The last time I was visiting my sister, I decided to thank her and her roommates for graciously hosting me, by making them a delicious home cooked meal. They live in a townhouse with an amazing, gorgeous kitchen, which much to my dismay, was "hardly ever used." As I opened and closed each cabinet, thinking about what I would make, I noticed a lack of kitchen tools. In the end I made salmon wrapped in bacon, mini baked potatoes with prosciutto bits and salad. I was awfully worried about the dessert, especially considering there were very few kitchen tools and only a few pots and pans. In the end I found the following recipe for carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. No special tools are required, not even a mixer (luckily the girls had cupcake tins!) and the recipe is simple yet tasty. If I want to make a dessert but have no tools nearby I make this. For the recipe, read more


Carrot Cupcakes with Cream-Cheese Frosting
From Martha Stewart

For the Cupcakes:
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup shredded coconut, plus more for garnish
For the Icing:
8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tablespoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Make the cupcakes: In a bowl, combine sugar, vegetable oil, orange juice, vanilla extract, and eggs.
  3. Stir in baking powder, baking soda, allspice, and salt. Add flour; mix.
  4. Stir in carrots, walnuts, and coconut.
  5. Oil a standard muffin tin or line with paper cups; distribute batter evenly.
  6. Bake until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 25 minutes.
  7. Make the icing: In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract.
  8. Whisk until smooth.
  9. Let cool before frosting. Garnish with toasted shredded coconut.