Saturday, April 15, 2017

My Mom's Carrot Cake

























I remember my Mother's carrot cake well. She would add pineapple and coconut and it would come out so moist and delicious. I decided to make it this past weekend but instead of storing a whole sheet cake, I made little individual cakes to store in my freezer. This is a keeper my friends. One of the best carrot cakes you've ever tasted.

My Mom's Carrot Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (3 1/2-ounce) can flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9 by-13-inch pan and line the pan with a wide piece of parchment paper cut so that it tucks neatly along 2 opposite sides and hangs over edges by about 1 inch on the other opposite sides to create flaps to use as handles for lifting the cake. Butter and flour the paper. Set pan aside.

Stir together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Next beat the eggs with the sugar, oil, buttermilk and vanilla at medium speed until smooth. Then add the flour mixture a little at a time while mixing at low speed. Fold in carrots, pineapple and coconut and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Place cake pan on cooling rack for 15 minutes. Then using the parchment paper flaps, remove cake from pan and place on cooling rack until completely cool. 




























Cream Cheese Frosting

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. Spread Frosting on top and sides of cake. And then with the palm of your hand, press nuts into sides of cake.

For my cake I cut my cooled caked into rectangles. Then I frosted each piece on the top and sides and pressed chopped walnuts onto the sides. I then piped the cream cheese frosting on top in a pretty design. After each piece was frosted, I reserved some frosting in two separate bowls.

In bowl one, I reserved enough frosting and added orange food coloring to make my Carrot garnish for each piece of cake. And in bowl number two I reserved just enough to make my stems and added green food coloring. I then used a pastry bag to pipe my carrot on top of each piece and added a little green for the stem. Then I stored the finished cakes in the refrigerator until ready to serve and sat them out at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

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Traditional Easter Bread







I can remember my Mom making her traditional Easter bread each year when I was growing up.  She would serve it on a long platter surrounded by the brightly colored Easter eggs we dyed the night before.  It was so pretty and such a favorite at our house.  Sweet bread filled with plump raisins warm right out of the oven.  The next morning she was toast it and butter it and sprinkle cinnamon on top! YUM!

Traditional Easter Bread

3/4 cup warm milk (110 degrees)
4 teaspoons of active dry yeast
4 teaspoon sugar
1 large lightly beaten egg
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
9 cups all purpose flour                                     
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract                                
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup golden raisins

Mix together the yeast, 4 teaspoons of sugar, 1 egg, and the warm milk. Set aside in a warm place for about 25 minutes until it starts to bubble .

In a small sauce pan, heat up 1 cup of milk and a 1 cup of sugar, until the milk is warm and the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside. In another small bowl, combine the melted butter and oil. Using a fork, lightly beat the five eggs and add vanilla and set aside. 































Next, in a large bowl, add the warm milk mixture, the butter and oil mixture, eggs, raisins, salt, and grated lemon zest and juice of a lemon and mix until well combined. Then start adding the flour a little at a time until the dough is smooth and sticky. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and rub the oil all over the dough so that it doesn't dry out. Place it in a warm place to rise.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning to coat, and cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Place in a draft-free area and allow to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Once the dough is ready, turn it out onto a clean surface and divide in half. Then divide those two in half and once again so that you have 4 pieces Next roll the 4 pieces of dough into 12-18 inch long ropes and place on pan lined with parchment paper. Now you can braid these braids however you want. 



























Brush the top of the braid with melted butter, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until nearly doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Finally brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with colorful Easter candies and bake until golden brown on top, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Lemon Pearl Cupcakes

























I love lemon desserts!  When I think spring or summer, I immediately think lemon.  When I want to take a dessert to a party or summer barbecue, I think lemon cupcakes.  There's just something about that hint of lemon that says delicious!


Lemon Pearl Cupcakes

4 eggs, separated
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease your muffin tins and line each cup with a greased paper liner.
Beat the egg whites to soft peaks with your mixer. Carefully remove to another bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. With an electric mixer, beat the softened butter until light and fluffy. Pour in the sugar and continue mixing until it is well-combined and fluffy. Then add the egg yolks, one at a time. Next, add in the vanilla, and then the juice and zest.




















With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and milk alternately until the flour mixture and milk are just combined. When the flour is fully mixed, gently fold in the egg whites with a spoon or spatula.
Carefully spoon the batter into the muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Set the cupcakes aside to cool for about 10 minutes. Then remove from tins and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting
12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) butter, softened at room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Small pearl white sprinkles
Using a mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar and beat until the mixture is light, fluffy and airy. Add in the vanilla, lemon juice and zest.
When the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost and garnish with 1/2 teaspoon of small white pearl sprinkles.







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Blueberry Peach Pound Cake


























I love this recipe for my Mom's pound cake and she loved it too. I've made this with fresh or frozen peaches.  And I always add that little hint of another berry to add to the color and the flavor. You can make it with strawberries, raspberries and even blueberries to go along with the peaches and all of them were delicious. Just remember if you decide to use frozen fruit, don't allow it to thaw first. Just chop it up and add it to your batter frozen. I made this for you this past weekend....hope you like it! 

Blueberry Peach Pound Cake

2 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 ½ sticks butter, diced, at room temperature
1 cup peaches, chopped
1 cup blueberries, washed and chopped fine. If using frozen, do not thaw first.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Then line with parchment paper leaving excess paper over each side to be able to use as handles for lifting cake out later.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together. With a mixer, blend the eggs, butter and sugar and then mix in the dry ingredients until just blended. Then fold the diced peaches and chopped berries into the batter and pour into pan. Bake for 1-1¼ hours, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Transfer to a cake rack to cool and then lift cake with parchment paper handles and allow to cool completely before adding icing or drizzle.


























Vanilla Drizzle                                

4 tablespoons butter
2 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Melt butter in a saucepan or microwave. Sift 2 cups of powdered sugar into a medium size bowl. Add the melted butter to the powdered sugar. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and beat until smooth and creamy with a hand mixer. Add a little more cream if you need to. Stir in vanilla and then drizzle over cooled cake.  




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