That would be cool if you could eat a good food with a bad food and the good food would cover for the bad food when it got to your stomach. Like you could eat a carrot with an onion ring and they would travel down to your stomach, then they would get there, and the carrot would say, “It’s cool, he’s with me.” -Mitch Hedberg
I think ol’ Mitch is on to something with that one; if only that was how it works. Why are we so quick to forget about the second part of Carrot Cake? You know, the cake part. It’s not healthy; it’s not even one of those good-for-you-but-high-in-calories things. It’s full of oil, processed sugar and flour, and all too often, raisins. Okay, so raisins aren’t bad for you, but I disdain the little shriveled buggars and am sick of seeing them in places they do not belong. (In case you were wondering, they belong nowhere.) I’m not saying this recipe is healthy, but it is healthier than the traditional suspects. It’s also a bit lighter in texture, though capable of standing on its own without a frosting. Some people call cupcakes without frosting “muffins” so they feel better about it and can have junk in the morning… but we know the truth, don’t we? I sometimes eat leftover mexican food in the morning… that doesn’t mean my enchilada is now an omelette. Do try these without the frosting, though. They are really delicious. I just happened to have some cream cheese in my fridge that I really didn’t know what else to do with, so I figured I’d try to make a frosting. The critics in my house deemed it a wild success.
CARROT FIG CUPCAKES
- 2/3 cup white wheat flour
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups shredded carrot
- 6 fresh figs
- 4 tablespoons water
- 3 eggs OR 3/4 cup egg substitute (I used Eggbeaters)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350°
This recipe requires a small amount of fig purée. Don’t freak out — it’s really simple and adds so much flavor and moisture to the cakes. Simply peel the figs, and pulse in a food processor or blender with the water until smooth. There will be lots of seeds — leave them in there! Fig seeds are yummy in baked goods.
Whisk together the flours, sugars, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
Beat the eggs and the sugar until they are completely combined, and the mixture begins to look foamy. If you use the egg substitute (like I did), you won’t get much of a foam, but give them a good solid beating for at least 30 seconds after they combine to get some lift in the batter.
Add the carrots, fig purée, and oil to the egg/sugar mixture. Next, fold the dry ingredients into the wet with as few strokes as possible. This will keep your final product light and moist.
Fill 15 lined cupcake tins 2/3 full (or 12 tins and a greased mini-loaf pan) and bake for 13 – 16 minutes.
BOURBON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup butter (aka 1/2 a stick), softened
- 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon bourbon of your choice
Beat the cream cheese, butter, and bourbon until fluffy.
Look at the bottle of bourbon and wonder if it’s even been touched since the failed attempt to make a bourbon pecan pie two Thanksgivings ago.
Mix in the powdered sugar, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. I used a Wilton 16 star tip to pipe these particular cupcakes, but you can use a spatula, knife, or a piece of celery for all I care. It is still going to taste amazing.