On my trip to King Arthur Flour a short while ago (which you can read about here), I picked up some random items that I thought could come into use later in my baking or cooking. Their Pineapple Juice Powder left me feeling inspired for cupcake making so I decided to see what I could do with it.
I was in the dilemma of doing something no-so-normal when it came to pineapple pairings. You pretty much always see pineapple and coconut, or pineapple and some tropical flavor. But the more I got to thinking, I was all about doing pineapple and carrot. You’ll always see recipes for carrot cake with pineapple chunks in it, but how many of us have ever had that small amount of pineapple on hand? Well I never do, so I’d always omit it, which was the consensus among all the people I asked too. So today just happened to be the day to bring it back in a fun new way.
I started off with my favorite Carrot Cake recipe for the cupcakes. It is a wonderful recipe that always makes a perfect, flavorful and moist cake. I then took those cupcakes and topped them with Pineapple Frosting which ended up turning into more of a Pineapple Citrus Frosting. I hate when things don’t go as planned, but welcome to cooking/baking/having grand ideas. The Pineapple Juice Powder was a complete disappointment and really left the frosting very lame in terms of flavor packed goodness. I used half the container thinking that *maybe* with a liquid addition something might activate in the powder and I’d get a WHAM of flavor. Not so much. The recipe below is from thinking on my toes and using what I had in the house. Turning up the citrus definitely went well with the carrot cake!
My last grand idea I had for these cupcakes was to top them off with some beautiful pineapple flowers, which was thanks to some inspiration from Pinterest. The theory behind these pineapple flowers was to be able to slice them thin and put them into muffin tins and have them crisp up on the edges.You would then be left with beautiful “flowers” to use for decoration. These ended up pretty awful. I started with slicing them very thin with my knife and moved on to using a mandolin. When I tried placing them into muffin tins they cracked. I then decided crisped slices would be beautiful all the same. I used a very ripe pineapple which meant the slices had quite a large amount of water and I figured I’d have to bake them low and slow on a baking sheet to evaporate the excess moisture. The chips became more soggy as they baked, and more fragile, and when I upped the heat a bit, the sugar caramelized and started to burn. In my whole batch I was left with one slice that looked pretty (but tasted horrible) to use for pictures. Moral of my long drawn out story is that don’t believe everything on the internet, and in this case Pinterest. I do have to note that after failing with my pineapple flowers, I did manage to find the actual source for Pineapple Flowers from Martha Stewart. BUT the photo below will show you another baker who had the same luck I did. It looks I may have made a cooks’ error in how I executed them, but regardless it’s best to do your research and keep an open mind when it comes to this stuff.
This cupcake adventure was not at all what I expected, but all the taste testers were all happy. I definitely think I’ll be trailing this in the future until I get just what I was looking for, and then it’ll be time for another great recipe share! I appreciate you reading and hope that you won’t be afraid to try something new. You may falter but it can lead you to new adventures and a chance to learn how to think on your toes!
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
makes enough for 12 cupcakes
1 cup of Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup of Sugar
1/4 teaspoon of Salt
1/2 teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 teaspoon of Cinnamon
2 large Eggs
3/4 cup of Canola Oil (or Vegetable)
1 cup of finely grated Carrots
1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper liners, set aside. In a medium bowl stir together dry ingredients (Flour, Sugar, Salt, Baking Soda and Cinnamon). In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients (Eggs, Canola Oil, Carrots and Vanilla). Merge the two bowls of ingredients stirring just till ingredients are incorporated. Fill each paper liner with batter 2/3 of the way up the sides. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.
Pineapple Citrus Frosting
1/2 cup of unsalted Butter, room temperature
1/2 cup of Vegetable Shortening
1/2 teaspoon of Orange Extract
3 tablespoons of Orange Pineapple Juice
1/2 cup of Pineapple Juice Powder
2-3 cups of Powdered Sugar
In a mixer fitted with a paddle, stir together the Butter and Vegetable Shortening until pale yellow in color and fully blended together. Slowly add Orange Extract and Orange Pineapple Juice as to incorporate until smooth. Add in Pineapple Juice Powder and Powdered Sugar, one half cup at a time until desired consistency is achieved. The frosting should have a consistency between cake batter and cookie batter and should not move when the bowl is tilted. Add in Food Coloring for desired color(s).
For the look I achieved, remove a small amount of the frosting into a separate bowl and color it a different color. Fit a piping bag with a star tip. In your piping bag, lay the color from the small bowl in a stripe along the side. Add the remaining frosting to fill the rest of the bag. Pipe half inch stars until the surface of the cupcake is covered. If you don’t have a piping bag, place frosting into a ziplock bag and snip a quarter inch off one corner. Swirl bag outward for a tie-dye design.