Wednesday, December 29, 2010

best carrot cake I've ever had

I got this recipe from a friend (after she made it and I had some!!!) and Pete and I made it for the Jacks' side Christmas gathering.


For cake:

• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

• 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan

• 2 teaspoons baking soda

• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 4 large eggs

• 2 cups sugar

• 3/4 cup vegetable oil

• 3/4 cup buttermilk

• 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 1/3 cup fresh pineapple, crushed (I used canned!!!)

• 2 cups carrots, peeled and coarsely grated

• 1 1/3 cups loosely packed shredded, sweetened coconut

• 2 cups finely chopped walnuts

For buttermilk glaze:

• 1 cup sugar

• 1/2 cup buttermilk

• 1/2 cup unsalted butter

• 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

• 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For frosting:

• 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature

• 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

• 3 cups confectioners’ sugar

• 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh orange juice

• 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest

• 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Recipe continues below ↓



For cake:
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Generously butter two 9-inch round cake pans, each about 1 1/2 inches deep. Dust each cake pan with about 1 tablespoon of flour and tap out the excess.

In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. Add the sugar, oil, buttermilk and vanilla and thoroughly incorporate.

Add the pineapple, carrots, coconut and 1 cup of the walnuts and mix well, then add the flour and fold into the batter with a rubber spatula.

Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake on the center rack of the oven for about 40 minutes, or until the sides of the cakes pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

For buttermilk glaze:
While the cake is baking, mix together the sugar, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup and baking soda until well blended in a small saucepan.

Set the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring, until heated through and the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Set aside and cover to keep warm.

Remove the cakes from the oven and put them, still in the pans, on wire racks sitting on baking sheets. Using a toothpick, poke about 20 holes in the top crust of each cake layer.

Do not poke holes deeper than halfway through the cakes.

Whisk the glaze and pour it evenly over the cake layers.

Let the cakes cool completely and then cover them, still in the pans, with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours, or until completely chilled.

For frosting:
In the bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and set on medium speed or with a handheld mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and cream cheese for about 2 minutes or until fluffy.

Add the confectioners’ sugar, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla. Mix slowly so that the sugar doesn’t fly out of the bowl. Gradually increase the speed and beat for about 1 minute or until the frosting is smooth.

For assembly:
Remove the cake layers from the refrigerator and invert them on a work surface. You might need to run a kitchen knife around the edges to loosen the layers. Put 1 layer on a platter, glazed-side down.

Put about 1 1/2 cups (a third) of the frosting on the center of the cake layer and spread it evenly over the cake. There should be a layer of frosting about 1/2-inch thick.

If the frosting is soft, return the cake to the refrigerator to stiffen it up. Put the other layer on top of the cake, glazed-side down, and frost the top of the cake with about 1 1/2 cups (a third) of the frosting. With the remainder of the frosting, cover the sides of the cakes with a thin layer. With the tip of the spatula, press lightly into the top layer of frosting and pull it up to form little spikes. Repeat over the entire top of the cake.

Lightly sprinkle top of the cake with about 3 tablespoons of chopped walnuts. Press the remaining walnuts onto the sides of the cake. Serve at room temperature.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

flourless cake

I made two of these cakes for a Christmas event. I only used about half of the poppy seeds called for because I just didn't buy enough. I did not use glaze on it as I thought it was sweet enough by itself, though it was not very sweet. I also baked them in a 9" round cake pan as that is what I own.

I give this gluten-free recipe a 2 thumbs up!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

the sweater dress

There were a couple of online tutorials that helped me along with this idea... and I am not sure where those links are right now. here is my finished product!

This is made from a woman's sweater. It is the original neckline hem but I sewed it so the neckline was smaller. I wanted to get the bottom of the sweater in the dress (the closer together stripes) so I had to cut the sweater to get the right length for Averi. That left me with an unsightly seam so I thought the belt was a must. I was trying to sew on a belt made of some thicker cotton jean-ish material but had a very rough time sewing that with the ribbing of the sweater. Thankfully months ago I had picked up some random elastic at SAS and happened upon this thick blue elastic that I thought worked just fine for the belt!