Monday, 5 December 2011

Carrot Cinnamon and Chocolate Cupcakes

I have to admit that till a month ago, I was among the large majority (or is it minority?) of people who scrunch their noses at the thought of a carrot cake. I mean really? A vegetable cake? Now that sounded something really bizarre, perhaps a treat on rabbit farms, perhaps a valiant attempt by a die-hard food nutritionist to make something sweet?  But that was until a month ago, when a friend of mine "enlightened" me that no, carrot cake does NOT smell like salad, no, carrot cake is NOT orange and yes, carrot cake CAN BE finger-licking delicious.

Hence this humble effort to tackle the mighty carrot cake. I was still a bit apprehensive of diving head-long into a carrot cake which had heavy potential of turning out into a fiasco (considering it is me), so I tamed the carroty flavor with chocolate and cinnamon. 

If you could overlook the unapologetic and unpoetic alliteration, the Carrot Cinnamon and Chocolate Cupcakes (maybe I should have named this post "The Penta-C) were delightful. They came out of the oven super-soft and moist and are adapted from here to make with wholemeal wheat flour and Oh yes, they are eggless too.

(makes 6)
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I used Champion Wholemeal Wheat flour)
1 cup sugar (I used white granulated sugar)
1/2 cup melted butter (if using unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon salt)
1 cup grated carrot
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder 
2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

(explained in detail for dummies, since i myself am one)
  • Preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F).
  • Blend the wholemeal flour with sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon powder.
  • Add the vinegar, vanilla essence and grated carrots and mix thoroughly. 
  • Add butter, followed by milk and stir well with a wooden spatula, ensuring that there are no lumps. The batter will be somewhat thick and not really pour-able, due to the grated carrot in it. This is perfect! Yes, it is okay to lick a bit of it now ;).
  • Place the cupcake liners in a muffin mold. To be extra cautious you may want to grease around the edges of the molds so that it is easy to pry the cake off once it has expanded on the top
  • These cup cakes rise reasonably, so fill the molds only to 3/4th their capacity with a spoon.
  • Bake at 180 °C (350 °F) for approximately 30 minutes, till a toothpick comes off clean.
  • Once out of the oven, let it cool COMPLETELY. I was quiet impatient so I placed the entire mold in the fridge after 5-10 minutes at room temperature
  • Once cool, the cupcakes come off the mold pretty easily.
  • Its now time to dig in!
cinnamon cake

and so it is for me :). I am off to dig in some more!!

 This sinfully delightful Carrot Cinammon and Chocolate Cake is off to zesty palette's Sinful Delight event

and Tickling Palates Baked Goodies.

And extending the alliteration, carrot cinnamon and chocolate cupcakes as Christmas treat to and hosted by whatkatebaked

and sweet new zealand hosted by Bron Marshall
and and and Kavi's Jingle All The Way

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Avocado Guacamole

As if Sunday evenings themselves are not depressing enough, its raining today... again! A wet sticky climax to a wet sticky week spent swatting flies, watching movies, eating popcorn and motivating ourselves (quiet unsuccessfully) to complete our chores. As with most Sunday evening, this one too ends with the now frustrating realization that MOTIVATING and WEEKEND simply do not maintain pace, because by the time "motivating" finally happens, the "weekend" is as good as gone.

Imagine I have been harping about the oh-so-green avocado all Friday, reminding you how the 50 (or was it more like 20?) nutrients along with heaps of vitamins, antacids and blah blah is so much better than the popcorn you are munching on. Come Saturday, I am all the more convincing, what with my best efforts to describe the bright green buttery flesh that can moisturize even the driest of deserts with its freshness. By Sunday afternoon, I am at my very best, rendering tempting (and 10 fold economic) versions of Avocado Guacamole, yes that smooth buttery melt-in-the-mouth guacamole offered in  Mexican joints, $2 per mouthful. And now that I finally  have your attention and you do want to try something with the Avocados- if only to shut me up- you realize that its late Sunday evening, not the perfect time to be all worked up about Avocados, but perhaps something simpler? See what I mean? That's the kind of depressing gloom Sunday evenings bring.

But then, whichever moron implied that avocado guacamole isn't simple (not me I hope)!

Ingredients for Avocado Guacamole
makes about 300 g
2 Ripe Avocados
3-4 green chillies, (we prefer our guacamole very hot, but you can adjust as per your taste)
1/4 cup mint leaves
2 teaspoon vinegar
1/3 cup sour cream or thick yoghurt
1-2 Jalapeno pepper (optional); pickled jalapeno can also be used
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
salt and pepper

Method to make Avocado guacamole in 2 simple steps

  • Peel the avocados and remove the flesh in a blender. The best way to do this is slice the avocados in two halves and scoop the flesh out with a spoon. Make sure you peel out the flesh from right under the skin. This part is the greenest. 
  • Add the remaining ingredients and blend the mixture in a blender till it is smooth and creamy  and your own blend of creamy delicious guacamole is ready.
  • Taste it. Add some lime juice if required

We just love using this guacamole as a dip for fries and rice cracker, as a topping on our pizza and with enchildas. Mmmmm, am off to dip in it!

This brilliant green guacamole is now adding colour to Simply sensational Food's Red and Green Christmas event