Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Second Chance For Miss Martha

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

NOTE: As many of you have been asking where I got these lovely paper cases for my cupcakes, I thought it would be easier to let you all know on the blog, rather than respond to every email. Many birds with the one stone, I guess.

The paper cases are from the Donna Hay home collection- these particular ones are called "Classic Ticking". I got mine from David Jones.

After salvaging the mess of a recipe that was the Chocolate Espresso and Mascarpone Tart, I had pretty much decided that this was the last straw with Martha. Yes, she's wholesome, she's almost likeable and yes she is so eerily perfect that it's borderline psychotic and creepy, but I was resolute in my stance not to try any of her recipes ever again. And there was no amount of pristinely pressed collared shirts and perfectly piped icing that would make me change my mind. Or would there?

It’s been almost a year since I vowed, with unwavering tenacity that I would never again try a Martha recipe because of all the inconsistencies and holes she left in the details and instructions of her recipes. At first I wasn’t sure if it was just the one recipe I had tried but it proved to be that a number of her recipes from the Internet were laden with mistakes.

Cupcake liner

But, a year later am I really able to make amends with Martha? What is it going to take?

Well the answer gladly is, maybe. Perhaps, I can make up with Martha and although we still aren't the best of friends, we are certainly making a go of it.

As much as I would love to mock her nauseating affinity for perfection and ability to make even the most anal and OCD-ridden person appear normal, I have to say that I am ready to give her a second chance. She’s redeemed herself with a carrot cake recipe that pleases everyone. And given that it is quite a feat to stuff up a carrot cake recipe, I would have been surprised if this one was a disaster, but I had to start somewhere. And I had to start small. After all Martha has jaded me on more than one occasion. It just so happens that only one of those occasions was documented on the blog.

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Not only has she found herself a measure of forgiveness, but I have also found myself a go-to recipe for carrot cake. A few minor adjustments here and there, but for the most part, it’s all from Martha. Congratulations girl, I no longer loathe you.

The cake has an incredibly moist and smooth crumb. You could almost say they are like little auburn feather pillows, light to the touch. And because they are so light you could be fooled into eating one too many. I know I was.

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

The only alterations I made to the original “Martha” recipe was adding a few more spices and using macadamia oil instead of vegetable oil. Macadamia oil’s taste is very subtle and doesn’t make much of a difference to the overall flavour, but certainly adds more depth than vegetable oil would. But if macadamia oil is not available then there is no reason why you can’t just use vegetable oil. If it was good enough for Martha, then, well.

So there you have it, Martha and I may see a friendship in the near future after all. I might have to test another disaster-free recipe from her to make that call, but for now I can say that I don't detest her and her recipes as much. As long as she doesn’t come at me with a wooden spoon or a steam iron, we should get along fine.

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

So here it is, enjoy! Martha'second chance Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Related post: Martha...not what she's cracked up to be

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

adapted from marthastewart.com
makes 12

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup macadamia oil*
2 tablespoons orange juice
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp salt
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1½ cups shredded carrots

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
¾ cup confectioners' sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
Orange zest

*If macadamia oil is not available you can substitute with a vegetable oil.

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper cups.
In a bowl, combine sugar, macadamia oil, orange juice, vanilla extract, and eggs.
Stir in baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt.
Add flour; mix. Stir in carrots.
Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling only about ¾ of the way up.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.
Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla extract.
Whisk until smooth.
Frost cupcakes, and garnish with orange zest.


Anonymous said...

I, too, swore off Martha because so many of her recipes don't work! Kind of hard to believe, when you consider the empire she has built. But these cupcakes look so delicious that maybe I'll give her a second chance...??

Gloria Baker said...

They looks so beauty!!!! I think they are so yummy, xxxGloria

Anonymous said...

hi jen, may i know where u got your cupcake cases and the white cardboard tray u put ur cupcakes in from? thanks alot =)

Abby said...

I understand - I love Martha but she often breaks my heart. Her saving grace, though, is Everyday Food. I have had almost complete success with its recipes - unlike I have with her (big, fancy, beautiful) magazine. Give them a try! I bet you'll feel the same.

Your carrot cake looks v. yummy. Simple and pleasing, right? I'm so glad you held out!

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

yay!! I'm glad that you *may* be able to make amends with Martha - ironically, as I type out this comment, I am watching Martha on television :0)

These carrot cupcakes look quite lovely!!

Karolina Beaudet said...

I've never thought I would say this about Martha's recipe, but these cupcakes look delicious!!! (probably becase you, not Martha made them;) )

Tammy said...

I love the cupcake wrappers!! I havent seen any as cool as that in NZ. Where did you get them from?


Nabeela said...

lol....I had a similar bad experience with a Martha recipe last year. But I still haven't found the courage or coviction to take up another recipe of her's.

Pink of Perfection said...

Awww, I'm so glad you and Martha made up. What would life be without looking at her magazines? These cupcakes are absolutely gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

It just reminds me of Jamie Oliver's butternut squash cupcake. I guess it's like muffin, I shouldn't overmix the wet and dry ingredients?

Anonymous said...

Those look lovely! I love the tip to use macadamia oil - that's a new one to me but I will definitely be trying it.

Scheherazaad said...

I have also sworn never to make another Martha recipe. But I still love the ideas in the magazine. I bought the halloween magazine and tried several of the cookie and cake decorating ideas using recipes from other sources. In other words: the look from Martha the substance from elsewhere. But since you have tested the carrot cake and been succesful I will try it too.

Anonymous said...

I just love carrot cake, especially with cream cheese frosting so I found these cupcakes adorable! Thanks for sharing. Mmmm...

Half Baked said...

I've had the same experiance with Martha. Some of her recipes just don't work but every so often I give in and occasionally am happily surprised! The cupcakes look scrumptious! I'll have to give them a try.

Anonymous said...

Oh.. lovely carrot cupcakes! I really like the cupcake cases.

Katie said...

You story made me laugh. The cakes certainly look good though

Squishy said...

Adorable cakes, but I can't stand Martha ;)

Anonymous said...

Must be a fluke! I have tried about three of her recipes which have all been horrible. I'm glad these worked out for you, though! :)

Peabody said...

Martha is always so hit and miss. This looks like a definite hit though.

Anonymous said...

MMMmm. I was going to make carrot muffins tonight, but cupcakes sound sooo much better!

Helene said...

IT's really touch and go with her recipes, I agree. I am glad this worked, the cupcakes look mighty good!

.vivian. said...

yum! i love love carrot cupcakes. these look beautiful and delicious.. i might try these this weekend. STILL, will be very cautious with Martha- wish me luck!

Anonymous said...

These look wonderful, love the paper cups too, so pretty ! Martha and her site drive me crazy but there are a few 'good things' to be had, if one has the patience to find them there.

pRiyA said...

sure the cupcakes LOOK delicious, but has anyone actually tried them ? before me that is ;-)