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Apr 12, 2017

Carrot Cake Easter Cupcakes (with Cream Cheese Frosting)

I'm not a baker by any means. But there's something about spring and Easter that just makes me want to get creative. I have a recipe for carrot cake that I love - I think it's the pineapple that really makes it - and nothing is better than cream cheese frosting.

Easter cupcakes carrot cake cream cheese frosting


For the cupcakes:

1 cup pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice*
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
3/4 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup crushed pineapple with juice

Pumpkin Pie Spice:
(This will give you more than enough spice)

1/2 tbs cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice


For the frosting:

1/2 cup of cream cheese - softened
1 cup of icing sugar (i.e.confectioners' sugar)
butter
food colouring
piping bag and tips (or plastic sandwich bags if you're like me)

~~~~~

Preheat the oven to 300-325 degrees depending on your oven. Cupcakes cook faster than cake and you don't want to dry them out.

Mix the dry ingredients together in one bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, oil, and egg, stirring well. Add the carrots and pineapple, stirring again. You could add coconut or chopped nuts as well at this point. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture a little at a time, blending as you go.

Spoon the batter into greased cupcake tins, filling them about half full. I found that the batter rises quite a bit so don't overfill them. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

While the cupcakes are baking you can prepare the frosting. Cream the sugar and cream cheese together until smooth. If you would like the frosting a little softer add butter a little at a time to get the consistency you like. I added my butter (about 1/4 cup) at the start and didn't like how soft/runny the icing was so I suggest testing as you go. If you want stiffer icing, add more icing sugar.

Divide your icing into small containers and dye each with the food colouring of your choice. For orange you will need just one drop of red but several drops of yellow. That red is strong stuff!

I don't have a piping bag so I just used several small sandwich bags with the corners snipped off instead. Spoon in some icing and squeeze it down to the corner you've snipped. Then use your imagination for the decorations!

Here is my first cupcake. I liked the look of the carrot so much that I made all the small ones the same. Carrot cake has to have carrots on top.

Easter cupcakes carrot cake cream cheese frosting

Easter cupcakes carrot cake cream cheese frosting

Easter cupcakes carrot cake cream cheese frosting

In the spirit of full disclosure, I attempted some other styles that are not quite as pretty. I think the baby chick and the rabbit look like they're wearing sunglasses, don't you? The rabbit ears are made from pieces of paper with some pink icing applied.

Easter cupcakes carrot cake cream cheese frosting

They're not professional looking - I get it. But I had a lot of fun. And they were fun to eat too! The pineapple makes a huge difference to the moistness and flavour. You know, the more I look at them, the cuter I think they are. Well done, me.

Easter cupcakes carrot cake cream cheese frosting

I think I'm going to keep working on this decorating thing. I'll give you an update when my bakery is opening. Image result for happy face emoji

Easter cupcakes carrot cake cream cheese frosting

Easter cupcakes carrot cake cream cheese frosting

Easter cupcakes carrot cake cream cheese frosting

Apr 3, 2017

Spring Hydrangea Wreath

We went to the Newmarket Home & Lifestyle Show on the weekend, and being surrounded by kitchen cabinet refinishers, bathroom renovators, and interior decorators really put me in a mood to get back into some projects - big and small.

We have so many jobs on hold right now because some other job needs to be done first: the rest of the basement can't be insulated until the one window is replaced, but that can't be replaced until we have drier, warmer weather, and we can't seem to force Mother Nature to skip some steps. (Though this time last year we were preparing for a snowstorm so I'm not complaining, I promise!)

Then there are the baseboards in the bedroom to be installed, but the carpet needs to be replaced first, and we can't do that because there is nowhere to move the furniture to (see unfinished basement previously mentioned).

So I decided to forget about all of the things I couldn't finish and work on a little project I could - namely a new wreath for the front door.

Spring Hydrangea Wreath


It's been a long, long time since I've made a non-Christmas wreath for the house - if you're interested here are some of my past favourites:

Spring Wildflower Wreath

Spring Vine Wreath

Monogram Wreath

House Number Wreath

Layered Picture Frame Wreath

Apparently I've made a few wreaths!

The front of our house is pretty drab right now what with the gardens still dormant, so I wanted something with plenty of blooms and a bright, cheery colour. At the dollar store I bought out half of their supply of green "silk" hydrangeas, plus a roll of brown burlap ribbon. This ribbon is a little stiffer that the burlap I've used before so hopefully it will keep from fraying in the wind.

Spring Hydrangea Wreath

I used an old bentwood wreath form that I've used many times - you can still see the glue marks from ghosts of wreaths past (they're on the back too! :-) ) The heads of the flowers easily popped off the stems and I hot-glued them close together all the way around the form. I was prepared to have to fill in places with smaller blooms but these ones were so full that it wasn't necessary, and I was finished in no time.

Spring Hydrangea Wreath
Spring Hydrangea Wreath

For the bow, I cut one piece for the loops and tails and a separate piece for the center knot. I wasn't able to tie it from one long piece like I normally would due to the stiffness of the fabric. I laid the long strip out in the position I wanted and then wrapped the smaller piece around the middle and glued it to itself at the back.

Spring Hydrangea Wreath burlap bow

I then burned my thumb with the glue gun and had to take a break to feel sorry for myself. To distract from the pain I tossed flowers at Chloe, trying to get them to land between her paws. It took a few tries. Patient dog.

Sweet Mastiff with flowers

Back at it, I attached the ribbon at the bottom of the wreath and hung my new pretty on the front door. Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day - perfect for picture-taking.

Spring Hydrangea Wreath
Spring Hydrangea Wreath
Spring Hydrangea Wreath

There were plenty of flowers left over (I guess I went a little crazy), so I put them in a wicker basket on the living room coffee table. They brighten up the room so much...and distract from that poor table that needs to be refinished so badly.

Spring Hydrangea Wreath

Happy Spring!



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