Pineapple Carrot Cupcakes

Pineapple Carrot Cupcakes 000

Happy Easter, baking gods and goddesses!

So … I’m one day late on holiday wishes AND blog posts. In my defense, I was busy cooking, over-eating and laying around in a food-induced stupor. If you don’t consider that much of defense, take heart! Some things are better late than never, and these cupcakes are most definitely one of those things.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, many of the recipes featured on this blog – indeed, the blog itself – are inspired by and devoted to my late grandmother, Bonnie Jean. She loved food – shopping for it, cooking it, and of course, eating it – and centered every holiday around what inevitably became an epic family meal. If she were still here – and I swear sometimes she is! – she’d confirm that there’s no better end to an Easter meal than a giant slice of homemade carrot cake. THIS carrot cake.

You’re probably asking yourself: “But why pineapple?” Honestly, I have no idea. I have no idea why she put pineapple in her carrot cake. Or grape leaves in her homemade pickles. Or sour cream in her chocolate chip cookies. I just know they’re hands down the best carrot cake, pickles, and chocolate chip cookies ON THE PLANET. Maybe when I’m a grandmother, I’ll be let into their secret society of culinary sorcery. In the meantime, I don’t ask questions, and I add the damn pineapple. You should too!

{I made my grandmother’s recipe into cupcakes, but have also included the instructions for a sheet cake below.}

Enjoy!

 

PINEAPPLE CARROT CUPCAKES

Yields | 36 cupcakes

 

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 2 cups finely granulated sugar
  • 5 medium fresh eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts, divided

For the frosting:

  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 to 6 cups confectioner’s sugar

 

To make cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line three 12-well cupcake pans with paper liners (if making a sheet cake, lightly oil a 9- by 13-inch cake pan). Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat oil and granulated sugar on medium speed for 30 seconds. As motor runs, add eggs individually. After eggs are fully incorporated, remove bowl from mixer.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir, by hand, into sugar-egg mixture and blend thoroughly.
  4. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla, carrots, pineapple and 1 cup chopped walnuts; stir well. Pour batter into prepared paper liners until each liner is 3/4 full (or into prepared cake pan, spread evenly to edges). Bake cupcakes for 18 to 20 minutes (cake for approximately 1 hour), or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. Remove cupcakes from pan, transfer to a wire rack, and cool thoroughly before frosting (cool cake in pan).

To make frosting:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blend cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and powdered sugar (adjust powdered sugar to taste). Frost cupcakes (or cake) only when completely cooled. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup chopped walnuts.

 

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Frosted Banana Bars

Frosted Banana Bars

These Frosted Banana Bars are one of the greatest revelations of my baking “career.”

They are – admittedly – not much to look at.

They feature one of my least favorite foods – soft, blackened, nearly rotten bananas.

They don’t require any special tools, expensive ingredients or fancy techniques.

Yet, they are by far my most-requested dessert. OF ALL TIME.

No joke – I am asked on at least a weekly basis to make these yummy bars, and bake them just about as often for my husband and his co-workers. They are ridiculously delicious – soft and uber-flavorful, with just the right amount of sweetness – are super easy to make, and can be thrown together with ingredients that virtually everyone has on hand already in their pantry or refrigerator. I’d say “enjoy in moderation!”, but forget that bollocks. Pig out. You won’t be able to stop yourself!

 

FROSTED BANANA BARS

Yields | 24 servings

Inspiration | Taste of Home

For the bars:

  •  1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups finely granulated sugar
  • 3 large fresh eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Dash salt

For the frosting:

  •  1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 to 4 cups powdered sugar*
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350° degrees Fahrenheit (175° Celsius). Grease a 15-inch x 10-inch x 1-inch baking pan; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, bananas and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into creamed mixture just until blended.
  3. Transfer to prepared baking pan and bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
  4. For the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl until fluffy. Add powdered sugar* and vanilla; beat until smooth. Frost bars when cool.

*Feel free to experiment with the amount of sugar in the frosting. Because I fancy my frosting a little less sweet, I usually add approximately 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar. If you’d like it sweeter, add up to 4 cups total.