And here’s something else that did actually work out last night, after the Disaster. Recipe from Smitten Kitchen, since Deb always has the best baking recipes, and I’m usually not really a baker (much to the chagrin of my grandfather, who was perplexed last Christmas when neither my mother nor I expressed interest in opening a bakery). These were really amazing in the end.

This is neither fat-free, sugar-free, or gluten-free. Yum.

Carrot Cupcakes (or Cake) with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 24 cupcakes (or one two-layer cake, instructions at end)

2 c. all purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1 t. ground ginger
2 c. sugar
1.5 c. melted butter (or 1 1/4 c. canola oil, but isn’t butter always better?)
4 large eggs
3 c. grated peeled carrots
1 c. coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake molds with papers, or butter and flour them.

Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots, walnuts and raisins, if using them. Divide batter among cupcake molds, filling 3/4 of each.

Bake cupcakes 14 to 18 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Let cool in pans for five minutes or so, then transfer cakes to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before icing them.

To make a carrot layer cake: Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans instead of cupcake molds. Line bottom of pans with waxed paper. Butter and flour paper; tap out excess flour. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, and bake the layers for about 40 minutes each, or until a tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks. Peel off waxed paper; cool cakes completely.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

In a stand mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. Chill the frosting for 10 to 20 minutes, until it has set up enough to spread smoothly.

To assemble a carrot layer cake, frost the top of one cake, place the other cake on top. Frost the sides and top, swirling decoratively. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to set up frosting.

For the layer cake scenario, you will probably have a bit of leftover frosting, which you can tint and use for decorating.

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