Category Archives: Baking

Best Carrot Cake Recipe!

So, I love to bake!  And I actually have a culinary bucket list.  I have made some of the things on that list, and need to update it.  Interestingly, carrot cake wasn’t on that list.   I have never made a carrot cake before, and although I do like it, I am more of a chocolate lover.  However, there is just something about cake that makes me ooh and ahh.  Not sure why cake is such a big thing to me, but it really is!  Cake and cupcakes…..I love more than any other sweet thing to eat.

I celebrated an anniversary, (a decade with Karol), on April 24, and while usually I would make a cheesecake, I decided to make a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting instead.  So I searched the internet, and found a few promising ones, but I kept going back to the one on the King Arthur website.  Their recipes have NEVER failed me, so I figured I would give it a shot.  It was AMAZING!!  I did make a few adaptions (I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t), but stuck true to the recipe for the most part.

Kitchen Sink Carrot Cake

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup melted coconut oil (original recipe called for vegetable oil, but I don’t use that)
  • 2 cups King Arthur white whole wheat flour ( I very rarely use white flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 3 1/2 cups finely grated carrots (1 pound)
  • 3/4 cup diced pecans
  • 1 cup shredded coconut.  (unsweetened referred) If using sweetened cut back to 3/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup diced dried pineapple (you can substitute one 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained and squeezed dry, if preferred)

Frosting

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 (8 ounce) package reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (The original recipe called for 3 cups!!  I like my frosting more “cream cheesy” and less sugary, so I cut back to 1/2 cup. Start there and ad sugar to taste)
  • 1 tablespoons non fat milk, or enough to make frosting spreadable

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan.

2) Beat the eggs, sugars, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl till smooth, about 2 minutes at medium-high speed.

3) Mix the melted butter with the oil. With the beater running, add the oil mixture in a stream, beating till smooth.

4) In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring to make a smooth batter.

5) Stir in the carrots, nuts, coconut, and pineapple.

6) Spoon the batter into the pan, spreading it to the edges.

7) Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the cake is golden brown, and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

8) Remove the cake from the oven, and cool right in the pan.

9) When it’s completely cool, make the frosting.

10) Combine the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt in a medium-sized bowl, and beat together until light and fluffy.

11) Add the sugar gradually, beating well.

12) Add the milk a little at a time, until the frosting is a spreadable consistency.

13) Spread frosting over the cake.

Yield: 9″ x 13″ sheet cake, about 24 servings.

Mix sugars, eggs and vanilla

Mix sugars, eggs and vanilla

This is melted and mixed with melted utter, then poured into egg mixture

Coconut oil instead of veggie oil

Coconut oil instead of veggie oil

Flour and spices are mixed and added into batter.

white whole wheat flour

white whole wheat flour

Mix carrots into batter…..that was A LOT of shredding…..(couldn’t find the shredder adapter to my food processor)

carrotcake4

Then add in nuts, coconut and pineapple

carrotcake5

Mix together.

carrotcake7

Spread into greased 9×13 pan and bake for 45 minutes at 350.

carrotcake8

Then make frosting.  Mix butter and cream cheese in mixer.

carrotcake9

Mix until creamy, then add in sugar 1/2 cup at a time until it tastes teh way you want it to.

carrotcake11

Spread on cake….then EAT IT!!!!!

carrotcake12

carotcake13

So moist and delicious!!

So moist and delicious!!

Enjoy!! This is truly the Best Carrot Cake Recipe Ever!

 

Chocolate Babka

This year I have been really trying to delve deeper into my Jewishness and teach my kids more about their Jewish heritage.  I think that may be me approaching 50, or maybe because my kids are in their late teens, and I am worried they do not know enough about it.  For whatever the reason, I have been doing my best to teach them about the holidays and therefore I made a traditional Rosh Hashanah dinner, including the apple dipped in honey and a nice roast.  But I wanted to make a special dessert, and scoured the internet for something I had never made before and that was a “traditional” food.  Also, since our Jewish ancestors emigrated to the United States from Poland and Romania I wanted to pay homage to that ancestry as well.

So with all of that in mind I looked and looked, and came across Chocolate Babka.  A sweet bread with chocolate mixed in the dough.  Well, they had me at chocolate.  So I dove in!  I found this recipe on one of my favorite cooking sites:  Smitten Kitchen!  She has wonderful recipes and great instructions on there, you should definitely check her out!!

Chocolate Babka

Makes 3 loaves

1 1/2 cups warm milk, 110 degrees
2 (1/4 ounce each) packages active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups plus a pinch of sugar
3 whole large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature, plus more for bowl and loaf pans
2 1/4 pounds semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped*
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Streusel topping (below)

1. Pour warm milk into a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast and pinch of sugar over milk; let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

2. In a bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup sugar, 2 eggs, and egg yolks. Add egg mixture to yeast mixture, and whisk to combine.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour and salt. Add egg mixture, and beat on low speed until almost all the flour is incorporated, about 30 seconds. Change to the dough hook. Add 2 sticks butter, and beat until flour mixture and butter are completely incorporated, and a smooth, soft dough that’s slightly sticky when squeezed is formed, about 10 minutes.

4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead a few turns until smooth. Butter a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, and turn to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

5. Place chocolate, remaining cup sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl, and stir to combine. Using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in remaining 1 1/2 sticks butter until well combined; set filling aside.

6. Generously butter three 9-by-5-by-2 3/4-inch loaf pans; line them with parchment paper. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon cream; set egg wash aside. Punch back the dough, and transfer to a clean surface. Let rest 5 minutes. Cut into 3 equal pieces. Keep 2 pieces covered with plastic wrap while working with the remaining piece. On a generously floured surface, roll dough out into a 16-inch square; it should be 1/8 inch thick.

7. Brush edges with reserved egg wash. Crumble 1/3 of the reserved chocolate filling evenly over dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Refresh egg wash if needed. Roll dough up tightly like a jelly roll. Pinch ends together to seal. Twist 5 or 6 turns. Brush top of roll with egg wash. Carefully crumble 2 tablespoons filling over the left half of the roll, being careful not to let mixture slide off. Fold right half of the roll over onto the coated left half. Fold ends under, and pinch to seal. Twist roll 2 turns, and fit into prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining 2 pieces of dough and remaining filling.

8. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush the top of each loaf with egg wash. Crumble 1/3 of streusel topping over each loaf. Loosely cover each pan with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place 20 to 30 minutes.

9. Bake loaves, rotating halfway through, until golden, about 55 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake until babkas are deep golden, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove from oven, and transfer to wire racks until cool. Remove from pans; serve. Babkas freeze well for up to 1 month.

Streusel Topping

Makes 3 3/4 cups.

1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, and butter. Using a fork, stir until fully combined with clumps ranging in size from crumbs to 1 inch.

Now for the pictures:

Ingredients

Ingredients

Yeast #1

Yeast #1

Yeast after activating

Yeast after activating

batter before flour added

batter before flour added

mixing in flour mixture

mixing in flour mixture

all mixed up, switching to hook

all mixed up, switching to hook

mixed up. :-)

mixed up. 🙂

in bowl, getting ready to cover and set to rise.

in bowl, getting ready to cover and set to rise.

chocolate mixture ready to go

chocolate mixture ready to go

rolling out dough.  Please excuse the blur, Karol took the photo while my hands were moving...

rolling out dough. Please excuse the blur, Karol took the photo while my hands were moving…

all rolled out

all rolled out

putting chocolate on dough

putting chocolate on dough

rolling it all up.  again, sorry for the blur

rolling it all up. again, sorry for the blur

getting ready to twist it up.

getting ready to twist it up.

all twisted and ready to put streusal on and fold over in pan

all twisted and ready to put streusel on and fold over in pan

ready for the oven

ready for the oven

Done baking!

Done baking!

So Good!!!!

So Good!!!!

 

Notes:

** I did not use all of the chocolate in the recipe, it just seemed like too much!

** I made two large loaves and three mini loaves.

**  This bread was amazingly rich.  But AMAZINGLY yummy also!!!

 

Sweet Sunday: Flourless Chocolate Cookies (Gluten free)

I LOVE the chocolate meringue cookies I get at Starbucks.  They are chocolatey, chewy, and only 160 calories! I was trying to find a recipe to make these cookies and found one at Recipe Girl.  I adapted it some.  I used less sugar, and a different kind of chocolate chip, but otherwise they are so simple there are no changes to be made. They turned out delicious.  No more spending money on cookies at Starbucks for me!!  I can freeze these bad boys and take one out  to defrost whenever I need a fix.

So here is the recipe and pics:

FLOURLESS CHEWY CHOCOLATE COOKIES

makes 24 cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghiradelli cocoa)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 4 large egg whites, at room temperature (I ended up using 3)
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cups dark chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. If you use parchment paper, give it a light swoosh of nonstick spray.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together powdered sugar with cocoa powder and salt. Whisk in egg whites (start with two) and vanilla extract and stir until the batter is just moist. You want a thick brownie like batter. It will be shiny and very fudgy. If it seems too thick, add another egg white– then the fourth one if it still seems too thick. Gently stir in chocolate chips.

3. Spoon batter onto the prepared baking sheets in 12 evenly spaced mounds per cookie sheet. I used a spring-release cookie scoop.

4. Bake about 14 minutes, until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked. Slide the parchment paper (with the cookies) onto wire racks. Let cookies cool completely, and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

**You need to let the cookies completely cool before removing them from the parchment paper.

Chewy Flourless Chocolate cookies!

Chewy Flourless Chocolate cookies!

Pan with parchment paper and a bit of cooking spray

Pan with parchment paper and a bit of cooking spray

 

batter on cookie sheet going into the oven

batter on cookie sheet going into the oven

 

Chewy Flourless Chocolate cookies!

Chewy Flourless Chocolate cookies!