Thursday, April 28, 2011

Blue Ribbon Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

I don't have much to say about this recipe other than I have VERY high standards for carrot cake and this one is among the best I've tasted. I like my carrot cake dense, moist and smothered with cream cheese frosting. In my opinion, carrot cake tastes best served chilled. I made this cake a few weeks ago for Jory's birthday and enjoyed it with every single meal that birthday weekend, whoops. There's nothing better than a cold piece of carrot cake with a hot cup of coffee on a Saturday morning. YUM!

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten well
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained well
1/2 cup coconut flakes

Combine the flour, salt, baking soda and ground cinnamon and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, oil, buttermilk, sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture, pineapple, carrots, coconut flakes and walnuts.

Pout into two greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. I grease each pan then put parchment paper rounds in the bottom of each. Pour half of the batter into each pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes cleanly out of the center of the cake. Carefully remove the parchment paper from the bottoms of each cake layer, let cool and top with cream cheese icing.

Cream Cheese Icing
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
3 tablespoons butter at room temperature
2 tablespoons of milk (if needed)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients together, adjusting ingredient amounts until desired consistency is achieved.

This recipe is originally titled Julie Treacy's Blue Ribbon Carrot Cake, passed along by my amazing friend and baker, Kelsey Bulat.

Cake Balls

This funky little dessert is taking the world by storm. You have probably seen or heard of these cute little guys, maybe even tried a few, but are you aware of how simple they are to make? The best part about these spherical pieces of heaven is that they taste exactly like cake batter. The only thing better than dessert is raw dessert, including cookie dough, cake batter and my all time favorite, brownie batter. For those of you that love the amazingness that is raw baked goods but can't stomach the raw eggs, this is your chance to enjoy that flavor without hesitation! Next time you need a fun and simple dessert, pick up just three ingredients and give these a try. Enjoy!

1 (18.25 ounce) package cake mix
1 (16 ounce) container prepared cake frosting
6 ounces of flavored confectioners coating disks or bar (almond bark)
Food coloring (optional)

Prepare the cake mix according to the directions on the box. When cake is finished baking, allow to cool for 30 minutes. Crumble the cake into a large bowl using a stand mixer or hand mixer. Add the frosting and mix until well combined. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight. I recommend overnight as the colder the mixture is, the easier it is to handle.

Line a baking tray with wax paper. Use a melon baller as a scooper to form balls with the cake mixture. Place on wax paper. Once you have used all of the cake mixture, place the baking tray in the freezer for at least one hour. Melt the almond bark in a glass bowl of the microwave, stirring every 5-10 seconds until smooth. At this point you can add a bit of food coloring if you are using white chocolate and want to add some color.

Remove the balls from the freezer and roll them tightly with your hands to make them perfectly round. 

Roll the balls in the melted almond bark and lay on the wax paper to harden. Store in the freezer until ready to serve, they won't freeze but taste best when nice and cold.

I made this batch with vanilla cake mix, vanilla cream cheese frosting and vanilla almond bark coating, however the possibilities are endless! Next on my list is caramel cake balls with a salty dark chocolate coating.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Blueberry Coffee Cake

No big breakfast is complete without a little something sweet to finish. It couldn't get any easier than this simple coffee cake, so give it a try and make your guests think you worked way harder than you really did. I won't tell if you don't.

1 1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat your oven to 375F.

Mix together the first five ingredients with an electric mixer. In a separate bowl, mix together the salt, flour and baking powder. Slowly dump the flour mixture into your electric mixer on low speed until incorporated.

Rinse your blueberries with water and toss with a sprinkle of flour. This will keep your blueberries from sinking to the bottom of your pan in the oven. By hand, fold the blueberries into the batter.

Spoon the thick batter into a 16-cup bundt pan (or casserole dish) and pop in the oven for 45-55 minutes until browned and no longer doughy.

Let cool for about a half hour, flip upside down on a cake stand and adorn with your favorite glaze or topping. We served this with our strawberry butter, but no spread is necessary with this tasty treat.

This recipe comes from my amazing friend and baker, Kelsey Bulat.