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Cupcakes and beyond


Is it just the time of year? For some reason, I had been thinking a lot about hearty dessert breads — things with carrots and pumpkins in it. I saw some carrot cake sitting on the counter in a country restaurant, and it almost overcame my will power. But I resolved then and there to make a healthier version at home.

As usual, I looked at a lot of recipes for ideas and inspiration, then came up with my own recipe. I call these treats cupcakes because “cupcakes” is a nicer word than “muffin,” but in truth they’re probably muffins, because they’re a bit heavy to be called cake. However, add a little cream cheese icing (I did, with a whiff of nutmeg in it) and the difference between a muffin and a cupcake fades.

I also confess that I splurged again on equipping the abbey kitchen. I have never owned a stand mixer, though I have always admired the design of the Kitchenaid mixers. They’re beautiful machines. In the past, I’ve felt that I couldn’t justify the cost of a Kitchenaid mixer (or find the counter space for it). But I finally deceived myself into believing that the purchase was justified. For one, I make pretty much all my own bread. That’s a lot of kneading, and a heavy-duty mixer does a fine job of it. For two, I wanted to be able to make good homemade mayonnaises with home-laid eggs and good olive oil. And a little whipped cream every now and then never killed anybody.

Then I learned that Kitchenaid makes a shredder/slicer attachment, so that sealed the deal. Previously, I have sworn by the Wear-Ever hand-cranked shredder (no longer made, but often available on eBay, where I got mine several years ago). Since the Kitchenaid follows a similar (though motor powered) design, I had high hopes for the Kitchenaid shredder.

The difference between the two shredders is a wash, really. The Kitchenaid shredder cones are slightly larger, and the Kitchenaid is probably safer because of its feed system, but the Kitchenaid blades aren’t as sharp as the Wear-Ever blades, and when making slaw with the Kitchenaid the cabbage is a little bruised and crushed (not necessarily a bad thing). Then again, it may take me some time to figure out the best way to cut cabbage in chunks and feed it to the shredder. Carrots, however, shred beautifully. The Kitchenaid shredder attachment (sold separately) comes with four slicer/shredder cones. I’ve tried only two of them so far.

Here’s my recipe for cupcakes with shredded carrots, apples, and coconut.

Heavy but reasonably healthy cupcakes

1 1/2 cups grated carrot
1 apple, peeled and grated
1/2 cup dry, unsweetened, store-bought shredded coconut

1 cup stone ground whole wheat OR sprouted whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 eggs
1/2 cup oil (I used olive oil)
2 tablespoons milk (if needed)

Sift the flour and combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Set it aside.

Whip the egg whites until they’re stiff but not dry. Add the other ingredients including the egg yolks except for the milk and dry ingredients and mix well.

Add the dry ingredients to the mixture in portions, mixing as you add. The batter should be pretty thick, but if it’s too thick, add the milk.

Put the batter into a cupcake pan (I used paper liners). Makes about 10 cupcakes.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the cupcakes pass the toothpick test (about 205 degrees F internal temperature).

I feel guilty and acquisitive and materialistic for spending money again on the abbey kitchen, but I do like fine machines. And I would like for the abbey kitchen — a serious and well used kitchen — to be able to do everything that a commercial kitchen can do, though in a smaller way.

My old way of making slaw, and still a fine machine


A different — and not necessarily better — way of making slaw

Cabbage shredded with the Kitchenaid shredder

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