Cranberry Apple Walnut Crunch

I know I have talked about how my doctor has requested me to eat lots of sugary, fatty dessert and how I have done my best to follow this. But eating cakes, tartlettes, ice cream, etc gets old pretty fast when you’re eating them every day. Plus, I have to prepare and bake all these treats. Thank goodness it’s now Halloween season. I loaded up on candy and have been snacking on that all throughout the day. I bought one of those fun, plastic jack-o-lantern trick or treat holders, and I keep it on the table beside the couch so it’s near me and I can reach over and eat some candy whenever I want. But this post isn’t about candy, nor my snacking on it; it’s about me finally getting in the kitchen and baking something.

Our weather temperatures are starting to drop to a comfortable mid-70 degrees, so it’s actually starting to feel like fall (at least in the mornings and evenings). Trying to get into the spirit of the season, I thought I’d make some kind of fall-ish dessert. I love cranberries and decided to make some kind of dessert using them. I didn’t really follow a recipe, I just looked at some recipes I had for fruit crisps, cobblers, and crumbles and kind of combined some of them to make this. It turned out so tasty. I wish I would’ve have made some whipped cream or bought some ice cream for topping, that would have made it even better.

Cranberry Apple Walnut Crunch
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10 oz bag cranberries (I used frozen)
2 apples, cored and diced (I used Gala)
~2 Tbsp orange juice (I just added a couple splashes)
1-2 tsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 c rolled oats (I used an oat multi-grain cereal)
¼ c brown sugar
¼ c sugar
1/3 c whole wheat flour (all purpose is fine, too)
~¼ tsp cinnamon
a bit of freshly grated nutmeg
6 Tbsp butter, cut up and chilled
~¼ c chopped walnuts
1 Tbl ground flaxseed meal (opt)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter an 8×8 (or similar) baking dish.

In medium bowl combine cranberries, apples, orange juice, sugar and cornstarch; toss to combine. Spread fruit mixture evenly in baking dish.

In a separate bowl, combine oats, both sugars, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. With pastry blender (or two knives) cut butter pieces into dry ingredients until pea-sized clumps form. Stir in walnuts. Add ground flaxseed if using. Sprinkle mixture evenly over fruit.

Place baking dish in oven and bake for 45 minutes or until apples have cooked down and begun to caramelize. Topping should be golden brown and liquid bubbling around the edges.

Remove from oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in airtight container.

Dark Chocolate Espresso Bars


What is it about dark chocolate and espresso that is so magical when the two are paired? And why do I find myself craving chocolate more and more, the older I get? I have been craving chocolate espresso desserts recently. Since I haven’t been feeling well, I thought I could get away with buying some coffee flavored ice cream with dark chocolate chunks (specifically, Starbucks Java Frappuccino ice cream). It helped a little, but didn’t satiate my craving. Finally, I broke down and decided to make a simple dessert. While debating what kind of tasty treat to make, I remembered these bars. They are one of Mr. Surly’s favorite chocolate desserts. He’s not opposed to chocolate, but he’s not as into it as I am. “Perfect,” I thought, “I will make something Mr. Surly really likes, then I won’t be stuck eating the majority of the batch.” I’m pleased to say it worked–within days I watched, delighted, as these bars quickly disappeared. And I’m happy to report that I was not the one who ate more than half the batch.

These bars are dark, dense, and delicious, and the next day become even more fudgy. I cut mine into ~2 inch squares, which yields 16 bite-sized servings. Feel free to make your slices bigger. I love these plain, but they would be incredible with a small scoop of ice cream. Don’t feel guilty if you eat more than one at a time, I know I don’t.

Dark Chocolate Espresso Bars
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Makes 8-16 bars, depending on how you cut them

For the bars:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s Special Dark)
3 Tbs. instant espresso powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 oz. bittersweet (or semisweet) chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 eggs
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the glaze:
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
Pinch of salt

8-16 chocolate-covered espresso beans (optional) (I love the Trader Joe’s Dark chocolate ones)
Preheat an oven to 350F. Generously grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder and salt into a bowl; set aside.

Combine the butter and chocolate in microwave safe bowl. Heat in 30 sec intervals until melted, stirring well between each interval.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and brown sugar until blended. Gradually stir in the chocolate mixture until blended. Stir in the vanilla, then add the flour mixture and stir until blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing out the top. Bake until the edges pull away from the sides of the pan and the center is springy to the touch, about 25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a microwave safe bowl combine the glaze ingredients. Microwave in 30 sec intervals until chocolate is melted, stirring well between each interval. Let cool to room temperature.

Using a small offset spatula, spread the cooled glaze over the bars in a thin layer. Refrigerate until the glaze is set, about 30 minutes. Cut into bars or squares. Top each bar with a chocolate-covered espresso bean. Store in airtight container.

Source: slightly adapted from Williams-Sonoma

Oatmeal Buttermilk Bread

We’re not big bread eaters. Not because we are concerned about counting carbs, but simply because we just don’t eat it. I stopped buying bread because we’d eat a few slices and the rest went to waste (well, I’d just tear it up and feed it to the birds).

Ever since I starting having GI issues I’ve stopped buying premade and packaged foods. Now I make almost everything myself, so that I know exactly what is in the food I eat. This way I ensure there are no surprise ingredients that could possibly cause abdominal distress. Recently, I started making my own bread, slicing it up and freezing the slices, so we can thaw slices as we need them. I found many recipes for bread, and this is far and away my favorite. Most homemade bread is dense and heavy, but this one is so light; I love it. I made this loaf to go along with my curried carrot soup. Whatever was leftover the next day I froze. This bread freezes really well. After slicing, I wrap each slice in aluminum foil before placing them in freezer bags and freezing. This method prevents the frozen slices from sticking together, making it easy to just grab one or two slices as needed. You can make it in a mixer, but I like to knead it out by hand; I find kneading to be relaxing and therapeutic.

Oatmeal Buttermilk Bread
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Makes 1 loaf

1 ½ c rolled oats
1 c boiling water
¼ c water
2 tsp + 2 Tbsp agave, divided
2 tsp yeast
1 ½ c buttermilk
½ c extra virgin olive oil
5 c 100% white whole wheat flour (I use Trader Joe’s brand)
~1 Tbl ground flaxseed meal
2 tsp kosher salt

Set aside ¼ cup rolled oats. Place the remaining oats into a medium bowl. Cover with boiling water. Mix with spoon and let sit uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Whisk 1 tsp agave with 1/4 cup of warm water in a bowl then sprinkle yeast on top. Let rest for 5 minutes. Add soaked oats, buttermilk, oil, 2 Tbsp agave, flour, and salt. Stir to combine, then knead 8-10 min. Dough should be wet but have a satiny finish.

Place dough in a well oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm area for 1 hour, or until about doubled in size.

Place dough onto a floured surface and flatten to release excess air bubbles. Form dough into a 12 x 6-inch rectangle and position it so that a long side is facing you. Fold the 2 short ends onto the top so they meet in the middle. Starting with the closest end, roll dough away from you into a log. Let loaf rest on its seam for a few minutes.

Transfer loaf to an oiled loaf pan, pressing dough into the corners. Mix remaining agave with ½ tsp with very hot water. Brush over the top of the loaf and sprinkle with the remaining oats. Let sit 35-45 minutes, until loaf rises just over the top of the pan.

While loaf is rising, preheat oven to 385 F. Bake for 1 hour, transfer loaf to wire rack and allow to cool completely before cutting.

Source: slightly adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Curried Carrot Soup

I’ve been making this soup for a long time; it’s one of Mr. Surly’s favorites. A few times he has eaten the entire pot of soup in one evening (he ate nothing else but this soup and bread). When I made this recent batch, he came home from working out and declared he would probably eat the entire pot of soup. Fortunately I made a huge salad for him to eat, so I have leftovers of the soup. I am amazed at the amount of food he eats. Granted, he works out every day, but still. When we first moved in together it seemed like I was always running out of food. But now, 2 years later, I have learned how to gauge his appetite better to make sure I feed him enough for dinner, so he isn’t foraging for food an hour later.

This is a great soup to make if you don’t feel like being in the kitchen; there is little prep work involved and it cooks quickly. It’s also pretty spicy, so I usually have naan, pitas, or some other type of bread to serve along with it. The greek yogurt helps to cool down your palate from the spiciness of the soup. Of course you can use sour cream instead, but greek yogurt tastes similar and is much healthier.

Curried Carrot Soup
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Serves 4-6

1 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbl butter
1 medium onion, sliced
1 ½ lb packaged baby carrots
4 c chicken stock
2Tbl curry powder
½ to 1 tsp cayenne pepper
coarse salt
greek yogurt, for serving
fresh chives, for garnish
naan or bread for serving

Preheat pot over medium high heat. Add olive oil, butter, onions and carrots and sauté about 5 minutes, til the onions become translucent.

Pour in chicken stock, curry and cayenne, and pinch of salt to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover and cook until carrots are very tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth and there are no big chunks of carrots left (a regular blender or food processor would work if you don’t have an immersion blender). Adjust seasonings, if necessary.

Garnish with dollop of greek yogurt and chives. Serve with naan or bread, if desired.

Source: adapted from Rachel Ray via food network

Spicy Mexican Pulled Chicken and Vegetables

I love this chicken so much I made myself sick eating too much of it. Since my stomach has trouble emptying I have to eat my meals spaced out. Because a few bites of anything causes my stomach to blow up like a balloon, my nutritionist suggested spacing out each part of my meals. I eat the vegetable, wait an hour or so, then eat the meat/protein, wait an hour or so and eat the potato/grain, etc. It’s frustrating, but I’m getting used to it. However, when it came to taco night I couldn’t help myself, I ate 3 tacos, knowing I should only have had two. I should have waited an hour before eating that third one, but it was so tasty I couldn’t wait. My stomach was painfully distended, but it was so worth it.

For lunch the next day I made nachos covered in the chicken and topped with homemade salsa. You can use this chicken as a topping for nachos, a filling for burritos, tacos, or just eat it as is. Less chipotle chiles can be used if you don’t want too much spice. It also freezes well. I usually just freeze it as is, but you could add the filling to some burritos and make frozen burritos. Unfortunately, this was gone in 2 days, with no leftovers to for me to freeze. Speaking of tacos, have you ever tried the Trader Joe’s organic hard taco shells? They are to-die-for. I will never buy the supermarket ones again. The flavor is unbelievable. If you find yourself at TJ’s, do yourself a favor and get a box.

Spicy Mexican Pulled Chicken and Vegetables
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Serves 4-6

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp ancho chile powder
1 tsp chile powder
½-1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 small onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn (or 1 c frozen corn, thawed)
1 can diced tomatoes with jalepenos (or green chiles), undrained
3-4 chipotle chiles in adobo, pureed or finely chopped, plus 2 tsp adobo sauce
1 (10 oz) bag fresh spinach
1 lime

Combine both chili powders, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste, in a small prep bowl. Mix with a fork.

Add a Tbl or so of grapeseed oil (or EVOO) to a skillet over medium heat. Add chicken breast, sprinkle with spice mixture. Cook 7-8 minutes, then flip, season other side of each breast with the spices, and continue cooking til chicken is cooked through. Remove to cutting board, allow to rest. Once chicken has rested a few minutes, shred with two forks.

Place the diced sweet potatoes into a microwave safe bowl, add a couple Tbl water, cover with plastic wrap. Poke a few holes in the plastic wrap and microwave 3 minutes. Remove and let stand.

Add a Tbl or two of oil to the skillet and sauté the onion a few minutes in the chicken drippings. Add garlic, corn, black beans, diced sweet potato, and any remaining spice mixture. Cook a few minutes, then stir in tomatoes, chicken, chipotle chiles and adobo sauce. Cover and simmer 15-20 min. Stir in spinach til wilted. Squeeze in lime juice and stir. Serve in tacos/burritos, over nachos, or in a bowl. Garnish as desired with cilantro, cheese, salsa, etc.

Source: inspired by/heavily adapted from Tyler Florence

Dark Chocolate Tartelettes with Gingersnap Crust

This week it was time to use up the extra ginger crinkles I had sitting around. I was really excited to make this chocolate tart. The original recipe makes one large tart, but I decided to halve the recipe and make individual tartelettes. With the hint of cinnamon, these tarts reminded me of the cappuccino brownies I made awhile ago. The combination of the gingersnap crust and the dark chocolate is fantastic. Next time (I will be making this again, for sure) I plan on adding a tsp or two of espresso powder because I just love the combination of chocolate and coffee. I had some strawberries in the fridge (since they are finally in season) which I used to garnish the tarts. You can’t go wrong with strawberries, dark chocolate, and whipped cream.

Dark Chocolate Tartelettes with Gingersnap Crust
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Makes 4 tartelettes

For the crust:
6 oz gingersnap cookies (homemade or store bought), coarsely broken
4 Tbsp butter, melted

For the filling:
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ c heavy whipping cream
1 large egg
2 Tbsp sugar
1½ tsp flour
Pinch of sea salt
pinch cinnamon
Whipped cream for serving, if desired

Preheat oven to 325 F. In a food processor, pulse gingersnaps until finely ground. Add melted butter and pulse a few times until moistened. Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom and sides of four tartelette pans (I think mine are 4 inch) with removable bottoms. Place on rimmed baking sheet.

Lightly whisk together egg, sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon in small bowl, and set aside.

Microwave chocolate and heavy cream in 30 sec intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted. (Or you could add chocolate and cream to a saucepan, whisking over low heat until chocolate is melted and smooth). Gradually, pour about half the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, whisking to temper the egg. Add rest of cream and chocolate into the egg mixture, stirring until smooth and blended. Pour chocolate filling into crusts. I wound up with extra filling, which I just poured into a greased ramekin and baked along with the tartelettes. It made a delightful, decadent pudding cup.

Bake at 325 F until filling puffs slightly at edges and center is softly set, about 20 minutes. Transfer to rack. Cool tart in pan 20 minutes. Gently remove tart from pan and cool tart completely on wire rack.

If desired, garnish with whipped cream before serving. Store any leftovers in refrigerator, allowing tartelettes to come to room temperature before serving.

Source: adapted from smitten kitchen

Mini Cappuccino Brownies

I love the combination of coffee and chocolate; I like to add espresso powder to regular chocolate desserts. While browsing Martha Stewart’s website these brownies caught my eye. I was intrigued by the addition of cinnamon and nutmeg. Usually, recipes just call for adding espresso or espresso powder to make a dessert cappuccino flavored whereas, this recipe also called for spices. I was anxious to make them and finally I felt well enough yesterday to make a simple dessert. They had great coffee flavor with hints of warm cinnamon; moist and almost fudgy. Even better the next day.

Mini Cappuccino brownies
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4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
6 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp oil (I used flax seed oil, but canola would also work)
¾ c sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ c flour
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
pinch salt
½ c semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325F, with rack in center. Butter two 4 ½ inch spring form pans, and line the bottom with parchment or wax paper. Coat paper with butter. Set aside.

Microwave butter 20-30 til mostly melted. Whisk in cocoa and oil until smooth. Then, whisk in sugar, espresso powder, vanilla, and eggs.

In a small bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add to the chocolate mixture, and stir until just combined (do not overmix). Fold in chocolate chips.

Divide batter between prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly wet, 20-30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely. Run a knife around edges of pan before removing from pan. I used a small circular cookie cutter to cut my brownies into small, bite-sized pieces.

Source: adapted from Martha Stewart

Berry Crumble

I really haven’t done much cooking recently because I have been too sick to eat, let alone cook. I have wanted to post this crumble recipe for awhile, but haven’t because I can’t get a good picture. So here is a half-hearted post with a ho-hum photo. Once I’m better I’ll replace this version with a better post and picture. These are so good; I wish the picture did them justice.

I’m so glad spring is here and the weather is warming up. I love fresh berries and will be making these crumbles a lot. The topping makes too much, and I usually store the remainder in the fridge in an airtight container and make 2 more crumbles the next night. Or, sometimes, I’ll reduce the amounts in the topping to cover just the two crumbles. I left the original proportions in the recipe below.

I had trouble finding 12 oz ramekins. I have some Emile Henry ramekins (I think they are technically called soufflé dishes) that were only 10 oz. After much searching, I finally found 12 oz ramekins at Williams-Sonoma. They are Apilco #3. I had to ask a sales associate for the 12 oz size and he found some in the back for me. I could not find them on the website, but if you go in to the store they should have them in the tableware section with the other Apilco porcelain. Again, I think it may be called a 12 oz soufflé dish. Just look for the #3 on the bottom. Of course you could just divide it among smaller ramekins and have smaller portions if you don’t want to buy new ramekins.

The lemon/lime zest is optional, but it really brightens up the flavor. In the future I may experiment with an orange. I top with either ice cream or freshly made whipped cream. Delicious.

Berry Crumble
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¼ c (1¾ oz) granulated sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
Pinch salt
2 c (10 oz) fresh berries* (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or a mix)
1 lemon or lime, zested
1 tsp juice from lemon or lime
½ c (2½ oz) flour
1/3 c old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant/quick)
¼ c packed (1¾ oz) light brown sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
4 Tbsp (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled

Preheat oven to 375F. Put berries in a medium bowl. Combine sugar, cornstarch, pinch of salt, and zest and juice and add to the berries. Gently toss to coat berries. Divide evenly between two 12 oz ramekins (or in a 8½ x 5½ inch baking dish).

Mix flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Add butter and using your fingers or a pastry cutter, blend the butter into the dry ingredients until you get dime-sized clumps. Pinch together any powdery parts and sprinkle over berries.

Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 375F until filling is bubbling around edges and crumble topping is a deep golden brown, about 30 minutes. Rotate sheet half way through baking.

Cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Top with ice cream or whipped cream if desired.

*Note: Cooks Illustrated editors recommends not using frozen berries because they give off too much liquid and therefore will make the crumbles soggy. However, I have used frozen berries and had it turn out fine. I just completely thaw the berries in a strainer before adding the sugar and cornstarch. And if it seems too mushy, I add a bit more cornstarch to absorb the excess liquid.

Source: slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Cooking for Two 2009

Crunchy Garlic Chicken

Jamie Oliver delivers another great recipe. Easy, simple, flavorful, and healthy. I used to watch his show “The Naked Chef” on the food network when I was in college. I remember upon first hearing the name of his show I pictured some gorgeous guy, wearing only an apron, making food. Hmmm maybe unsanitary, but definitely worth checking out. I admit I may have been a bit disappointed when I discovered the term “naked” referred to his simple, unadorned approach to food, not being physically naked. (Oh, how young and naive I was). However, his show did inspired me, I would watch and say to myself, that looks like something I could do. I love him and his recipes. Now that I’m attempting to eat “clean“, I have been getting into his recipes even more. Every time I make this chicken I wonder why I don’t make it more often. It is relatively easy and the chicken comes out really moist and flavorful. If my boyfriend is around I will sometimes have him cut the chicken breasts into strips so I can make chicken tenders. I have prepared this both ways, baked and fried, and I prefer baked (this also makes it more “clean”). Both methods yield the same tender chicken, but when I fry them, I find the coating comes off the chicken too easily. Maybe it’s because I don’t pat the crumbs onto the chicken breasts with my hands. I try to do it with tongs, since I cannot and will not touch raw meat, which probably isn’t the most effective method. Hopefully you are a stronger person than I am and will be able to do it with your hands and as a result have a beautiful coating that doesn’t slip off the chicken.

Crunchy Garlic Chicken
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Serves 2

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested
1/3 c bread crumbs
2 Tbsp butter
4 sprigs fresh parsley (or about 1 Tbsp dried)
1-2 Tbsp fresh grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (opt)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 generous Tbsp flour
1 egg

Combine garlic, lemon zest, breadcrumbs, butter and parsley, cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper; pulse til mixture is finely ground and well combined. Pour onto a plate.

Add the 2 Tbsp flour to another plate. Crack the egg in a bowl, and lightly beat with a fork.

Take the chicken breast and dip into the flour to completely coat both sides. Then dip into the egg, then into the breadcrumb mixture. Push the crumbs onto the chicken so they stick.

Either fry or bake your chicken. To fry, just add some oil (I use grapeseed, but olive oil would be fine) to a pan and add the chicken. Cook 4-5 min on each side, until well browned on each side and cooked through. To bake chicken, preheat oven to 450F and cook chicken on a pan for about 15 minutes, until done. I like to put a wire rack on my pan and place the chicken on the rack, that way the bottom gets nice and crispy like the top.

Squeeze lemon juice over chicken before serving, cut into strips if desired.

Source: adapted from Jamie’s Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver

Low Fat Carrot Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

My GI doctor has requested that I eat more sugary foods to try to gain some weight, so I have been eating a lot of desserts. It’s killing me; one can only take so many brownies or chocolate cake with ice cream and whipped cream. Don’t get me wrong, I do like sweet things, but usually a square of bittersweet chocolate does the trick. When I eat a lot of desserts I get a ‘too sweet’ feeling, and my teeth ache. I decided I needed to make a ‘healthier’ dessert. Immediately this recipe came to mind.

I haven’t made this cake since I made cupcakes years ago for a friend’s birthday. After one bite I could have kicked myself. Why did I wait so long to make this? Dense, delicious and divine, that’s how I describe this cake. I have tried other carrot cake reicpes (including this version) but I always come back to this recipe as my ultimate favorite. My mom cut it out of a magazine years ago, I think it was actually from a Ford advertisement of some kind; weird I know. But who cares where the recipe comes from with cake that tastes this good. Mr.Surly, who hates cream cheese, actually said that this frosting was amazing. Of course I didn’t let him know it was cream cheese based, I need him to help me eat these things. In college I would make this recipe in cupcake form and they were always a huge hit. I only have one cupcake pan and still had left over batter after filling it. I didn’t feel like baking in batches so I divided the rest of the batter into two 4 ½“ springform pans.

Here are the cupcakes:

The frosting is green for two reasons. First, St. Patrick’s Day was this week, and second, my alma mater, Ohio University, is playing in the NCAA basketball tournament this year, and green is our school color. OU is known more for it’s Halloween Bash and bar riots than for its sports, so anytime they even make it to a tournament I get excited. They actually upset Georgetown last night, go Bobcats!

The cupcakes took about 20 minutes, the cakes went a little longer. The recipe yielded 12 cupcakes and a mini 4 1/2″ cake. If I were to make this again I would double the frosting; I had enough to cover everything but I wasn’t able to add a nice, thick layer of frosting. Make these today and your friends and family will thank you.

Low fat frosted carrot cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
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for the cake:
1 ½ c all purpose flour
2/3 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 c firmly packed brown sugar
2 c grated carrots (I buy matchstick carrots from the grocery store because I’m lazy)
1/3 c golden raisins
1 whole egg
1 egg white
¾ c nonfat buttermilk
1 can (8oz) crushed pineapple in juice, drained
3 Tbls applesauce
2 tsp vanilla
Vegetable cooking spray for greasing pan

Combine first 8 ingredients (the dry ingredients: flour thru raisins); set aside. Combine the wet ingredients (buttermilk, pineapple, applesauce, and vanilla) in large bowl. (I mix by hand with a wooden spoon, no need to get the mixer out for such a small job). Gradually add dry ingredients, stirring til well blended. Pour into 13×9 inch pan coated with cooking spray (or into a cupcake pan, or smaller cake pans, greased with cooking spray). Bake at 350 for 30-35minutes (or til wooden pick inserted comes out clean). Cool completely on wire rack. Spread with orange cream cheese frosting. Cover and chill. Keep refrigerated.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz light cream cheese, softened
1 c powdered sugar, sifted
2 tsp vanilla (for fun I used my bourbon vanilla)
1 tsp grated orange zest (usually zest from a whole small orange)

Beat cream cheese til creamy. Gradually add in powdered sugar, beating til blended. Stir in vanilla and orange zest.

Note: If you like a lot of frosting, and/or are making a layer cake, I would recommend doubling the frosting so you have enough.