Saturday, March 23, 2013

Chocolate Carrot Coconut Cupcakes

Did you ever go on vacation, only to wish you had another week to recover from the one you've just been on?

Well my friends, I have just returned home from said vacation. 

My Mother-in-law turned 60 this month. Her wish was to have her kids and grandkids celebrate this milestone in Florida. After months of careful planning, it was signed and sealed.

What could possibly go wrong?  

What could possibly go wrong she asks.

Let's just say this vacation was proof that Murphy's Law is alive and well in my world.

It all started on the flight down to the Sunshine State. We often request the back of the plane so our kids don't bother anyone. They're amazing travellers for the most part, but let's face it, kids are kids; they get bored after awhile. However, it wasn't my kids that were the issue this time. There was a young couple sitting right in front of us. To spare the details, once we hit 21,000 feet, they started making out like it was the last day on earth. If she could have devoured him, she probably would have. And vice versa. I can usually turn a blind eye to things like that, but when my children are present - or any children for that matter, it's SO not on. I was doing my best to ignore what was going on until she climbed onto his lap and went all 9½ Weeks on him. All the seat kicking, coughing, and slamming my tray in the upright position wasn't deterring that hot lipped hussy away from her man. Even the flight attendants had to repeatedly tell them to cool it. 

Fast forward to 2am. I woke up with the worst case of hives I've ever had. The only time I get hives of that caliber is when I eat something that has touched shellfish - and I know I didn't eat anything as such. I was literally covered head to toe in red blotches and welts. And the itching? Holy smokes. I was pretty much awake for the rest of the night. Praise God for portable devices, free WiFi, and Netflix. This went on for three nights until we finally realized that I was allergic to the hotel's feather pillows. 

At around 10am the next morning, our first full day in Florida, my sweet two-year-old just wasn't himself. Turns out he was about to come down with the worst flu bug his little body ever experienced - and it continued for the next FIVE days. We missed out on many of the activities while I stayed back and nursed his poor little body back to health. It's bad enough when your child is ill, but when one is away from home and your child is ill, stress levels rise by the bajillions. Praise God for 24-hour pharmacies, Pedialyte, and housekeeping staff.  

Just as things started to look up, the heavens opened up. Rain. For two days - right up to the last day of our trip. I don't think I've ever left a tropical-like environment as pasty as when I arrived. To make matters worse, we had to fly home into a snowstorm. I'm not the best flyer to begin with and turbulence FREAKS. ME. OUT. You know that girl in the movie, Bridesmaids, who is convinced the plane is going down? That's me. Times 10. Plus 500. To the fourth power. It was the longest two and half hours of my life. Praise God for anti-anxiety medicine, little bottles of alcohol, and on-board entertainment.

Needless to say, I have never been so happy to see my home or my bed. 

Or these cupcakes.

Which I'm pretty sure can fix anything. 

Especially one's sanity. 


For the cupcakes:

2 cups all-purpoose flour
1½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature 
1½ cups brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup good quality chocolate, melted
2 cups shredded carrots 
½ cup chopped walnuts, optional

For the Coconut Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar - you may need more 
2 cups shredded coconut

Chocolate Mini Eggs for decorations

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 2-12 cup muffin tins with paper liners. Set aside. 

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt together; set aside. In another mixing bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Add in eggs, one at a time, and blend to incorporate. Add in vanilla. 

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix until incorporated. Add in melted chocolate and blend. Stir in carrots. 

Using an ice cream scoop with a retractable mechanism, place batter into cupcake papers about ¾ full.

Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

To make frosting:

Cream together cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add in extracts. Slowly add in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time or you'll end up with a cloudy mess. 

Pipe or spread frosting onto cupcakes and dip into coconut flakes. Top with cute chocolate mini eggs or jellybeans for an extra special Easter treat. 

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5 Responses to “Chocolate Carrot Coconut Cupcakes”

  1. I'm sorry you had to go through all that, but thank God for a sense of humor and writing skills, because it made for a very entertaining story. Just think, any time you overhear someone talking about their "vacation from hell" you can jump in and say, "You think THAT'S bad!?..." and you will in. Hands down. Every time. High Five.

  2. Oh my goodness. You do need another vacation!! I can't believe people were like that on the plane.

    These cupcakes would fix a lot in my books as well.

  3. I would never have combined these flavours, but now I really want to! Sorry to hear your holiday wasn't great, that really sucks. You will have to have another one soon to make up for it!

  4. What a great combination of flavours...these look so tasty and the mini eggs on the top would be just too tempting! :-)

  5. Man these look AMAZING! I'm sorry your vacation wasn't much of one but I enjoyed reading this post. I can't wait to make these cupcakes! Yummo!!