Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Color Me Orange With Delight!

Why does this color get no respect? How come you never hear kids yelling "orange!" when asked about their favorite color? People generally tend to shy away from this color in clothes, even though it is almost universally flattering on all skin tones. Even though it comes in so many appealing shades - all the way from sherbet to peach to sunset. Just plop an orange pillow to accent a beige-n-white room, and see how it comes alive. I blame it on Halloween. That's what people associate orange with these days. And there's always some smartass at work with snarky remarks like "feeling like a pumpkin today?!" if you happen to wear an orange top that day. Well, it's just a color - nothing to be afraid of - and this is the perfect season to celebrate it. I know I know, purple is the trend for this season, along with the usual blues, grays, and blacks. And as much as I love that color palette, a whole wardrobe of those dark colors would drive me up the wall - let's brighten it up, shall we?!
Let's learn from Mother Nature - no one puts together color combos like she does!

Like this cozy scarf that will boost your favorite white t-shirt and jeans to a whole new level.

Or try on this adorable tote bag the next time you leave the house - bet you'll get tons of envious looks thrown your way (and isn't that what we all want, deep down?!)

And if wearing orange still makes you queasy, then I have a proposition. Just eat it. That's right, you heard me. Orange foods are amazingly good for you. Don't believe me? Here's what the experts have to say:

"Orange Foods – carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, apricots, mangoes, cantaloupe. Orange fruits and vegetables are high in carotenoids, which have anti-cancer and antioxidant properties, including the same effects as the well-known immune booster Echinacea. They can also improve your vision and heart health." -

So in that spirit folks (and also because I was dying to use my new KitchenAid stand mixer), I thought I'd make these phenomenal Carrot Cupcakes With Maple-Cream Cheese Icing by Smitten Kitchen, for you. I've marked this recipe as "brilliant!!!!" in my recipe file, and that's really all the labeling it needs.

Carrot Cupcakes With Maple-Cream Cheese Frosting (see original recipe here)
Makes 12 (easily doubles if needed)

Click here for printable recipe

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup + half of a ¼ cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1.5 cups finely grated peeled carrots (3-5)

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Line 12 cupcake molds with papers, or butter and flour them.

3. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots. Divide batter among cupcake molds, filling 3/4 of each.
Weeeee, look at that baby go!

If you made the same mistake I made of licking the batter off my fingers, you'll have second thoughts about whether to even put these in the oven, or just slurp them as is! Carrots never tasted this good.

4. Bake cupcakes 14 to 18 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Let cool in pans for five minutes or so, then transfer cakes to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before icing them.
Success! I guess the stand mixer does make a big difference - my pre-mixer cupcake attempts always fell flat. But these look perfect!

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
A little less than 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

In a stand mixer, beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy and smooth. Chill the frosting for 10-20 mins till it has set up enough to spread smoothly on the cupcakes.

Verdict: I made these while DH was away, traveling for work. Not sure if that was the best or worst decision I ever made. You see, that meant I was left alone for three whole days with these cupcakes. And I wanted to save some for DH for when he got back. Do you see the dilemma? The sheer torture?! Dear readers, I would not make a good spy - I caved in too easily. A mere cupcake was responsible for me losing all semblance of dignity and self-control. But let me correct myself - this was not a mere cupcake. It was the best bite of carrot cake I've ever had. Ever. I'm hooked. I'm addicted. Even after 3 days it was as moist and fragrant and delicious as when it first came out of the oven. I'll be making these again and again throughout this season. Even DH was willing to wrestle me for these cupcakes - and that's saying something, because I'm a scrappy little fighter, and I have nails. If you can't remember a single word from this rambling post, just remember this - Best. Carrot Cake. Ever.
Moist and tender, thy name is carrot cupcake!

I want to give a gold medal to whoever came up with the idea of combining cream cheese frosting (flavored with maple syrup, no less!) with a carrot cake. Pure effin' genius.

I made 12 of these darlings just the night before, but there's only 9 here - what do you suppose that means?!

I've decided to submit these luscious treats to Meeta's Monthly Mingle: High Tea for this month, hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen.


Jennifer said...

Girl those look freaking amazing, I cannot wait to make them! Also thanks for updating me on this fall's colors I had no idea!

Unknown said...

I agree with you, orange is beautiful (and so is that kitchen aid daaaaahling--I almost got that one, but decided on apple green). Your carrot cupcakes look scrumptious!

Cathy said...

Orange is my favourite colour of all time - has been since I was little. My mom loves to tell the story of her 2 year old daughter being 100% adamant that she needed orange carpet in her bedroom. I'm currently wearing an orange sweater and carrying an orange purse. I have an orange striped motorcycle's truly the best colour out there ;)

Foodiewife said...

I'm so excited for you, with your new mixer! Love the color, too!
Cream cheese is what makes the world go round, for me. These look fantastic! I'm craving this and also pumpkin muffins. Yummy! I'm starting to get over grieving about summer being gone, with all the fun fall dishes to come.

Mariam M said...

Omg, these look awesome!! i'm definitely gonna give them a try soon :)

Sophie Sportende Foodie said...

I am so glad for you with your new Kitchen Aid & I love the colour too!!

The handbag looks so lovely ( with a bit of envy ! on my part!)

The carrot cakes look marvelous!!


Doppelganger said...

hahaha what!? who doesn't like orange?! It's the brightest, best, and ok, can't come up with another adjective starting with the letter b. I love orange!(infact, my eid jora was orange!) And I love this post of yours! Those cupcakes look tempting! veryyy tempting! but that Kitchen Aid mixer looks even more tempting! is that wrong?!

Jamie said...

We painted 2 walls in our old apartment burnt orange and it was warm and beautiful. And I love pumpkin and sweet potatoes and carrots. These cupcakes looks really delicious and WOW must be incredible with that frosting. Beautiful!

Finla said...

hmmmmmm i can see someone is using her b'day kitchen aid present.
Actually i love orange, i have few orange salawars and sarees too which i love wearing and now i do have a very flashy orange handbag which i love.
Love those cupcakes, yeah i can really imagine your dilemma with these cupcakes, next time bake when hubby is home unless if you want to send me dome of them :-)

Sushma Mallya said...

Lovely cake...looks so moist and perfect muneeba

Mari said...

I am loving this orange theme but I am loving those cupcakes even more!

love the blog =)

Heather S-G said...

I am soooo with you...I love can be bright and sunny or warm and earthy...LOVE IT! And these do sound delish :D

Joanne said...

I am all about the bright colors! Oranges, reds, and vivid intense greens are my palette of choice. Maybe this is why I LOVE all orange foods?

I made these exact cupcakes for my friend's birthday a while back and many people proclaimed them my best cupcakes ever. They truly are genius. Which is why when I made them I invited many MANY people over to share them with me.

Amy J in SC said...

Around here orange attire is in short supply year round. Always the first color to go in that favorite shirt I'm eyeing. We live near Clemson so you can imagine.

These look yummy, yum. Perfect for a fall cookout or bonfire.

Raje said...

Cupcakes look gorgeous. Can't wait to give it a try.

Kerstin said...

Carrot cake is my absolute favorite so I would gobble them all up, they look fantastic! Love your orange mixer too!

Amna said...

*Sigh!* Maple cream cheese icing on Carrot cupcakes...can it get any better!!!!??!! And the answer it seems is NO! I will now sit here and drool at my computer while I stare at these lovely pix!!

NKP said...

I love orange! I have the same tangerine KA mixer.
The cupcakes look absolutely delish. I have a soft spot for cream cheese icing.

Anonymous said...

Tnx for stopping by simply delicious&for the nice comments.
Ur blog luks fabulous!
Cup cake luks so perfect&delicious!

Anonymous said...

Such delicious looking cupcakes, Maple Cream Cheese Frosting sounds incredible! My daughter likes orange whenever she pretends to be a fairy (fawn) that wears orange but we don't have too many outfits in this color so since she's been into fairies, it's been on our list of colors to get :)

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

I'm with you on orange being beautiful and not getting it's due. Well they just did with these gorgeous cupcakes! Is your KitchenAid orange too?

Thanks for bringing them to High Tea.

Btw, I actually hosted an "orange" coloured event sometime back. :)

Unknown said...

I just wanted to thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I took it to my in-laws weekly dinner and I haven't heard my husband rave about something so much in a while. It was perfectly moist and surprisingly easy.

I was so excited to find this recipe because I got to use my new KA mixer too (this was attempt #2 to use it) and finally got to open up the pure maple syrup (which was my first use with it).

This is going in my 5star recipe section! Love it.