"If humans gave birth to baked goods, we would be just like hamsters. We would eat our young. For the sake of the others."
Right now I'm doing a lot of things, a lot of things. I'm going to list them to you in the same way I list them off to concerned people who are doing the same things I'm doing only the sixty-five year old version, and they're paid by the Gov. to do so:
-- Reading back issues of Vogue and InStyle and W and deciding which ones to keep, so I can repeat this process in five months when I trip over the third pile of three-year old magazines in the middle of the night. When dawn comes, you'll find me with a broken toe and reading an article about Salmon and Micronutrients for Follicles for the fifth time.
-- Engaging in some serious e-mail shennanigans.
-- Figuring out my life! GOD, this is the best one. It involves a lot of apartment searching and Craigs List and course catalogues and watching "Just Friends" on HBO onDemand for the fifth time in one month.
-- Buying jeans. That look just like all of my other jeans.
-- Buying makeup.
-- Being the Mr. Miyagi I always knew I was and showing 16 and 17 year olds "Pretty in Pink" and "Sixteen Candles" for the first time.
-- Being sad about my dog, who is suddenly a little too old for my liking even though she's only 10 and will live for like 9 more years.
-- Making the hell out of some cupcakes
These are a great diversion, a great way to pretend you're in control of a lot of things when really you're not, and you don't even care if you are. I bake when I'm feeling fussy, as though precious baked goods will stand in for the rest of my unordered life, and these were a great diversion. Icing and a topping.
That's like a headband and a scrunchie.
Carrot-Pecan Cupcakes with Cream Cheese-Vanilla Bean Icing
Based on the Frog Commissary Carrot Cake Recipe
1 1/4 cups Canola Oil (I use Spectrum)
2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups coarsely grated carrots
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans
3/4 cup golden raisins
Juice from half of a large, ripe orange
2 cups AP flour
1 Tbs + 1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Dash of ground cloves
Preheat oven to 350° F. Place paper cupcake liners in two 12-cup muffin tins -- I got around 20 large cupcakes from this recipe. 20 large cupcakes for my mouth. Double-fisting baked goods is how I roll.
In a large bowl, whisk or cream together the oil and sugar. Add vanilla and one egg. Mix until combined, though mixture might seem stiff and slightly dry.
Mix orange juice and raisins together and leave to soak.
Sift the dry ingredients (flour, salt, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and baking powder) into a smaller bowl, then alternate the dry ingredients with the remaining eggs in the following order: flour, egg, flour, egg, flour, egg. Mix well after each egg, but only mix until just combined after each helping of flour. Resulting batter should be thick but smooth and moist. Switch to a wooden spoon (if you're not using one already), and add the grated carrots, raisins and any leftover soaking liquid (juice). Add pecans and stir until combined, then drop by the spoon or scoop into prepped papers. Baked for 20-30 minutes, testing after 20 -- tops should be golden brown, slightly shiny and a toothpick or skewer should come out clean. The house should also smell incredible. Like you're running an illegal cinnamon operation and drying it in your oven.
Cool in the pan for 3 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a rack.
1 8 oz package of cream cheese, almost room temp.
2 tablespoons softened butter
1 lb sifted confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Seeds from one vanilla bean
Toasted coconut (optional)
In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese and butter on medium speed with a hand mixer. Add vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds and mix until soft and smooth. Sift in powdered sugar until desired texture is reached -- I like a stiffer icing.
Frost cupcakes with flair and reckless abandon. Roll tops in or pat with cooled, toasted coconut.