Do you remember turning 1? Pictures tell me that I wore a pink bow and smiled a lot. My brothers and their friends were there to wreak havoc and stuff their mouths with cake. My face shows nothing but confusion. It was at a park and the sun snuck through the monkey pod trees.
How about 5? 13? My 16th birthday party was at a karaoke joint. My friends brought water bottles spiked with coconut rum and pineapple juice. My 18th birthday party was over a pot of tea and petit fours. I was a goldfish when 20 rolled around. I turned 21 in New Zealand.
No matter where, how, when, why you celebrate your birthday, make sure you do it with frosting.
And in my nephew’s case, make sure you throw some vegetables in there, too.
Why can’t Boston supermarkets sell organic carrots with the stalk and leaves for $2.00 a bundle? Berkeley, you sure do know your way to a lady cook’s heart.
Pealed, washed, ready for grating.
Carrot cake should never bake without ginger, cloves and cinnamon.
Walnuts not required. But much appreciated.
These munchkins are going into the oven, where they’ll bake for about 25 minutes and a toothpick comes out clean. For the love of peaches and cream, take a few swigs of batter.
I was told you can make dulce de leche quite easily with a can of condensed milk and a pot of boiling water. I didn’t want to risk it. We’ve got a birthday party on the line.
Oh, hello there.
Ready for a hungry, post-choo-choo-train-ride birthday boy.
Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream Frosting.
For the cupcakes:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
4 cups finely grated carrots
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, thoroughly drained
For the frosting:
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup prepared dulce de leche
1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together to flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. In a separate large bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients (including the walnuts, carrots, pineapple and coconut) until fully incorporated. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in two separate batches and mix thoroughly. Should be a bit goopy.
Prepare cupcake pans with liners and fill about 3/4 of the way with batter. Bake for about 23 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
As they cool, prepare the frosting by mixing all of the ingredients with a hand-held or standup mixer. The frosting should be thick and creamy.
Make sure the cupcakes cool completely before decorating with frosting.
Makes 28 love-filled birthday cupcakes.