The Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节 – Zhōngqiū Jié) is coming up and, since I live in China: the land of many holidays, I’ll be flying back to New York City to celebrate with my fellow ‘Murican buddies! To prepare for my trip, I’ve been slowly cleaning out my fridge…I really don’t want to come back to a mold empire kingdom again. The terror I witnessed after my extended trip to Shanghai/Hong Kong was enough. I’ve learned my lesson!
I’ve been moving some things into the freezer and others into the trash, but I still had a bunch of carrots, apples and half a container of nonfat cream cheese lying around…so I decided to make myself some healthy carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting! Only one teaspoon of actual sugar was used in this recipe, but it’s completely optional. The cupcakes were sweetened with my homemade apple sauce, and the frosting was sweetened with powdered Splenda (made in my bootleg blender). These cupcakes are fantastic! Jam packed with grated carrots, walnuts, raisins and fiber from my self “milled” oatmeal flour (made in my bootleg blender). The cream cheese “butter”cream frosting is so decadent that it’s difficult to fathom how it could be low in calories. Caught your attention? Keep reading!
- one and three quarter cups of double sifted self ground oatmeal flour (just run your oatmeal through a food processor until powdery)
- one teaspoon baking soda
- one teaspoon baking powder
- half a teaspoon of salt
- two carrots, grated and squeezed to remove excess juice
- two handfuls of raisins
- one handful of walnuts or almonds, or some kind of nut
- three small apples (I used Gala)
- two tablespoons of room temperature margarine (one tablespoon for the apple sauce, one tablespoon for the frosting)
- half a cup of nonfat plain yogurt (a quarter cup for the cupcakes, a quarter cup for the
- powdered Splenda (run you Splenda in a food processor or blender until it becomes a fine powder)
- three egg whites
- freshly ground cinnamon (I used my bootleg blender)
- two teaspoons of vanilla extract (one for the apple sauce, one for the frosting)
- cream cheese
First you need to make your apple sauce! Wash, peel, core and slice up your apples. Toss them in a pot with one tablespoon of margarine, one teaspoon of vanilla extract, nutmeg, ground cinnamon and Splenda. I used two packets, but you should taste test and determine what works for you. You can add in some raisins, too, but not necessary–I just really love raisins. Let the apples simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally so they don’t burn. When the apples becomes soft and easy to mash, run them through a food processor until you have a puree and mix in the quarter cup of yogurt and egg whites (preferably beaten to stiff peaks with one teaspoon of sugar). Next, we’ll be adding in the dried ingredients and chunky healthy stuff!
So at this point…I have a confession to make…I actually did not use baking soda and baking powder in my cupcakes…even though I really should have 😦 I could not get a hold of any! To quote my friend Howie, “failboats everywhere!” If it makes you feel any better, I tried really hard today to find baking powder (烤粉) in my local supermarket. But alas, it was too local, and the clerks had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. Baking is a pretty Western thing. Anyways, though I highly suggest you use both baking soda AND baking powder, I tried to compensate by double sifting my oatmeal “flour” and beating the egg whites with one teaspoon of sugar until stiff peaks formed. I then folded the eggs whites into the wet ingredients and sifted the flour over the mixture, folding as I went. I added the carrots, walnuts and raisins last. If you incorporate my method with the correct leavening agents, then you’ll achieve a light, fluffy and über delicious cup cake!
If you have baking powder and baking soda, sift the flour, leavening agents, salt, cinnamon and powdered Splenda over your applesauce mixture, folding as you go. Next, sprinkle in your grated carrots, chopped walnuts and raisins. Pumpkin seeds would also be pretty darn delicious here! Scoop your mixture out into baking cups, or muffin tins, or whatever, but make sure to use a nonstick spray or some other alternative. You won’t need to, though, if you have silicone cups. I used some bootleg paper-cup-like Chinese muffin cups. Bake for about 35 minutes at 350F or ~175C or until you can stick a toothpick into the center of a cupcake and can pull it out clean. When they’re done, let them cool before frosting.
This recipe is super easy. Combine your nonfat cream cheese, quarter cup of plain yogurt, powdered Splenda (taste as you go to gauge sweetness, it’s better to start out with a small amount), vanilla extract and tablespoon of margarine in a bowl and mix until even, creamy and thick. Use a spatula to transfer everything into a piping bag and put it in the refrigerator to set until you’re ready to frost. When the cupcakes are cool, pipe on your frosting in a spiral motion and TADA! You’re done.
Enjoy your healthy carrot cake cupcakes!