Cardamom Carrot Cupcakes- Vegan Dairy-free and Gooood for you!

A few days ago a friend asked me if I had a good carrot cake recipe. I didn't have one that I had actually tried and since then I have been dreaming of carrot cake. So this post is for her, for me and also for all those mommas out there who have kids (or hubbies) who don't eat their veggies. Here is the answer- put those unloved veggies in cake! Then sit back and watch them being devoured.Oh and devour some yourself-they taste fantastic!
I see myself doing this a few years from now when Jelly bean can but wont! eat his veggies. I will sneak zucchini in chocolate cake and make these tasty, healthy carrot cupcakes very, very often.
This genius, deceptively simple recipe is again from Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World.
Being Indian and because I love carrot halwa I had to play around with the spices so the changes I made were to add cardamom (elachi) and cloves in addition to the cinnamon in this fantastic recipe. I'm so glad I did. The whole house is filled with the aromas and I had to restrain myself from scooping up and eating all of the batter. I might also add some shredded fresh or frozen and thawed coconut next time.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Recipe source: Adapted from 

 from here

Dry Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger ( I overlooked this, maybe next time)
  • I also added: 
    • 1/8 tsp clove powder 
    • 3-4 elachi powdered ( I just put the seeds on a paper towel, folded the towel over and whacked them with the back of my metal measuring cups until crushed and sort of powdery)
    • 1/2 cup shredded fresh or frozen and thawed coconut ( Didn't add this time but will next time)
Wet ingredients
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup soy yogurt (plain or vanilla) 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1 cup finely grated carrots ( I thawed frozen carrots for 2 mins in the microwave then pulsed them in my food processor on the chop setting. Don't pulse for too long lest they turn mushy)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts ( I didn't add these)
  • 1/4 cup raisins (I hate raisins in cake so didn't add this either)
Frosting: I used the cream cheese frosting from here

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the wet ingredients sugar, vegetable oil, yogurt, and vanilla. 
  • Sift in the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices), and beat until smooth.
  • Fold in shredded carrots, walnuts and raisins.
  • Spray the cupcake liners with non-stick baking spray. Fill the liners 2/3 full. 
  • I also pushed in a cashew on to the top due to my carrot halwa hangover.
  • Bake for 26-28 minutes ( I had to bake for 40 minutes and it was still a little gooey), until a toothpick inserted through the center of one comes out clean.
  • Once fully cooled, top generously with cream cheese frosting.
Or you could do what I did-poke a hole in the middle of the bottoms of each cupcake with my index finger, then using a medium round icing tip, fill with frosting.
I didnt have pastry bags so I tried using instead, an extra medicine dropper we had from the pharmacy, with which I sucked up the frosting and squeezed it into the centers. Worked quite well.

Ease:  * * * * *
Taste: * * * * * 

I made one biiig mistake with this recipe. I didn't double it.and that makes me sad because these are so gooood. Tender, moist, aromatic, chewy, slightly sticky interior and crunchy top yummyness! I only made 12 and they are almost over already. I'm just eating carrots I rationalize. Adding this to my mental list of favourite recipes and I highly recommend you do too. And also lay your hands on Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World and try out all the other vegan and awesome recipes. I have posted a few here too. Look in the recipe index or click here

Easy & Quick Bourbon Chicken

Bourbon chicken is a flavorful chicken dish named after Bourbon Street in New OrleansLouisiana and for the bourbon whiskey ingredient. The dish is commonly found at Cajun, Chinese, and American BBQ themed restaurants.
The recipe includes soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and bourbon in the base, and the chicken is marinated in this sauce. - Wikipedia 

Almost all Chinese take out menus and those at the mall food courts feature some version of this chicken in a dark sweet/sour sauce served over mounds of steaming white rice. I found this recipe while looking for something to whip up quickly for dinner one night and was intrigued by the more than 2000 reviews it had received over at recipezaar. It may not be athentic, but so many people thought it was great- fast to whip up and delicious, and I do too!

Bourbon Chicken
Recipe source: LinMarie on recipezaar now from here

  • 2 lbs boneless chicken breasts or tenderloin, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic pod , crushed ( I used garlic paste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger ( I used ginger paste)
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup apple juice ( I used store bought prune juice, others have used orange)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar ( I used regular sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp to 1/4 cup Bourbon whiskey ( Optional) 
  • Heat oil in a large skillet.
  • Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.
  • Remove chicken.
  • Add remaining ingredients, mix well over medium heat until everything is dissolved and well combined.
  • Add chicken and bring to a hard boil.
  • If you like the sauce to be thicker, you can add 1 tsp of cornflour diluted in about 1/4 cup water while boiling and mix well. 
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often.
  • Serve over rice and with steamed vegetables.
Ease:  * * * * *
Taste: * * * * *

It's all done in about half an hour and is so easy to prepare but tastes like you have slaved for hours. Was an instant hit and will definitely be made very frequently.
Thanks Anonymous commentators, have included your suggestions and will try them next time I make this! Do leave your names so I can thank you by name :) 

Beer Bread-No Yeast No Knead Dairy-free Egg-free Quick Bread

I have been on a baking spree baking cakes and cupcakes and the Geek finally rebelled saying that my baking was going to give him diabetes. So I decided to turn to baking bread and have been thumbing thorough some cook books including 'Baking with Julia' and trying to decide between the 'Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day' method or the No-Knead Bread by Lahney. But most of these definitely simple recipes still seemed to require a bit of commitment of time and tools I didn't have, until I found this easy, almost absurdly simple and too-good-to-be-true recipe for Beer Bread.

(Update: I have since this post gotten over my fear of yeast and made and love the Brioche bread from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Check out my beautiful apple, cinnamon and brown sugar filled braided bread here I am now a bread fanatic!)

Immediately bells began to ring and I ran to George the grocer's little store and asked him for one single bottle of ale- "To make bread" I explained while he looked at me puzzled.

With the world cup quarter finals tomorrow-what could be a better snack for the football obsessed than beer bread? This is one easy and tasty bread that has the flavor of the beer and requires no yeast, no raising, kneading and all that mess.
I added some garlic powder and oregano for some extra yuminess. The crust is crispy and the insides soft and springy as all good bread should be. Still can't get over how easy this is- Just mix, pour, bake!Can all be done in just one dish too

Beer Bread
Recipe source: Gerald Norman on Recipezaar from here

  • 3 cups flour (sifted- make sure to sift else bread will be hard)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) can beer 9 recommend using either stout like Guinness or ale )
  • 1/4 cup melted butter or olive oil ( I used oil olive)
  • I also added 1 tsp garlic powder and 1 tsp oregano-optional
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Mix dry ingredients and beer.
  • Pour into a greased loaf pan.
  • Pour melted butter/olive oil over mixture.
  • Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool for at least 15 minutes. If you don't remove it and keep the bread in the pan the bottom may get soggy.
Below are some helpful notes by Gerald : 
This recipe makes a very hearty bread with a crunchy, buttery crust. If you prefer a softer crust (like a traditional bread) mix the butter into the batter instead of pouring it over the top.
Sifting flour for bread recipes is a must-do. Most people just scoop the 1 cup measure in the flour canister and level it off. That compacts the flour and will turn your bread into a "hard biscuit". That's because they aren't sifting their flour! 
If you do not have a sifter, use a spoon to spoon the flour into the 1 cup measure.
If using non alcoholic beverages then add a packet of Dry Active Yeast or 2 teaspoons of Bread (Machine) Yeast so that you get a proper rise.
Put a baking sheet or tray under the dish so that any butter that bubbles over doesn't spill onto the oven floor and catch fire.

Hic! The beer taste in the bread was prominent and I loved it even thought I don't even like beer! I halved the ingredients as I wasn't sure I'd like it so my bread was quite small and was all gone in seconds. Next time I will double it and make two full loves as everyone loved it and tore off chunks of this soft bread with a crunchy top.You don't have to like football or even beer to love this, whether you are making it or eating it.
Take it along for the next tailgate party and you will be the star!