As we past the autumnal equinox and slip into the fall, the summer spirit still linger, as two seasons duel it out to give us the best that both season have to offer. The bountiful summer vegetables and fruits pile high at the Farmer’s Market, as the fall apples and squashes make their first appearance.
Should I make another peach dessert or dive into the apple pie? My flip answer to that would be bake them all and eat fast. However, I have a secret yearning for pumpkin pie. I know it’s way too early, but the smell of spices from pumpkin pie permeating the kitchen announces fall like nothing else.
I decided to make a Carrot Cupcake with a touch of flirtatious summer and the allure of autumn: fresh carrots from the market blended with pumpkin spices, coconut and pineapple. The coconut moistens the cupcakes with an undertone of sweetness while the pineapple’s distinct acidity brightens the palette. It’s a great way to welcome the change of culinary seasons.
recipe adapted from Cook’s Country
make 18-20 cupcakes
8 ouncesfrozen pineapple chunks , thawed
1/4 cup frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (6-1/4 ounces)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon table salt
6 ounces carrots (about 3 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Cream Cheese Frosting
6 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
1-12 cups confectioners’ sugar
8 ounces cream cheese , cut into 8 pieces and softened
1/2 cup pineapple pudding
1. For the pudding: Process pineapple chunks and concentrate in food processor until smooth. Transfer to medium saucepan and whisk in cornstarch until smooth. Bring to simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hours.
2. For the cupcake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard cupcake baking pan with 18-20 paper liners, set aside. Whisk flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, ginger, and salt in large bowl.
3. Process carrots in food processor until finely ground. Transfer to large bowl. Process coconut with granulated sugar until coconut is finely chopped. Add brown sugar and eggs and blend until mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. With machine running, slowly pour in oil and process until combined.
4. Transfer mixture to bowl with carrots. Add flour mixture and 6 tablespoons pudding mixture and stir until no streaks of flour remain. Divided batter into prepared pans, three quarters full, and bake until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack and let cool completely, about 30-40 minutes.
5. For the frosting: With electric mixer at medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, 1 piece at a time, and beat until incorporated. Beat in remaining 1/2 cup pineapple pudding and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.
6. Frost cupcakes with either piping bag or a small off-set spatula. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 2 days.