Friday, November 26, 2010

Carrots Take the Cake

While Thanksgiving is usually a day of ignoring calories and satiety cues, there are still plenty of ways to lighten up traditional holiday dishes. This year I prepared a hash brown casserole and carrot cake cupcakes. Typical hash brown casserole is much like other Thanksgiving sides, loaded with fat and drowned in butter. By using reduced-fat soup, light sour cream, and 2% cheese I was able to drastically decrease the calories. The recipe for my has brown casserole will be coming soon, but today's post is actually about my dessert dish. Carrot cake seems to be such a deceiving food, as its name implies that it is healthy since it includes a vegetable. Carrots make up a very small amount of the cake and do not make up for the sugar and fat content. While my recipe most definitely falls under the "seldom splurge" category of my blog, I made substitutions to avoid a diet-disaster. Since I was transporting the dessert, I decided to make cupcakes instead of a layered-cake. The batter is prepared with whole-wheat pastry flour, which is a great substitution for all-purpose. It also contains shredded carrots (well duh, it IS carrot cake), applesauce, raisins, crushed pineapple, and chopped pecans. I prepared the cream cheese icing using reduced-fat cream cheese and light butter. These cupcakes are not overly sweet and the flavors are brought to life with a taste of the smooth, creamy icing. The end product is an individual-sized cake, perfectly moist and full of fall spice.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes
makes 24

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup applesauce
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped pecans
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained

Cream Cheese Icing
2 (8 oz.) packages reduced-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup light butter spread
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans for garnish (optional)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add sugar, oil, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Mix with a wooden spoon until smooth (do not use electric mixer).
  5. Stir in carrots, pecans, raisins, and pineapple.
  6. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. (I had a little bit leftover and made 8 mini cupcakes)
  7. Bake for 35 minutes. Allow to cool before icing.
  8. For icing: Cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until creamy.


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About Lauren


Nutrition student with a passion for giving yummy recipes a healthy make-over. Future RD on a constant search for the best food finds. And new blogger trying to relay my tasty ideas to everyone else.

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