White whole wheat flour (Recipe: carrot cake cupcakes with lemon frosting)
In a famous series of television commercials from the 1970s, we watched the patrons in restaurants around the country as a male voice-over whispered, "We are here at (insert name of fine-dining restaurant), where we've secretly replaced the fine coffee they usually serve with (the instant brand). Let's see if anyone can tell the difference."
Of course, nobody could tell the difference. Not one single coffee drinker.
That's how it works in TV land, but that's also how it works in my kitchen when I substitute white whole wheat flour for the all-purpose unbleached white flour I usually use.
A relatively new product, white whole wheat flour comes from King Arthur Flour, a century-old Vermont company. In the early 1990s, they received a sample of a new strain of whole wheat flour from a consortium of farmers who had been working with Kansas State University's breeding program. This new flour was made not from hard red spring wheat, which is typically ground into whole wheat flour, but from a hard white winter wheat that lacked the tannins that makes most whole wheat flour taste a bit bitter.
Except for tannins, white whole wheat flour has everything else that you expect from whole wheat flour; all of the bran and germ are present, resulting in an almost identical nutritional profile but with a lighter color and sweeter taste.
Just be sure to serve your baked goodies with real coffee. One substitution is enough.
Carrot cake cupcakes with lemon frosting
Adapted from Ellie Krieger's The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life, this recipe makes 12 cupcakes.
3/4 cup white whole wheat or regular whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup natural unsweetened applesauce
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups finely shredded carrots (2 carrots)
For the frosting:
4 oz Neufchatel cheese, softened
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp chopped nuts (I used macadamia nuts)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a small bowl, sift together both flours, the baking soda, salt and spices. In a larger mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar and eggs, until well combined. Whisk in the applesauce, vanilla and carrots. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Divide the batter between the muffin cups and bake until a toothpick inserted in a cupcake comes out clean, 20-22 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, with an electric mixer beat together the cream cheese, confectioners sugar and lemon zest, until smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cupcakes, and top with chopped nuts.
Store any leftover cupcakes in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.