Farmer’s Market Cupcakes

Taking a break from the travel updates today to share a favorite recipe with you. With all of the running around we’re doing over here, I’m barely squeaking out favorite travel photos/posts to share – but I can’t believe I have a line up of home/entertaining/interview posts on the back burner to help fill the calendar with while we are *absent* too. Ha! We might be on vacation but absent apparently we are not :-). Europe is full of opportunities to jump on the internet (gone are the college days of seeking out a cafe to pay $2 for 10 minutes to check email) be it for good or bad (we’ve actually spent quite a few late nights working on ‘real work’ projects – bad! but we’ve also used our nifty iphone GPS system, surfed for B&B recommendations and have stayed in contact with family). A blessing and distraction in one. Hopefully I’ll finish up a bit of that editing – until then, enjoy!

Here’s an easy recipe that can be converted into little loaves of bread, into a dessert cake or even into mini breakfast muffin bites. And it’s in the ‘healthy’ category! Sort of.

I call it the Farmer’s Market Cupcake recipe because you can incorporate just about any yummy fruits and veggies left over in the produce drawer of the fridge at the end of the week, or feel free to shop your local Farmer’s Market with these ingredients in mind.

Farmer’s Market Cupcakes
(Makes roughly 3 dozen mini cupcakes)

1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons orange juice (any juice or even applesauce is great)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour (feel free to sub in whole wheat)
2 ish cups of any combination of the following shredded or finely shopped: carrots, zucchini, squash, hard fruit such as peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, apples, coconut, pineapple – you name it! Strain to remove excess juice, or sub out this juice instead of OJ above.
1/2 ish cup chopped walnuts
1/2 ish cup of raisins, cranraisins, golden raisins, chopped dates, etc
Poppy seeds for garnish
Cream cheese frosting (if making as a dessert)

1. Preheat over to 300 degrees. In a bowl, combine sugar, vegetable oil, orange juice, vanilla extract and eggs. Stir in baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add flour slowly and mix. Stir in shredded fruit, veggies, walnuts and raisins.

2. Pour batter into mini cupcake tins (oiled or lined with paper), or divide amongst small loaf pans. Double recipe to make a large loaf of bread. Bake until toothpick inserted comes out clean (usually 25 minutes for large cupcakes or loafs, 15 ish minutes for minis – but I watch carefully because a moist cupcake can make all the difference!).

3. If for a dessert, frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting and garnish with slices of fruit or poppy seeds. If served as the main sweet treat of the event, sometimes I’ll cut in half traditional sweet vanilla frosting, half cream cheese for a sweeter finish. Enjoy!

To achieve that swirled icing look, I used a quart sized ziplock plastic bag (freezer bags are sturdiest) with a hole in the corner – just like in this cupcake post.

I’ve actually used these for quite a few events this summer, from an Olympic-themed brunch (where are those darn pics?) to little Gigi’s 3rd birthday party (an adorable fairy themed bash – nice job Cassie) they’re an easy go-to.

Bite sized bits of moist deliciousness! And I’m sure there are many more healthy subs that can be made. Time to empty out the fruit bowl and the veggie drawer.

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