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Category Archives: Cakes

Carrot Cake

I made this cake for my friend at work to surprise her for her birthday this past week.  She and I actually started our new job on the same day and we were lucky enough to hit it off from the start.  It seems as though food is always a good topic of conversation when you are getting to know someone….I mean we all eat.  Early on I found out her favorite cake in the whole wide world is carrot cake so the choice was an easy one.  I was a bit nervous about it as she has eaten plenty of carrot cakes in her life….what if mine didn’t meet her expectations?  Well, luckily it did….she said it was one of the best carrot cakes she has had in a long time.  This is good being that she has been eating carrot cake for her birthday for several years!

Recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home To Yours

For the cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts (toasted)
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1  1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 pound (3 1/4 cups) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Getting ready: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Butter three 9-x-2 inch round cake pans, flour the insides and tap out the excess.  Put the two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.

To make the cake: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  In another bowl, stir together the carrots, 1 cup of the chopped nuts and coconut.  Working with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the sugar and oil together on medium speed until smooth.  Add the eggs one by one, and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother.  Beat in the vanilla and the crushed pineapple.

Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear.  Gently mix in the chunky ingredients and then divide the batter among the baking pans.  Bake for  40-50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers come out clean; the cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans.  Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them.       Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

To make the frosting: Working with the stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy.  Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth.  Beat in the lemon juice.

To assemble the cake: Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Cover the first layer generously with the frosting and smooth all the way out to the edges.  Top with the second layer, this time placing the cake top side down and smooth on a layer of the frosting.  Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top and sides of the cake.  Top the cake with the remaining 1 cup of nuts.  Refrigerate the cake for 30 min, just to set the frosting before serving.

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4 Comments

Posted by on November 7, 2010 in Cakes

 

The Cake Slice Bakers: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

I am so excited to be posting about this cake because it was absolutely delicious and it was my first time baking along with The Cake Slice Bakers.  I really like how everyone gets to vote on a selection of recipes for the month and then we bake the winning recipe.  It is a nice way for everyone to be part of the decision-making versus having one person get to choose the recipe.  Anyways, on to the this wonderful pumpkin cake studded with semi-sweet chocolate chips and walnuts.  I kept on calling it pumpkin chocolate walnut loaf instead of its actual name.  For some reason I don’t see this is a pound cake so I guess that’s why the name didn’t stick in my head!  Regardless of the name it was absolutely delicious.

I made two loaves because I would have been left with extra chips and walnuts.  I sent one loaf off with a friend to my old job and brought the other one in to work.  I got great reviews from both offices along with some “threatening” text messages from my friends at my old job!  LOL  It is my way of staying close to them….I baked for them frequently when I use to work there.  I see it as love but they on the other hand think I am trying to make them have to add another notch to their belts!  All this baking is tempting for me as well!  I use to bake a lot to begin with but now that I joined three baking groups it seems to be more frequent.  I had to establish a rule…I am only allowed one piece/slice of what I bake.  I haven’t quite followed my rule for this loaf as I have had a slice for breakfast two days this week.  Well, I didn’t have any of my Hummingbird cake with coconut walnut frosting from SMS that I posted at the beginning of the month so I guess it all evens out!  Please go and check out the other bakers here to read about their experience with this yummy cake.

Recipe from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman

Ingredients:

  • 1  3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1  1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used skim since it’s what I had @ home)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Method:

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and coat the inside of a 9×5 inch loaf pan with nonstick spray and dust with flour.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves, and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl. Combine the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium high-speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary.

  • My batter was looking quite unappealing at this time (curdled would be the accurate term) but it was fine after adding the flour so don’t worry!

With the mixer on medium low-speed add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Stir in the pumpkin puree, the vanilla and the milk.  Turn the mixer to low-speed and add the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Stir in the chocolate chips and the walnuts.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.  Bake the cake until it is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean; 55 minutes to 1 hr.  Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then place on wire rack to cool completely.

Store cake at room temperature in a cake keeper for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic for up to 1 week.

 
16 Comments

Posted by on October 20, 2010 in Cakes

 

SMS: Hummingbird Cake With Coconut Walnut Frosting

This week’s wonderful recipe is brought to us by Eliana from A Chica Bakes.  I was excited that she gave us the freedom to be able to pair the frosting with whatever tickled our fancy.  The frosting is supposed to be coconut pecan but I am not a huge fan of pecans and quite honestly the walnuts were less expensive so it was an easy choice for me.  I know when people think of this delicious frosting they instantly think of German chocolate cake but I wanted to pair it with something other than chocolate.  Not only am I not a huge fan of chocolate desserts but I figured many of my fellow bakers would likely pair it with something chocolatey.

My taste buds seem to feel that bananas, pineapple and coconut make for a wonderful tropical combination so this cake was the perfect choice for me.  I have never tasted coconut pecan frosting nor made a “cooked” frosting so this was a lot of fun for me.  The frosting was everything I imagined it to be and it was very easy to make.  I didn’t cut myself a slice yet but I did taste the frosting along with the piece of cake I cut off the bottom layer when leveling it off.  The combination definitely did not dissapoint…..forget about the cream cheese frosting typically paired with hummingbird cake!

The recipe I used is from Joy of Baking and although I am posting it below you can find it here.

  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped (I left them out)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cups safflower, corn or canola oil ( I used canola)
  • 1  1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 – 8oz can crushed pineapple, do not drain
  • 2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3-4 medium bananas)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of the oven.  Butter or spray two 9×2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of the pans with a circle of parchment paper (I don’t think the paper is necessary).

Place the pecans on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant.  Let cool and then chop finely.

In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients (expect pecans).  In another large bowl mix together all the wet ingredients and the finely chopped pecans.  Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix until combined.  Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (mine baked for 40 min).

Don’t forget to check out Eliana’s blog here for the coconut pecan frosting recipe.  Also check out all the other SMS bakers here to see what they came up with!

 
12 Comments

Posted by on October 3, 2010 in Cakes

 

Mixed Berry Crumb Cake

Blame it on the buttermilk…..that is all I can say.  I bought a quart of buttermilk for the pie I baked earlier this month and I still had most of the bottle left.  This lead me to make a banana cake that called for buttermilk and now this crumb cake.  As I opened the refrigerator throughout the week I would see the bottle of buttermilk with the expiration date of 10/09/10 staring me in the face.  I started to think it would be a crime to let it go to waste….determined it should have a different fate than my usual bottle of skim milk.

I was getting ready to make buttermilk pancakes for dinner tonight ( I love breakfast for dinner) when I remembered seeing a beautiful picture of this blueberry crumb cake in Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking: From My Home to Yours.  All I had was a bag of frozen mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries and marionberries) so I used those and am calling it a Mixed Berry Crumb Cake instead.

So, my crumb topping doesn’t look exactly as pictured in Dorie’s book but the cake was still yummy.  I would have liked it a tad sweeter but I think this was probably due to me using frozen berries.  Overall this was a success….can’t wait to have a piece for breakfast tomorrow once completely cooled as the piece I tried was still warm (not a fan of warm desserts).

For the crumbs:

  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the cake:

  • 1 pint (2 cups) blueberries (preferably fresh, or frozen, not thawed)
  • 2 cups plus 2 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • grated zest of 1/2  a lemon or 1/4 orange
  • 6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter an 8-inch square pan and put it on a baking sheet.

To make the crumbs: Put all the ingredients except the nuts in a food processor and pulse just until the mixture forms clumps and curds and holds together when pressed.  Scrape the topping into a bowl, stir in the nuts and press a piece of plastic against the surface.  Refrigerate until needed.  Covered well, the crumb mix can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

To make the cake: Using your fingertips, toss the blueberries and 2 tsp of the flour in a small bowl just to coat the berries; set aside.  Whisk together the remaining 2 cups of flour, the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Working in the bowl of a stand mixer or in another large bowl, rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and aromatic.  Add the butter and, with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the sugar with the butter at medium speed until light, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs one by one, beating for about 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla extract.  Don’t be concerned if the batter looks curdled as it will soon smooth out.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately, the flour in 3 parts and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients).  You will have a thick, creamy batter.  With a rubber spatula, gently stir in the berries.

Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top gently with the spatula.  Pull the crumb mix from the refrigerator and, with your fingertips, break it into pieces.  There’s no need to try to get even piece – these are crumbs, they’re supposed to be lumpy and bumpy and every shape and size.  Scatter the crumbs over the batter, pressing them down ever so gently.

Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Transfer the cake to a rack and cool just until it is warm or until it reaches room temperature.

  • The only changes I made were using the mixed berries and omitting the nutmeg….I just don’t like it.
 
5 Comments

Posted by on September 30, 2010 in Cakes

 

Banana Cake

I love checking out cookbooks from the library and just browsing through all the beautiful glossy pages.  I always pick cookbooks that have lots of pictures as I need to see what a recipe should look like.  One of the books I checked out recently was Brunch: 100 Recipes from Five Points Restaurant by Marc Meyer and Peter Meehan.  I figured this recipe was meant to be as I had exactly 3 super ripe bananas sitting on my counter and leftover buttermilk in the fridge from the Lemon Raspberry Buttermilk Pie I baked this weekend.

I substituted the buckwheat flour for more all-purpose flour and used half brown and half white sugar in the batter.  I found this “cake” to be a bit more dense than the banana bread I usually make but it was still very yummy!

  • 3 ripe to overripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1  1/2 sticks of butter
  • 1  1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mash the bananas and mix with the buttermilk in a bowl until smooth; set aside.

2. Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.

3. Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer on high-speed for 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat to incorporate.  Add half the dry ingredients and mix in.  Then add half the buttermilk/banana mixture and mix in.  Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients and the remaining buttermilk/banana mixture.

4.  Pour the batter into a buttered and floured loaf pan and bake for 1 hour or until the loaf is a dark rich brown and knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool in loaf pan on wire rack.

* Mine was done at about 1 hr and 10 min

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2010 in Cakes

 

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

I’m so excited because this is my first post and I happen to love pineapple upside-down cake.  The recipe I use is adapted from one I found on Epicurious and it is absolutely amazing.

For topping:

  • 1/2 medium pineapple; peeled, quartered lengthwise and cored
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

For batter:

  • 1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 to 3 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp dark rum
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 2 tbsp dark rum for sprinkling over cake

Preheat oven to 350

Make topping:

Cut pineapple crosswise into 3/8-inch thick pieces.  Melt butter in 10″ cast iron skillet. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, 4 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Arrange pineapple on top of sugar mixture in concentric circles, overlapping pieces slightly.

Make butter:

Sift together flour, cardamom, baking powder and salt.  Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in granulated sugar.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla and rum.  Add half of flour mixture and beat on low-speed just until blended (batter may appear slightly curdled).

Spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly.  Bake cake in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes.  Let cake stand in skillet 5 minutes.  Invert cake onto a plate, sprinkle rum over cake and place on wire rack to cool.

The following are changes I made…..

  • canned pineapple and maraschino cherries
  • omit cardamom
  • 1/2 brown and 1/2 white sugar in batter
  • light rum instead of dark
  • sprinkle 1 tbsp of rum and 1 tbsp pineapple juice over cake
  • baked in normal cake pan vs cast-iron skillet

I made this cake for a birthday celebration we are having at work tomorrow for several co-workers.  I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I do!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 15, 2010 in Cakes