I am still trying to lose weight for our holiday in Italy at the end of September hence these wee baby cupcakes. It does work, you know. There’s no need to completely deprive oneself of all the joys of eating, but this keeps it under control. I must say, these are very little so you might want to nibble at them or you will find them gone in a mouthful. And then you will feel deprived.
I am using the trick these days of eating slowly and thoughtfully so the experience lasts longer. Sometimes, you are eating something delicious but talking your head off to someone and suddenly the food is gone and you can’t remember eating it. So sad.
A couple of years ago, I was standing at Machu Picchu in Peru in the pouring rain with a sick son and a needy American girl. And I could have thought, dang it all, here I am in this amazing place and it’s all ruined or I could have just thought, here I am in this amazing place. I chose the last one. The American girl had got up at some ungodly hour to queue to climb Huayna Picchu, which is accessed from Machu Picchu. There are a limited number of people who are allowed to climb it each day and we were there for only a day on a small group tour so it was do or die. Well, she missed out by three people. On top of that it was raining for the first and only time on our two week tour. She was drenched, distraught and wouldn’t shut up. Dario had a temperature which was rising and yes, it kept raining, which meant that up that high, basically we were in the clouds and could see very little.
We followed the tour guide all about the place while he spouted out wondrous and marvellous facts with the girl, who had decided to latch onto me and sick Dario, chattered incessantly about how miserable and cold she was. I tuned her out and imagined life up there in the clouds on the top of the world with the danger of toppling over the edge – yes, it was darned steep – and was bewitched. Just to let you know Machu Picchu is my favourite place on earth and I have travelled so far to over forty countries. Anyway, I wanted to get Dario back to the hotel and reassured the girl that we would get an early bus back down soon and leave the others up there. That calmed her a little. There was just one more section to see at the highest point and we diligently climbed upward, pausing to catch our breath (high altitude = little oxygen, you know) and then, as we arrived, the rain stopped, the cloud lifted and the sun came out. Did I tell you that Machu Picchu is my favourite place on earth? It was spectacular. We were there among the angels high in the mountain range with the steepest mountains I have ever seen. The town below in the valley seemed like kilometers away, straight down. The edges of the mountains were jagged and amazing.
I could see the clouds starting to move in again so I sat down and so did Dario and the girl. I said to her, ” I know this has been miserable for you but take a snapshot of this moment right here, right now and keep it in your heart forever. This moment is what you must remember of Machu Picchu, not the rest.” And we sat there while the clouds approached and drank it in. It was truly magical and that snapshot I took in my mind is still there, bright and clear.
The next day I proceeded to get sick too and we both flew back home from Peru very much under the weather with what turned out to be swine flu. But you can’t erase that moment from my mind.
To get back to my original point, you have to be very present while you eat these tiny cupcakes or it will be over before you have taken that snapshot.
This recipe comes from a cookbook I am reviewing called 150 Best Cupcake Recipes by Julie Hasson. Based on this cupcake recipe, I can certainly recommend it but you will have to wait until I have baked a few more before I give my final verdict on the book.
Disclaimer: I have been given this cookbook free for the purposes of reviewing it but the opinions are my own.
Recipe: Mini Carrot & Zucchini Cupcakes
- 1 1/2 cup of flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup grated carrot
- 1 cup grated zucchini
- 1/3 cup milk
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- Pinch of salt
- 2 1/4 cups of icing sugar
- in a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
- in a large bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar and eggs until smooth.
- Add the carrot and zucchini and mix.
- Alternatively stir in the flour mixture and milk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of milk, beating until smooth.
- Line a mini cupcake pan with cupcake papers and scoop the batter into them.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove onto a rack and let cool completely.
- in a bowl, using an electric beater, beat together the butter, salt and cream cheese until creamy.
- With beater on low,beat in the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time so that the sugar does not fly all over the place.
- Increase speed and beat until light and fluffy.
- Spread or pipe the icing over the cupcakes.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes