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.

Black Bottom Coconut Bars

Black Bottom Coconut Bars

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These bars are somewhat crumbly when you cut them up but since they are so delicious and full of flavours including chocolate, walnut, coconut and butterscotch overlooking a few extra crumbs is easy.

Put these on your holiday baking list to share with co-workers or take along to an upcoming get together.  Hard to believe it’s holiday baking time…but seems Christmas isn’t too far away.  Time to start making your holiday baking list!

Black Bottom Coconut Bars

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment or foil coated with cooking spray.

Crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

Combine flour and sugar together in a medium bowl.  Add in the butter and chocolate and mix together until blended.  Press into bottom of the 9-inch pan.  Bake for 15 minutes until set.

Filling:

2 eggs

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/3 cups flake or shredded coconut

1 cup butterscotch chips

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs until thick and light in colour.  Beat in the sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in vanilla.

Mix flour and baking powder together and fold into the egg mixture.  Stir in coconut butterscotch chips and walnuts.

Spread over the baked crust and return to oven to bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned.

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Cool, cut and enjoy.

 

 

Perfect Pumpkin Biscotti

Perfect Pumpkin Biscotti

pumpkinIf you’ve been following along for a while you know I’ve been testing pumpkin biscotti recipes.  They abound!

My issue with most of them is with the addition of pumpkin puree the cookies become too cakey and loose the ‘crispness’ of a true biscotti.  Pumpkin adds so much moisture and really not a whole lot of flavour, in my opinion anyway.

I decided to experiment using pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and no puree with my basic biscotti recipe.  I was ecstatic with the results. Crisp, light and delicious these are a great addition to your Fall baking lineup or to add to your ‘bake for Christmas’ list.

Play around with the amounts of pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon to suit your tastes.

No Pumpkin Pie Spice, you can quickly and easily mix up your own.  Combine 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ginger and 1/4 teaspoon cloves.  You can easily double or triple this to have on hand for your next few batches of biscotti.

Important…if your spices have been open and collecting dust in your cupboard for 6 months or more you most likely need to toss them out and replace!  Spices lose their potency after being opened and for the most flavourful end product make sure yours are fresh.

perfect-pumpkin-biscotti

Pumpkin Spice Biscotti

Preheat oven to 325F.  Parchment line a large cookie sheet or 2 small cookie sheets.

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2-1 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup chopped walnuts

Method:

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon.

In a large bowl beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in eggs one at a time beating after each until incorporated and beat in vanilla.

Stir in flour in 3 additions on low or by hand until mixed in.  Add in nuts and mix well.  You may find using your hands to combine the nuts into the batter works well.

Divide batter into 2 equal portions and shape each into a 2-inch by 3/4-inch log.  Place on baking sheets.  If using one sheet space about 3-inches apart to allow for spreading.

Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes until golden brown around edges (top will still look fairly light in colour).  Remove from oven and let cool 15-20 minutes until cool and easy to handle.

TURN OVEN DOWN TO 275F WHILE BISCOTTI COOLS.

perfect-pumpkin-biscotti-bakingUse a serrated or bread knife and cut into 1/2-inch slices.  Lay slices on cookie sheets and bake for approximately 8 minutes and then turn and lay on other side and bake for another 8 minutes until firm and golden brown.

If you prefer a softer biscotti bake for a few minutes less on each side.  These delicious pumpkin spice biscotti taste delicious and freeze great.  They will keep in an airtight container for a couple of weeks!