut.  Gently pry apart the opened body of the trout to expose the spine, bones, and flesh.
Filet by removing as much of the skeleton as possible.  Cut fish in half and serve with eggs, potatoes, avocado-basil mayo, and toast.  I leave the tail on for serving.  Watch for bones!

You CAN also filet the trout before cooking; I think the trout is tastier cooked whole.

For detailed trout prep, check this out. 

… … … … …
rainbow trout are sustainable native American fish with a beautiful, delicate flavor.  To me, they’re the American version of sole, one of my favorites.  At about eight dollars a pound for fresh trout, they’re a perfect value for healthy, omega-3s and also have plenty of B vitamins and antioxidants.  Racking up a whopping! 260 calories per six-ounce serving (approximate) makes trout a top-value food.  Catch them yourself or buy farmed trout at your supermarket or fishmonger.
… … … …

 38 Power Foods is a Team Effort!

Stop by these other blogs and see what they’re cooking each week as we team up to bring you some of the healthiest cooking available:

Ansh – SpiceRoots.com  
Minnie Gupta from TheLady8Home.com

All sites may not blog power foods each week.

  

ON MY DINNER PLACE BLOG THIS WEEK:

MY VERY BEST FROSTED BROWNIES, A SMALL PAN:  

 

Sing a new song,
Alyce