When I went to the National Library to search for these Peter Rabbit books for the photos, the librarian had told me to look under 'books for babies'. Lucky babies! How fortunate to be growing up with beautiful wholesome illustrations like these. I didn't get to know about the Peter Rabbit series until I was in my twenties. The only books I can remember growing up with during my pre-school years were a couple of big paper back picture books with titles like : Three Little Pigs and Puss In Boots.
When I eventually went to primary school, my reading material were 50cents weekly monochromatic periodicals. My parents would take us to the bookshops during school holidays where we stock up on story books and stationery... Even then, we would only be allowed to buy books that were 'cheap and good'. Hence, I ended up reading the whole collection of Oxford Classic series because they only cost $1 each... while my friends would be showing off their $5 Enid Blytons and Nancy Drews...The good thing that came out of this 'crunch' was that by the time I moved on to Secondary One (equivalent to junior high?), I had already finished reading titles like Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Little Women, Wuthering Heights and The Hound of Baskervilles. Hence when we were assigned to read Little Women for our literature class, I had already known the book inside out...:)
I have never griped about not having what my classmates had. In fact, in retrospect, I am really thankful for the foundation those experiences from the early years had provided me.
Today? Books are still a big part of my life. I still have a full wall of bookshelf...albeit the cookbooks are quickly edging all other books out of the shelves..but no worries, I have just bought myself my first Kindle E-reader last month when I was in US and am thrilled to bits with it.
Apart from the E-reader, I also managed to get my hands on these Peter Rabbit Cupcake Kit from Williams Sonoma. Very appropriate for the Easter Holiday. Sigh, why are pretty things like these never available in this part of the world?
To celebrate Easter, I have chosen to make Martha Stewart's Carrot Cupcake with a Tangy Cream Cheese frosting. I am beginning to really enjoy Martha Stewart's Cupcake cookbook. The last time I worked with a recipe from the book was for the Ginger Bread Cupcake - the texture and flavours of which I had totally enjoyed.
This Carrot Cupcake is equally wonderful. Totally easy to make, the recipe contains loads of shredded carrot which gives it a very moist and fine crumbed finish. Perfect for children (and adults, like myself) who do not like carrots! The addition of yellow raisins lends another delightful burst of natural sweetness and sunshine to every mouthful.
If you are considering to bake something for Easter, I would strongly recommend this!
Recipe (Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcake Book)
1 pound carrots, peeled and finely grated
3 large eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk (I used full cream milk)
2 cups sugar (I used 1.5 cups)
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger (I omitted the ginger and cloves because I am concerned about how the
1/8 tsp ground cloves my neighbour's 4 year old kid would take to the spices)
Cream Cheese Frosting
340g Cream Cheese
4 cups Confectioner's sugar (sifted)
3/4 tsp Vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 160C. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.
2. Whisk together carrot, eggs, buttermilk, sugar,oil, vanilla extract and raisins.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour,baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir flour mixture into accort mixture until well combined.
4. Divide batter among lined cups. Fill each liner to 3/4 full.
5. Bake at 160C for 25mins until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
1. Cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Lower mixing speed and add in powder suger.
2. Add vanilla extract and mix well. Refrigerate if frosting becomes too soft to pipe.
1. Place frosting in a piping bag fittled with a large round tip. Pipe swirl onto cupcake and decorate with Peter Rabbit pick.