Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fall Carrot Cake (with Cinnamon and Pineapple) and Cream Cheese Frosting

I made this fit-for-Fall Carrot Cake (with Cinnamon and Pineapple) and Cream Cheese Frosting...

for my Baby. It was his first taste of Cake - and he thoroughly enjoyed it.

Fall Carrot Cake (with Cinnamon and Pineapple) and Cream Cheese Frosting

2. 5 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 4 eggs, 1 cup sugar, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 cup vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 3 cups hand grated carrots, 8 ounces crushed pineapple (canned). 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 by 9 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Hand grate enough (washed) carrots to yield 3 cups (about a 1/2 pound) and set them aside. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugars, oil, and vanilla. Add the flour mix in 2 to 3 parts. Fold in the carrots and pineapple last. Pour the cake batter into your prepared baking dish and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Allow your cake to cool completely before icing and slicing.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 cups confectioners' sugar. 

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream, butter, and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar in 4 parts, beating into smooth after each addition. Spread in an even layer over your cooled Fall Carrot Cake.  

May you soak up all that is left of beautiful Fall!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

White Chocolate Cake with a Cranberry Swirl (just in time for Thanksgiving)

Over the Summer I made White Chocolate Raspberry Cake. And I loved it. I made it every time raspberries were on sale. Then I made Dark Chocolate Blackberry Cake. And I loved that. I love this White Chocolate Cake recipe so much, that I designed a Holiday version - with a Cranberry Swirl on top, made from Cranberry Sauce.

My Grandmother asked me if it was cheesecake, because it's so soft and rich. But it's not. It's White Chocolate Cake with a Cranberry Swirl. And it's AWESOME.

White Chocolate Cake with a Cranberry Swirl

2/3 cup white chocolate chips, 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 cup cranberry sauce.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a glass pie dish (or a round cake pan) with parchment paper and lightly coat the sides with cooking spray. Melt 2/3 cup white chocolate chips with 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter, in a double boiler, over low heat; let it cool. In a small mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour with 1/4 baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Then add the chocolate-butter mix to the sugar mix, just until combined. Then add the flour mix, just folding it in. Place the cake batter into your prepared baking dish, gently using a spoon to spread it flat. Place dollops of 1/2 cup cranberry sauce on top of the cake batter. Use a knife to make swirls. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the sides are lightly browned and the middle does not jiggle. Allow your cake to cool, before slicing it.

This Cake is perfect for Thanksgiving - and even Christmas. It's great with a cup of coffee...

and the Macy's Day Parade. Who says you can't eat Cake for Breakfast?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Butter Cookies with Espresso Icing (or Little Turkeys)

These Little Turkeys are packed with flavor; the Butter Cookies are more shortbread than sugar cookie, with hints of lemon and vanilla, while the Icing has sweet espresso (Cafecito!) mixed into it. With the Cinnamon-Sugar, Chocolate and Candy Corn "Sprinkles" - these Little Turkeys are far from being your average cut-out cookies. 

I made Turkeys for Thanksgiving, but you can make any shape you like - all year long; the peak of cut-out cookie season is just weeks away!

Butter Cookies

1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 3 tablespoons salted butter, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon milk, 1 and 3/4 cup flour (plus 1/3 cup for rolling), 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder.

Let your butter come to room temperature, preheat the oven to 375, and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. In another large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until smooth. Then add the sugar, beating until fluffy. Then add the extracts, egg, and milk, beating just until combined. Add the flour mix in 2 to 3 parts, just until the dough forms. Sprinkle a clean, flat surface (table or countertop) with a bit of flour. (A 1/3 cup of flour is all you'll need for the rolling process.) Rub your rolling pin with flour, as well. Take about half of the dough and roll it out by placing your rolling pin in the center of the dough ball and then rolling out; you do not need to press down hard. Roll your dough out until it is about 1/2 an inch thick. (These cookies are meant to be thick.) Use the cookie cutter(s) of your choice to make shapes. Use a spatula to move your cut-outs onto the prepared baking sheets, placing them an inch away from one another and the sides of the pan. Bake your cookies for 6 to 8 minutes - just until the edges are lightly browned. Repeat this process until you have no dough leftover. (You may blend the cut-out "scraps" together over and over, without worry; think of it as Play-Doh.) Allow your cookies to cool completely before icing them.

Espresso Icing

1 and 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons salted butter, 2 tablespoons milk, and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Cafecito (or sweetened, strong espresso).

Using an electric mixer, beat together butter, milk, and Cafecito until smooth. Add 1 and 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar in 3 parts, beating until smooth after each addition. 

How to: Decorate!

Apply a thin layer to your Butter Cookies, using a spoon. Apply the Sprinkles of your choice before the Icing sets. I like to use crushed nuts, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, cinnamon-sugar, and even candy - like candy corn!

The Icing will take a few hours to dry completely; you may leave the cookies out (covered) or in the fridge, before you stack them. This will ensure beautiful cut-out cookies for you to show off! 

My Little Turkey loved his first Butter Cookie. He has no idea what's coming at the end of the month; turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie... oh, YES!!!