Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

orange carrots on table
Carrots – the star of the show

Summer brings us wonderful fresh produce here in Ontario.  Roasting or cooking up a bunch of sweet carrots is a wonderful addition with any meal but baking them into a classic dessert is an even better use of this veg.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
Carrot Cake

Today’s recipe for a moist sweet carrot cake with coconut and walnuts topped with a light Cream Cheese Icing will be a pleasant treat after any meal and an impressive dessert to take along to your next bbq!

This recipe is a perfect size as it bakes up in a 3-inch high 8-inch round cake pan in about 40-45 minutes.  You could also use 2 x 8-inch pans or use the larger height pan like I did and split the cake for an extra layer of icing.   Remember, if using 2 pans your baking time will be reduced.

Miette baking book is where I found this simple recipe and basically the only change I made was using the flat beater for all steps; Miette uses the whisk attachment for the first step of mixing the eggs, sugar and oil. Miette’s recipe also calls for using currents, walnuts and coconut but I opted for only walnuts and coconut as my add-ins.

I normally don’t add coconut to my baked items but in this cake with the carrots and walnuts it added another layer of flavour that blended together deliciously.  You could leave out the cocont and add in some dried currents or some raisins.  I toasted an additional 1/4 cup of coconut to sprinkle on top of the iced cake.

If possible pick up some fresh carrots at the farmers market as they truly are sweet and crunchy this time of the year and will make this cakes wonderful flavour just that much brighter.

Carrot Cake

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease cake pans and line bottom with parchment paper.

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup shredded carrot

1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts

1/2 cup shredded coconut

Method:

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs and sugar, and beat on medium speed about 2 minutes until well combined and light in colour.  Slow the mixer down, drizzle in the oil and then beat on high speed to emulsify the oi.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture in 3 additions mixing on medium after each until smooth.

Add in the carrots, walnuts and coconut and beat just until combined.  Remove from mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of mixing bowl to ensure everything is folded together well.

Scrape into prepared pans and bake on centre rack of oven until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.  Cool completely and ice with Cream Cheese Icing (recipe follows).

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese IcingCream Cheese Icing

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

3/4 cup cream cheese, room temperature

4 cups icing sugar

1-3 tsp. milk or cream

Beat butter and cream cheese together for several miutes until very well blended and smooth.  Add in icing sugar 1 cup at a time and beat on low to combine until spreadable consistency.  You many need a bit more or less icing sugar and if it’s too stiff beat in a teaspoon or two of milk.

Spread between layers and on top of cake.  Garnish with toasted walnuts or coconut.

Refrigerate uneaten portion and bring to room temperature before serving.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle

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Cookie Brittle – Sweetenuf.ca

Today’s recipe share is from Shauna Sever’s wonderful book ‘Real Sweet’.  This simple recipe uses turbinado sugar to give the brittle some brown sugar flavour but keeps the cookie nice and crisp.  If you swapped in granulated sugar you defeat the purpose of the ‘brittle’ as the cookie wouldn’t have the same texture.

The recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate chips but I used a combo of bittersweet and semi-sweet in my batch and I liked the extra hit of sweet…but I’m sure no one is surprised by my sweeter preference.

I definitely should have taken a few more minutes and pressed by dough a little thinner per Shauna’s instructions but patience is sometimes not my virtue!  Flattening the dough to cover the pan is probably the most difficult part of this simple but addictive recipe.

I will be baking up more recipes from this book which features all types of sweeteners, such as honey, maple syrup, frozen unsweetened apple juice, etc.  so don’t forget to subscribe to sweetenuf.ca or follow on Instagram (sweet_enuf) to see what’s baking up!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle

Preheat oven to 350F.  Parchment line a 12 x 17-inch baking sheet.

Ingredients:

14 tablespoons (7 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons

1 cup turbinado sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon fine salt

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts

3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate

Method:

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and sugar together until melted BUT NOT boiling.  Remove from stove and whisk together until the butter is completely melted.  Cool for 5 minutes.  Whisk again continuously for 1 minute, or until mixture is thickened and smooth and no longer appears separated.  Whisk in the vanilla and salt. Stir in the flour until well incorporated (no white streaks of flour remain and no flour on bottom or sides of saucepan).  Stir in 1/2 of the nuts.

Turn dough out onto prepared pan and pat it very thin.  (It helps to break the dough up into mounds and place all over sheet pan and then work to pat it all together.)  Just keep working to spread dough over all of cookie sheet.  When complete lightly smooth with an offset spatula to even it all out.

Sprinkle with the chocolate chips and the remaining nuts and press then lightly into the dough with your hands.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden brown and slightly firm to the touch.  Rotate pans every 7-8 minutes for even baking.  Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes then using another parcment lined sheet FLIP the brittle onto it and remove the parchment.  Carefully invert again onto a cooling rack to firm up.

Cool completely and break into pieces.  Store in an airtight container.  This will keep for about 5 days but I don’t think it will hang around for that long!

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Cookie Brittle Sweetenuf.ca

Caramel Frosting


 

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Caramel Frosting topped with Caramel Drizzle – Sweetenufblog.com

First comes Caramel sauce, next comes Caramel Frosting (or icing as we call it here in Canada). Well, actually, first comes the sugar and water boiled to a beautiful amber colour and then comes the cream, etc. but believe me you will not be disappointed in this sweet smooth icing and the extra effort to make the caramel from scratch is well worth the time.

Satiny, sweet and full of mellow flavour this sauce is Nirvana!!  Set a little aside  to drizzle over top whatever you currently have in the works or tuck it away for your next ice cream attack.  A big spoonful when your craving something sweet or maybe a little drizzle into your coffee or on top of some fruit.  I figure whatever you choose to snack on with Caramel Sauce or even Caramel Icing in the privacy of your own kitchen is your business.  Who am I to judge!! You might just make the Caramel sauce again and again even if you don’t need any more icing.

Caramel Frosting (Bake From Scratch Cake Issue 2016)

Makes about 5 cups.

Ingredients:

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1 cup whipping cream (35% cream), warmed slightly

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

6 cups icing sugar

Method:

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and 1/2 cup water.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves.  Stop stirring and leave the mixture to cook until it is amber in colour.  (Very important to make sure your sugar mixture turns a nice deep amber colour.)  If any sugar crystals form on the side of the saucepan use a pastry brush dipped in water to brush down the sides.  Remove from heat.

Add in the cold cubed butter and stir with a wooden spoon.  The mixture will foam up.  Gradually add the cream, vanilla and salt.  Stir until mixture is smooth.

Transfer mixture into a medium bowl and place the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water to cool for about 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Once cool set aside 1/3 cup of the caramel to drizzle on top of your iced cake or cupcakes.

Caramel Icing Sweetenufblog

Place cooled caramel in a mixing bowl and add softened butter.  Beat on medium speed until combined.  Add in icing sugar gradually, beating well after each addition.

Use immediately as icing will harden.

 

Sweet and Salty Cookies

Sweet and Salty Cookies

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Sweet and Salty Cookies

Besides being deliciously sweet and a little salty these cookies are a great way to use up some of those ‘little bits’ of the sweet and salty items hanging around your kitchen.

My quick to be devoured cookies contained a Wunderbar, some sea salt Caramel baking bits, salted peanuts and a few dark chocolate chips.  These are great with pretzels or crushed potato chips for the salty portion or even Bugles…you remember those incredibly addictive delicious snack items.  For the the sweet….well, the options are endless…smarties, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, chopped chocolate or a combination of all of these.

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Add-ins for Sweet and Salty Cookies

Each time you make these you can create your own unique combination of sweetenuf yumminess.  Don’t hesitate, start looking for all those bits taking up valuable space in your cupboards.

Sweet and Salty Cookies

Preheat oven to 350F and parchment line 2 cookie sheets.

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup sweet (chopped chocolate, butterscotch pieces, M&M’s, etc.)

1 cup salty (crushed potato chips, pretzels, Bugles, peanuts, etc.)

Method:

In a large bowl, beat together butter with the sugars until light and fluffy.  (As always, remember to scrape down sides and bottom of bowl throughout.)  Beat in 1 egg at a time and beat in vanilla.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

Stir dry ingredients into creamed mixture until combined.  Fold in your sweet and salty pieces.

Use a scoop, approximately 2 tablespoon size, and leave a couple of inches between each cookies.  Bake for about 12 minutes, rotating pans half way through baking time to ensure even baking.

Let cool and enjoy.

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Sweetenuf – Sweet and Salty Cookies