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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Saturday, April 08, 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.

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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