Easter Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

2014-04-20 16.27.22Hello from the other side of Easter (and Passover) weekend! I hope it was fantastic for all of you. I, personally, just about died of happiness when it actually reached 75 DEGREES yesterday here in the windy city; what an absolutely beautiful day to spend with friends, and with food, of course.

This year being my first in Chicago, some of my newest acquaintences invited me over for an early Easter dinner, complete with fresh ham straight from a farm in Ohio and an incredible array of side dishes, everything from spinach and cheese quiche to potatoes au gratin to kale and farro salad. We were all stuffed to the brim, but of course everyone saved just a bit of room for dessert!

My contribution to the feast was (you guessed it!) a classic Easter treat: carrot cake! This awesome recipe is made a bit on the lighter side than the traditional carrot cake, using applesauce to replace some of the oil as well as egg whites. Yet it still turned out wonderfully moist and delicious! And while definitely not low-calorie, the cream cheese frosting is a mandatory¬†addition, in my opinion. Sometimes you just have to indulge for a special occasion ūüėČ Enjoy this elegant confection at your own Spring Fling event, or any old time of the year, for that matter!

2014-04-21 08.23.34Nutty Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg plus 4 egg whites
  • 2¬†cups all-purpose flour
  • 2¬†teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1¬†teaspoon baking soda
  • 1¬†teaspoon baking powder
  • 1¬†teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2¬†teaspoon salt
  • 3¬†cups shredded carrots (5 medium)
  • 1¬†cup coarsely chopped nuts
  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4¬†cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2¬†to 3 teaspoons milk
  • 1¬†teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

2014-04-19 22.39.30Heat oven to 350¬įF. Grease bottom and sides of 13×9-inch pan with shortening or cooking spray.

In large bowl, beat granulated sugar, applesauce, vegetable oil and eggs with electric mixer on low speed about 30 seconds or until blended. Add flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla and the salt. Beat on low speed 1 minute. Stir in carrots and nuts. Pour into prepared pan.

2014-04-19 22.44.50Bake cake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

For frosting, beat cream cheese, butter, milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, on low speed until smooth and spreadable. Frost cake. Top with mini Easter eggs or other festive treats. Store covered in refrigerator.

Namas-tasty!

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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

DSC02212Since you guys seemed to really enjoy my last post of my favorite pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (made even healthier!), I thought I’d continue the baking ¬†trend and share with you this unbelievably tasty cupcake recipe, again made with applesauce instead of oil.

This past week was the last in the most recent term of my Master’s degree program, and thus it was my final week of student teaching. I had an awesome experience in my classroom of 14 super cool fourth graders, and I ¬†wanted to give the lead teacher a gift for putting up with all of my annoying questions about lesson planning, classroom management and organization. I like to believe that baked goods add a really personal touch to any gift, so of course I settled on this pumpkin-inspired fall dessert. Another of my great Pinterest finds, I can honestly say I was a bit glad that I had to give away half of these bad boys, otherwise I would have eaten them all in one sitting! The cupcakes themselves are incredibly moist but dense at the same time, and the frosting is truly decadent. I have yet to get a review from her, but I give these two thumbs up!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from Dolce Delicious

Cupcakes:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup¬†homemade applesauce
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup fat free milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger

Frosting:

  • 1 (8 oz.) package reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

DSC02214Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, add butter, applesauce, sugars, and eggs and beat over medium speed until combined. Add in pumpkin and continuing beating until thoroughly incorporated. In a liquid measuring cup, combine milk and lemon juice and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients. Slowly, over medium speed, add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, alternating with the milk mixture, beating well after each addition. Line cupcakes trays with paper liners. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full and bake for 24 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

DSC02216To make frosting, combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and beat over medium speed until ingredients begin to combine, slowly increase speed and continue beating until a frosting is formed. Once cupcakes cool completely, frost as desired and enjoy!

Namas-tasty!