Saturday, March 30, 2013

Super Moist Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I wanted get this up before Easter. I like to bake my cakes, cupcake or cookies a day ahead, if there's something special going on. So I ended up baking a Carrot Cake for Easter this year. Just like last and the year before that. I seriously need to bake something other then carrot cake, but who am I kidding?! I will always make a carrot cake for Easter. It's my favorite cake so there you go!

This is my first Easter away from family so I'm really missing home. Sending lots of love there way! This year I'm going to be cooking a ham and some yam mashed potatoes and rolls. Just going to be low key this year. Don't worry I wont be devouring this cake on my own. I will share...if I want too that is...haha

I came across this recipe on Sally's Baking Addiction blog. I'm absolutely in love with her blog and the treats that come along with it! She breaks everything down and has lots of helpful tips. A really great blog and you all should check her blog out!

She doesn't call it "Super Moist" for nothing. It's actually the moistest carrot cake I have ever made, and I made plenty! I know not many people like carrot cake because not many like carrots. You absolutely wont taste the carrots. As the cake bakes, it takes the moisture from the carrots and brings it out to the cake. I opted out on adding pecans into the batter. That was my preferences.

You can actually see how moist this cake is! It's a really delicious recipe and easy to follow. I had to stop eating it just to share this with you all. I had to bake it an extra 5 minutes because the batter was a bit wet in the center. Just be careful not to over bake, or your cake will come out dry.

The cream cheese frosting is like heaven to this carrot cake. Without it, it just wouldn't taste the same. Combine makes a very delicious cake!

Look how cute these colored eggs are! I used a D.I.Y. food coloring, using:
 1/2 cup water 
1 tablespoon vinegar
5 drops of food coloring* (I used AmeriColors & Wilton Color Icing)

*depending on how bright you want your eggs to come out.

Please enjoy and Happy Easter! 

Super Moist Carrot Cake

    Carrot Cake
    1 cup light brown sugar, packed (or dark brown sugar) 
    3/4 cup vegetable oil (or melted coconut oil, or canola oil) 
    1/4 cup greek yogurt (or regular yogurt, plain or vanilla) 
    3 large eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 cups very finey grated baby carrots (or regular carrots) 
    3/4 cup pecan pieces
    Cream Cheese Frosting
    8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
    1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
    2-2.5 cups powdered (confectioners') sugar
    2 Tablespoons heavy cream (see note for substitutions) 
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1/8 teaspoons salt, or as needed
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 9 or 10inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. I do not recommend a regular circle or square pan, as the cake may rise above. Set aside.

Set out the cream cheese for the frosting so it may soften as you make the cake batter. 

Make the carrot cake: In a large bowl with a handheld or stand mixer on medium speed, combine the brown sugar and oil. Beat in the yogurt until fully combined - about 60 seconds. Mixture will be gritty and thick. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. With a spatula, manually stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and all flour pockets are gone - do not overmix. Fold in the finely shredded carrots and pecan pieces. Pour into prepared springform pan.

Bake cake for 32-38 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not overbake, which will dry out cake. Check the cake at 30 minutes, then again at 32. My cake took exactly 34 minutes. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting. 

Make the frosting: beat the softened cream cheese and butter together on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until soft, creamy, and combined thoroughly. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat until thick and combined. Add 2 Tablespoons heavy cream and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for 2 more minutes. Add more powdered sugar until desired thickness is reached. Add salt to taste. I used 1/8 teaspoon to cut the sweetness.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Leche Flan (Caramel Custard)

So it's has been some time now since I posted on this blog. Sorry about that just been busy with other things. I' am still baking (I mean who can quit that right?!) and I will be posting some delicious desserts for you all. Easter is coming and of course you know I'm going be making a carrot cake! Oh Yay! Can't wait for that and of course I will be posting that up too! 

Where do I start?...Oh! 

I have been a custard fan since I was a kid.  My mother used to take my sister and brothers to this Spanish bakery where I used to live in the Bronx. They had all kinds of the desserts from cakes, puddings to cookies and donuts. But I wanted none of those so I picked the flan. As a kid I always thought that flan was more of a grown up dessert. Boy was I wrong! When I bit into that first piece of custard delight, I knew my mouth was in custard heaven! I knew I was hooked and never looked back. 

Cooking caramel can be tricky but if you keep the fire on medium and watch out so it doesn't burn then you'll be find. Just make sure when it becomes that dark amber color to transfer it quickly to your pan(s). Also make sure to swirl your pan(s) around to get it spread out through the surface. As you see in the above photo the caramel quickly settled to the middle of my baking pan. :( That's why you need to work fast!

Bake in a water bath so it doesn't cook to quickly. It's a pretty easy recipe to follow and don't be afraid of baking custard. Just give it go and practice! if you feel your oven is cooking the custard too fast then turn it down a few.

By the way, flan may look pretty simple and boring but the taste is so velvety and smooth. I especially loved the caramel sauce. I believe the caramel sauce is what makes the flan so delicious.  I'm very much happy that I know how to make flan on my own. **Patting myself on the shoulder** Just make sure if you make this to SHARE! Don't eat this on your own like me...Okay time to go running around the park.


Spanish Flan
Prep time: 20 mins Cook Time: 1 hour Servings: 8
Source: All Recipes

1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt sugar until liquefied and golden in color. Carefully pour hot syrup into a 9 inch round glass baking dish, turning the dish to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs. Beat in condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour egg mixture into baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake in preheated oven 60 minutes. Let cool completely.

To serve, carefully invert on serving plate with edges when completely cool.  

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