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Tag Archives: recipe

Fresh Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

10 May

For Mother’s Day weekend, I knew immediately what I’d want to bake up.  A great strawberry cake.  Mommies and berries and pink.  They were all three meant to be.  My lovely Mom is almost clear across the country, but I dedicate this pretty pink cake to her.

Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I love that this cake is made with back-to-basics ingredients.  No artificial coloring and no boxes of Jello or pudding.  Just lots of strawberries.  I ended up changing much of the original recipe instructions.  For reasons still a mystery, the first bake attempt didn’t work.  The second time, it turned out beautifully.  The cake is light, fluffy, and tender.   It naturally won’t bake up as pink as artificially-colored cakes, but you’re welcome to add a drop or two of red food coloring if you really, really want to 🙂

Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting 2

This strawberry-cream cheese frosting is really what steals the show.  I’m not a huge buttercream frosting girl (gasp!), but I do adore cream cheese frostings.  Cream cheese takes treats over-the-top.  Have you met the cheesecake ?  This rich frosting has the decadent flavor of strawberry cheesecake, with a smooth and creamy texture that’s perfectly spreadable.

Strawberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting 3

Frosting that’s a treat in itself.  Spoon-licking worthy.  Finger-licking yum.  You get the idea.  I am already brainstorming ways to incorporate this dreamy frosting into future desserts.

How would you use this frosting?

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FRESH STRAWBERRY CAKE (about 8 servings)
*Fresh strawberries need to macerate overnight

For the Cake:

16 oz very, very ripe, red fresh strawberries (with not much white on them.  If a lot of white needs to be cut off, you’ll need more strawberries.  The riper the better.)
3 tsp sugar
12 Tb unsalted butter, room temp (lightly indents when tapped, not melty at all)
1 3/4 cup white sugar
4 large eggs, whites and yolks separated – room temp
1/4 cup whole milk, room temp
1 TB vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted after measuring
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

For the Frosting:

4 TB strawberry puree (use leftover puree from cake)
8 TB regular butter, firm
8 oz cream cheese, slightly cold
16 oz (1 lb) confectioner’s sugar

DIRECTIONS

For the Cake:

Hull and slice fresh strawbrries.  Toss with 3 tsp sugar and cover.  Let sit in fridge overnight, until they become macerated and juicy.  Blend strawberries with short pulses, just until pureed.  Do not over blend.

Preheat oven to 350F with rack on lower middle.  Line bottom of two 8 or 9 inch round pans with parchment paper.  Grease and flour the paper and sides of pans.

Beat butter and sugar in stand mixer with paddle attachment on medium high, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add milk, yolks, vanilla, and 3/4 cup of strawberry puree (save remaining puree for frosting, filling, or other use.)  Blend just until combined.

In separate bowl, whisk together:  sifted cake flour, baking powder, and salt.  Fold in the butter mixture with rubber spatula, just until wet/dry ingredients are fully incorporated.  Do not over mix.

In a clean bowl, using electric mixer, beat egg whites just until still peaks form.  Gently fold egg whites into the cake batter with rubber spatula, softly folding until combined.

Divide batter evenly among the two pans.  Give the pans a gentle shake to level out the tops.  Bake 20-25 minutes just until toothpick inserted in center has a few tender crumbs attached.  Watch carefully so it does not over bake and become dry.  Let cakes rest at room temp for 10 minutes and turn out onto wire racks.  Let cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting:

In stand mixer using paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed until it is light, pale yellow, and fluffy.  Add cream cheese and beat until combined.  Reduce speed to low and add confectioner’s sugar and beat until combined.  Add the strawberry puree and mix just until combined.  Place frosting in fridge about an hour before use.  Frosted dessert should be kept in fridge until ready to serve.  This frosting is best suited for spreading rather than piping, as it is smooth and creamy soft.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, inspired by foodiebride (cake only)

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Russian Tea Cakes (Mexican Wedding Cookies)

2 May

It’s about time I posted these Russian Tea Cakes.  These cookies are fabulously popular during the winter holidays, and though Christmas was five months ago, these cookies know no boundaries in time.  Russian Tea Cakes are otherwise known as Mexican Wedding Cakes and Snowballs.  My personal favorite moniker for these cuties are Southern Pecan Butterballs.  Ultimately, they are simply one thing:  melt-in-your-mouth-amazing.

Russian Tea Cakes 4

The simplicity of Russian Tea Cakes is quite deceiving.  Like, don’t-judge-a-book-by-its-cover deceiving.  They are far more than meets the eye.  These cookies are perfect morsels of nutty sweetness.  They are tenderly crisp and melt into a buttery bliss bite after bite.  After bite.

Russian Tea Cakes 2

Russian Tea Cakes are made with just six ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.  I love the flavor that pecans impart, so I stick with pecans for my nuttiness 🙂  Grinding the pecans allows the texture of the cookies to remain light and airy, and the flavors to infuse seamlessly.

Russian Tea Cakes 3

I think these are Hubby’s new favorite cookie.  The kids inhale them, of course, because what kid doesn’t love plenty of magical powder sugar?  I personally had to share them with friends so I wouldn’t pop all of them into my mouth in one afternoon.

These cookies are known to keep superbly well for many days (even weeks!) in an airtight container.  But seriously, let’s be real – nobody can keep them around that long.  Sounds good in theory.   Enjoy!

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RECIPE for Russian Tea Cakes (40-50 cookies)

INGREDIENTS

1 cup salted butter, room temp
2 cups powdered sugar
1 TB vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup pecans, toasted, cooled, and finely ground (not to the point of it becoming a paste)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cinnamon, depending on taste

DIRECTIONS

Beat butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 5-8 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until well blended.  Add flour and nuts, beating until incorporated.  Remove dough and divide roughly in half.  Wrap each half in plastic and chill in fridge for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350F, rack on lower middle position.  Whisk together remaining 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and cinnamon in a pie dish.

Take out first half of chilled dough.  Make 1-inch cookie balls and arrange balls on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, 1 inch apart.  Bake cookies just until bottoms are light golden brown, 16-17 minutes.  Cool for 5-10 minutes on sheet.  Carefully toss warm cookies in the cinnamon sugar mix, coating completely.  Place cookies on wire rack to finish cooling.  Once fully cooled, re-coat each cookie in cinnamon sugar mix and serve.  Repeat with other half of dough.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Easy Enchilada Casserole

30 Apr

It’s almost Cinco de Mayo.  Time for something festive, delicious, and easy.  Like a  Mexican Pasta Bake.  Or, serve up this foolproof Enchilada Casserole.  No need to roll tortillas one at a time; just layer up the good stuff.

Enchilada Casserole 4

This Enchilada Casserole has been in my potluck repertoire for years.  It’s a sure-fire hit at parties.  When I made it for the fam recently, my finicky 6-year-old eater swiftly polished his plate off and reached for seconds.  To my happy astonishment, all my kiddos proclaimed themselves enchilada fans.  Who knew?

Enchilada Casserole

This Enchilada Casserole is hearty, hefty, and heavenly.  Dee-lish.  And unbelievably easy.   It’s piled high with melty cheese, savory meat sauce, and chunky salsa.  Soft corn torillas are layered within.  How can this not be good?

Enchilada Casserole 2

Ooh, let’s not forget the best part.  The sauce can be made the day before, and you can quickly assemble it when ready to bake.  I simply adore all food that can be done ahead of time.  In fact, this sauce tastes better as it sits overnight.  Bonus!

Enchilada Casserole 3

Enjoy, and happy Cinco de Mayo!

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RECIPE for Enchilada Casserole (one 13×9)

INGREDIENTS

Light olive oil
1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 chopped brown onion
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups of chunky salsa (thicker the better)
1 can (1-lb size) refried beans
1 1/2 cups good enchilada sauce
1 cup sliced olives
18 (6 inch) corn tortillas, sliced in half
4 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese
sliced green onions for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Make the Sauce:  In large heavy skillet, saute onion and garlic with olive oil for one minute.  Add ground meat and cook until browned.  Drain if needed.  Stir in salsa, refried beans, enchilada sauce, and olives.  Bring to a boil, and immediately reduce to simmer.  Cook and stir for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

To assemble:  Layer half of the corn tortillas on bottom of a greased 13×9 baking dish.  Cover with half of the meat sauce.  Sprinkle on half of the cheese.  Repeat layers.  Cover tightly with foil, and bake 20 minutes at 375F.  Remove cover and bake another 5 minutes until cheese is nicely melted.  Garnish with green onions and serve immediately.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, inspired by Ortega

Luscious Key Lime Bars

22 Apr

Spring envy is sooo rampant around here as everyone awaits completion of our final (please, let it be the last one) dump of snow.  In case you didn’t see the post date, it’s April 22.  Our ridiculously late spring is supposed to make an entrance this weekend, and the entire state will suddenly bust out walking, biking, playing, and dancing.  Or just standing.  Outdoors.

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I recently posted one of my favorite spring treats here.  It’s time to break out my other favorite spring treat.  Key lime bars.  Luscious, because they are unbelievably and unforgettably amazing.

Luscious Lime Bars 6

Limes tempt your senses with their freshness and springy-ness.  You already know of their cocktail virtues, but did you know the Lime stars in its own to-die-for dessert?

Luscious Lime Bars Cooks Illustrated

I was truly surprised at how fabulous these Lime Bars are.  The batch I brought to a gathering left me nothing but crumbs to bring home.  My kiddos and hubby inhaled every small bit they could get their hands on.

Luscious Lime Bars 5

These Lime Bars are sweet and lightly tangy, rich and creamy, light and smooth… all at the same time.  That decadent filling sits on top of a crisp textured, perfectly sweetened crust.

You will l-o-v-e this.  Enjoy!

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RECIPE: KEY LIME BARS (one 13×9 pan)

INGREDIENTS

For the Filling:
4 oz cream cheese, room temp
2 TB grated lime zest
1 cup fresh lime juice, from 6-8 limes
1/8 tsp salt
2 (14 oz each) cans sweetened condensed milk
2 large egg yolks
powdered sugar, for dusting

For the Crust:
10 oz animal crackers (i.e., Stauffer’s Original)
6 TB packed brown sugar
8 TB salted butter, melted and slightly cooled

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325F, with rack on middle position.  Press a long sheet of heavy-duty foil into the corners and up sides of 13×9 pan, with enough foil hanging over edges of pan, for super easy removal later.  Grease foil.

Pulse animal crackers in food processor until evenly fine.  Add brown sugar and salt and process to combine.  Drizzle butter over crumbs and pulse until crumbs are moistened with butter evenly.  Press crumbs firmly and evenly into bottom of prepared pan.  Bake until golden brown, 18-20 minutes.  Cool while making the filling.  Leave oven on.

In medium bowl, stir cream cheese, zest, and salt with a rubber spatula until soft and creamy and fully incorporated.  Add sweetened condensed milk and whisk vigorously until combined and no lumps of cream cheese remain.  Whisk in egg yolk.  Add lime juice and gently whisk until fully combined.  Mixture will thicken slightly.

Pour filing into crust.  Spread to corners and smooth the surface.  Bake until set and edges begin to pull slightly away from sides, 23-25 minutes.  Center will still be a bit jiggly.  Cool on wire rack to room temp.  Cover with foil and refrigerate until fully chilled.  Remove bars from pan using foil.  Cut into squares and sprinkle with powdered sugar right before serving.  Keeps for days in fridge.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from Cooks Illustrated cookbook

Creamy Avocado Pasta

17 Apr

One hallmark of the house I grew up in was a colossal avocado tree in the backyard.  From my vantage point, it was a monumental tree amongst several other smaller fruit trees.  Much to my parents’ chagrin, we kids wouldn’t touch the avocados that grew profusely.  Mom always ended up giving away loads of fine fruit.

Creamy Avocado Pasta 1

Fast forward to present day.  Hello, Self. What was I thinking?!  Avocados cost like 1.50 each.  Hind sight is always 20/20.

Creamy Avocado Pasta 3

When my parents moved to their current house, a new avocado tree took root in their new backyard.  A petite version of their massive old one.  This new avocado tree may not be the tallest in the bunch, but it sure yields a copious crop.  When people visit my folks, they go home with more fruit than they know what to do with.  Older and wiser now, I made sure to bring home my share of large avocados.  Still firm enough to safely cram into my suitcase for the cross-country flight home.  Did I mention they would normally cost 1.50 each?

Creamy Avocado Pasta 2

What my avocado-loving middle child didn’t immediate polish off, I was able to make into yummy dishes.  Case in point:  this phenomenal Creamy Avocado Pasta.  This pasta has all you’d want in a creamy-sauced pasta dish, minus the cream.  No cream.  Just pure avocado bliss.  It’s rich, smooth, and light all at the same time.  For extra nutrition and beautiful color, add plenty of fresh parsley (you can’t really taste it in the dish.)  To make it Superman healthy, we use whole grain pasta.

P.S.  If you keep the sauce separately in an air tight container, it will keep beautifully ’til tomorrow!  Enjoy it!

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RECIPE (8 servings)

INGREDIENTS

4 large ripe Hass avocado, peeled and pitted
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
8 garlic cloves, peeled
4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp paprika
1 cup flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
20-24 oz dried pasta
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly shaved Parmesan for topping

DIRECTIONS

Blend lemon juice, garlic cloves, salt, paprika, parsley, and olive oil together in a food processor until smooth.  Add avocado.  Continue processing until smooth and creamy.  Add black pepper to taste.  Set sauce aside in air tight container, with cling wrap resting directly on top of sauce to keep air out.

In a large heavy pot, bring well-salted water to boil.  Cook pasta just until al dente, according to package.

Drain pasta in strainer and sprinkle with olive oil to prevent sticking.  Plate the pasta and pour desired amount of sauce onto each plate.  Toss to combine and sprinkle with plenty of fresh parmesan.  Serve immediately.

Note:  If there will be leftover sauce, keep it in a separate air tight container (cling wrap resting on top of sauce.)  Keeps well in fridge for a day or two this way.  When ready to use, simply make hot pasta and pour on remaining sauce.  Don’t reheat the sauce – just toss it with hot pasta.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from ohsheglows

Parmesan ‘n Panko Crusted Pork Chops

11 Apr

Parmesan and Panko.  Both fabulous creations in their own right.  Put together, they equal  unparalleled deliciousness.  If you haven’t tried Panko, please try it soon.  It literally can put bread crumbs to shame.

Panko Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops 4

These Parmesan and Panko crusted pork chops are bursting with tender juiciness, well-seasoned flavor, and a crisp bite to the exterior.  What more could we ask for in a quick weeknight meal?  Yes, I did say quick and weeknight in the same sentence.  Because it’s that easy.

Panko Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops 2

Pork, famous for being the other white meat, really is surprisingly lean.  I had sworn it off many years ago when I was in my health-nut phase and thought all pork was fatty.  It eventually dawned on me that with the right cuts, it’s an extremely lean protein that makes the taste buds happy.  Pork chops became my friend again.

Panko Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops

These Parmesan and Panko crusted pork chops are super popular with kids and grown ups alike.  We don’t bother with sauces here, because there is simply enough robust flavor in this recipe as is.

Go ahead.  Have your pork and eat it too.  Enjoy! 🙂

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PARMESAN PANKO CRUSTED PORK CHOPS (serves 4)

INGREDIENTS

2 large eggs
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
3/4 cups freshly grated (grate it yourself) Parmesan cheese
4 large (10-12 ounces each) center cut pork loin chops, 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick
light olive oil
kosher salt and freshly grounded black pepper
optional lemon wedges for serving

DIRECTIONS

Lightly beat eggs in a pie plate.  In another pie plate, thoroughly combine Panko, oregano, basil, garlic powder, and onion powder.  In a third pie plate, place freshly grated cheese.

Sprinkle each pork chop lightly with kosher salt and pepper on both sides.  Coat the chops completely with fresh cheese, pressing down to adhere.  Dip pork chops into beaten eggs, and then completely coat with Panko mixture.  Pat to adhere on both sides.

Heat 4 TB oil in large heavy skillet (nonstick works well) over medium heat.  Add pork chops one or two at a time (do not overcrowd), cooking uncovered until golden brown and 150F at center – about 6 min per side.  Repeat with remaining chops.  Transfer to plates and serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Baked Teriyaki Chicken

9 Apr

One of our family’s favorite weeknight meals is a really good Teriyaki Chicken.  We lived near several yummy hole-in-wall Teriyaki joints in So. Cal, and it was as easy as a walk down the street to satisfy that craving.  Sadly, good Teriyaki is mysteriously hard to find in my current midwest ‘hood.  The one at the mall food court the closest thing we could find, and that’s… well… that’s all.

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Fortunately for all of us who love Teriyaki but aren’t in a position to call in an order down the street, great tasting Teriyaki is easy to dish up yourself!  In the warmer months, we like to grill up some chicken or beef for Teriyaki bliss, but in the colder months (Spring, are you coming to town?) we bake it up instead.  Baking makes it super easy as a one-dish meal, and it’s mouthwateringly delish.  It’s all about the sauce, whether you grill it or bake it.

Teriyaki Ckn 5

This is the one and only Teriyaki Sauce that I use and have used for years.  It’s super versatile, and can be used on a variety of proteins.  Even on a Hawaiian Burger!   It’s savory, it’s sweet, it’s thick, and oh-so-addictive.  This sauce opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

Teriyaki Baked Chicken

Be sure to have extra sauce on hand.  Everyone will want to drizzle it onto their plates.  Don’t forget the rice (we use brown rice) – you’ll want rice to go with that sauce.

Enjoy!

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BAKED TERIYAKI CHICKEN RECIPE (for 10 chicken thighs)

INGREDIENTS

2 TB corn starch dissolved in 2 TB water
1 cup Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce (each brand tastes different)
1 cup water
1/2 to 2/3 cup white sugar, depending on taste
1 tsp ginger powder
Juice from 3 wedges of a fresh orange (do not use store bought OJ)
10 chicken thighs, bone in, with skin
kosher salt
chopped scallions, optional

DIRECTIONS

Stir all ingredients except for chicken in a medium saucepan.  Cook on medium, stirring, until sauce bubbles and thickens.  Set aside to cool.

Thoroughly dry each raw chicken piece with paper towels.  Loosen skin from the meat so that marinade can get into the meat, but don’t remove the skin.  Using a fork, poke holes all over each piece of chicken.  Arrange chicken in a single layer in a baking dish and sprinkle top of each piece with a light layer of kosher salt.  Spoon just enough marinade to cover all pieces well, ensuring that tops and bottoms are covered with marinade.  Save 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the sauce for basting and drizzling.  Cover and let sit in fridge overnight or at least 4 hours.

Remove chicken from dish, and arrange evenly in a foil-lined baking sheet (rimmed.)  Bake at 350F for 1 hour, basting with some of the reserved sauce every 15 minutes (separate basting sauce from drizzling sauce.)

Serve chicken with rice, and drizzle with remaining sauce onto plates.  Garnish with chopped scallions if desired.

Source:  Chew Out Loud

Note:  The bake time listed is for bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs.  Adjust your bake time for boneless or other cuts of meat.  If you have leftover basting sauce that you want to use for drizzling, simply bring sauce to boil again, and enjoy!

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce

6 Apr

If  the “Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce” label wasn’t tempting enough, perhaps a little illustration will help…

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce 5

I’m not typically a sauce-and-sprinkles kind of gal; I’m more of a plain-jane when it comes to ice cream.  One of my favorite indulgences is purely a great vanilla bean ice cream.  I like it simple .   But it’s my sweet boy’s 9th birthday this weekend, and I wanted to make an extra special ice-cream cake in honor of his precious 9 years in our lives. (More to come on how that cake turned out.)  For now, we’ll focus on this decadent hot chocolate fudge sauce.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce

In search of the “best” hot fudge sauce, we padded around the kitchen and tinkered with variations of popular recipes, culminating in the gruesome task of taste-testing each chocolatey creation.  Many recipes for hot fudge sauce include corn syrup, but the hands-down favorite ended up being a recipe with no added corn syrup.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce 2

This super chocolatey hot fudge sauce is well balanced with just the right amount of sweetness, buttery-ness, and fudge-y goodness.  It’s smooth and rich, and thickens nicely as it cools.  Lukewarm sauce is perfect for drizzling over ice cream, allowing the fudge to gain that soft chewy texture – the sure sign of a successful hot fudge sauce.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce 4

This hot chocolate fudge sauce keeps well and reheats beautifully.  It is delish over fresh fruit, over pancakes or waffles, over cake… let those creative juices flow.  You can’t go wrong with this.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce 3

My boys will probably beg to make their own chocolate milk with this.  Let the fun begin!

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RECIPE: HOT CHOCOLATE FUDGE SAUCE (approx. 1 cup)

INGREDIENTS

3 oz semi sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 TB brown sugar
2 TB unsweetened cocoa powder
1 TB regular salted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
small pinch kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in small, heavy saucepan set over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, whisking constantly.  Once it reaches a boil, immediately reduce to simmer.  Simmer and whisk for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool to warm or lukewarm before serving.  Keeps well in sealed container in fridge.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from iowagirleats

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

28 Mar

Whoever thought to make a dessert out of carrots was sort of genius.  Who would have thought that shredded carrots would be yummy in birthday cakes or cupcakes?  Carrot cake is one of the most beloved flavors today, and for good reason.  Armed with a great recipe, anyone can bake up a superbly moist, tender, and addictive carrot cake.

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My kids know this yummy treat is called carrot cake, but I doubt they realize there is an abundance of freshly shredded carrots in their dessert.  Lots of good-for-you carrots.  Plenty of plump raisins.  Walnuts, if you like them.  Extra raisins if you don’t.

carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

Over the years, I have made carrot cake in the form of bundts, loaves, and cupcakes.  This time, I opted for a simple sheet cake.  Easy and fail-proof deliciousness.  This fabulous carrot cake recipe is one I’ve loved ever since an old friend shared it with me ages ago.  It’s one of those well-loved recipes that has years’ worth of chicken scratch written all over the margins and is fraying along the edges.

carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

This carrot cake is perfect for Easter, birthdays, or just whenever.  With or without cream cheese frosting, it’s delish for dessert or even breakfast.   It can double up as a morning coffee cake, right?  After all, carrots and raisins are totally good for you.  Enjoy 🙂

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RECIPE (one 13×9 pan)
Easy one-bowl method for simple cleanup

INGREDIENTS

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp table salt
3 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/4 cup olive oil
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups grated raw, peeled carrots
1 can (8-10 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cups raisins
1/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 cups softened butter
16 oz softened cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lb powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS

1.  Preheat oven to 350F with rack on lower middle position.  Press a long sheet of foil into a 9×13 pan, with extra foil hanging over edges for easy cake removal.  Grease the foil.

2.  Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, mixing well.  Form a well in the center.  Add sugar, oil, and eggs into the well and mix wet ingredients by hand.  Fold into dry ingredients until fully incorporated.

3.  Fold in carrots, pineapple, raisins, and optional walnuts.

4.  Bake in greased, foil-lined pan about 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out almost clean.  Cool and remove with foil sling.  Frost as desired.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
Combine butter, cream cheese, and vanilla.  Beat well.  Add sugar gradually and beat well.  If too thick, add small amount of milk.  If too thin, add small amounts of sugar until desired consistency is reached.  Frosting naturally thickens and firms up as it sits.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, adapted from my old friend Naomi

Honey Pear Bread

22 Mar

Quick breads are one of my fave things to bake for breakfast.  Now, I don’t wake up extra early to bake.  I’m a bear if awoken too early.  I don’t even try to pretend I’m Miss Sunshine at the crack of dawn.  Instead, my happy night-owl self prefers to strut around the kitchen in the evening, baking something yummy for tomorrow’s breakfast.  Honey Pear Bread makes an awesome breakfast, particularly if it was baked the day before 🙂

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I often bake various quick breads on the weekends so the family has something extra yummy for breakfast when they wake up.  They love this moist, tender, pear-filled bread with the perfect balance of sweetness, thanks to honey and brown sugar.  Honey Pear Bread is loaded with healthful ingredients, making it a no-brainer for both flavor and nutrition.  One loaf lasts about one day in our household.

Honey Pear Bread 3

This Honey Pear Bread is a tasty alternative to apple breads, when you’re looking to deviate from the norm.  I love that this bread uses firm pears, because pears are almost always firm at the store when I buy them, and I don’t have to wait for them to soften!  A bit of immediate gratification.

Honey Pear Bread 4

This recipe makes extra batter, which is perfect for tender muffins – bonus!  Dense, moist, chock-full of goodness, and superbly satisfying.  Make some Honey Pear Bread, and sit back to enjoy it with your morning coffee.  Or afternoon  snack with tea.  Or dessert with ice-cream on top 🙂

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Honey Pear Bread (or muffins) keeps really well.  Both texture and flavor are much better the day after it’s baked.

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RECIPE (one large 9×5 loaf + ten muffins, OR 2 smaller loaves)

INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup honey
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 TB vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsp table salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 TB ground flax meal (dry)
5 cups of very firm pears, peeled and diced

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350F, with rack on lower middle position.  Generously grease one large loaf pan and line a muffin pan (or grease two loaf pans for two smaller loaves.)

In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, olive oil, applesauce, and honey.  Stir together.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Stir to incorporate.

In another large bowl, combine salt, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice, all-purpose and wheat flours, and flax meal.  Mix dry ingredients well.  Gently fold honey mixture into dry ingredients, just until completely moistened.  Gently fold in pears, distributing evenly.  Pour batter into prepared loaf pan(s) and/or muffin tin.

For single large loaf, filled almost to the top, bake 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out almost clean, with few moist crumbs attached.

If splitting batter between two loaf pans, bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out with few moist crumbs attached.

For muffins filled almost to the top, bake 20-23 minutes or until toothpick comes out with few moist crumbs attached.

Source:  Chew Out Loud, inspired by allrecipes

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