Leave the Gun, Take the Cake

Okay, so I committed some totally gross negligence the other day and forgot to post my carrot cake recipe.  And yes, it is one of mine.  Normally  I wouldn’t post a beta recipe, but this one was really good and I don’t think I will be tweaking it.  You may tweak it however the hell you want, but in doing so you will lose some of its perfect essences.  Some random tips and comments to start – I let the butter and cream cheese get all the way to room temp before I do anything with them.  Also, I made this as a cake with 2 layers.  You could probably stretch and get three if you feel compelled to do so.  I would recalc the measurements and increase the batter calls by 1/2.   Except I would use 5 rather than 6 eggs.  But that is just me.  You may feel daring enough to make a 6 egg cake and then try to layer it.  Rock on.  Also, I don’t use cake bands.  Mainly because I have a life that is already riddled with crazy – I don’t need anymore.  So, recipe…

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

 

Cake Batter-

 

2 cups AP flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom 

1 cup unsalted butter 

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 firmly packed light brown sugar

1/4 canola oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 large eggs

3 cups peeled and grated carrots

1 1/3 cups chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

grated nutmeg (I don’t know how much, just grate some in there)

 

Frosting

 

16 oz cream cheese (use the real stuff; there is no such thing as ‘fat free’ cream cheese)

1/2 cup unsalted butter

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup REAL maple syrup

 

Preheat oven to 350°.  Butter and flour 2 9 inch round pans.  You can line it with parchment if it makes you feel fancy.  In one bowl, mix flour, soda, salt, and dry spices ‘til thoroughly combined.  In mixing bowl, beat butter, then cream in sugars ‘til light and fluffy.  Add oil, then vanilla.  Still beating, add eggs one at a time.  Keep beating ‘til light and fluffy again.  Add ALL the dry mix and slowly stir until it is all incorporated.  Add grated ginger and nutmeg and beat for a minute or so.  Add carrots and nuts and beat ‘til combined.  Divide batter into the two pans and bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until pick stabbed in center comes out clean.  I know this is hard for people with poor impulse control, but LET THE CAKES COOL COMPLETELY before you turn them out of the pans.  Wait at LEAST an hour before frosting.

 

Make your frosting – beat cream cheese and butter until – yeah, you guessed it – light and fluffy.  Add powdered sugar and beat ‘til combined.  Add syrup and beat on medium until frosting is creamy.  Stick bowl in fridge and let it cool for a while – it is much easier to frost the cake when the frosting isn’t runny.

 

Cut a huge wedge and eat the hell out of it.  Don’t even bother with a fork.  Just use your hands.  

 

Yummmmmm...

Yummmmmm...

Carrot Cake is Good

So, I FINALLY got around to making my own birthday cake – this week’s Demand-A-Dish winner, the Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.

Behold the batter:

 

Carrot Cake Batter

Carrot Cake Batter

 The cakes a’ coolin:

 

carrot cakes

carrot cakes

The pristine finished product:

 

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

 Cake as enjoyed by me:

 

Mmmmmm....carrot cake

Mmmmmm....carrot cake

Demand-A-Dish Goes Brunch

 

Quiche and Quichelette

Quiche and Quichelette

 

 

I am pretty sure that this week’s Demand-A-Dish was a success.  I made the pastry last night and left it in the fridge to chill.  I used my basic all-butter recipe, which follows.  I learned how to make pie pastry decades ago – from my Nannie using lard.  I learned again when cooking for $.  And then learned again from the very wonderful ‘Pie and Pastry Bible’ by Rose Levy Beranbaum.  If you want to get all neurotic, you can follow the RLB method.  I love her cookbooks – don’t get me wrong.  Her recipes are solid and her methods are, well, thorough and I have learned how to make so many things from her.  BUT, I find that once I have made something a few times, I will develop my own methods and alter the recipes a bit.  She is VERY methodical.  On pastry, I use some of her tips, but not all.  For example, if it is really hot or humid, or I have been baking a lot and the kitchen is warm, I will cut the butter and chill it in the freezer for a half hour or so.  But really?  Making pastry should not be that fraught with peril; at least, not once you know what you are doing.  But if you are somewhat new to making pies and cakes AND tend to be a little hyper-organized and perfectionist (as am I), then you should check out her Pie Bible and Cake Bible.  Can’t miss.  So, anyhow, the recipe for basic all-butter pie pastry – the measurements given below will give you enough to make one 9-inch crust.  Double it if you plan to have a top crust or lattice-top. Sometimes, I will add cheese, cream cheese, or milk to the recipe, depending on what I am making.  Next time I get around to making pot pies, I will post the cream cheese pastry recipe.  

Anyhow, back to the quiche-making.  Rob opted for basil and tomatoes from our porch garden. I made a mini-quiche for the boy with bacon and cheddar.  We also had skillet-fried potatoes and orange/pineapple Prosecco mimosas – ginger ale in the boy’s. Here is some pR0n of the results, and the recipes are below.

Mmmmm...brunch!

Mmmmm...brunch!

Tomato Basil Quiche with Prosciutto and Feta

the pastry:

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons of COLD butter, cut into about 16 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 3-5 tablespoons ice water

Put the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse ’til combined.  Add the butter pieces and pulse ’til all combined and has a cornmeal texture.  Add the cider vinegar.  Pulse repeatedly while drizzling in ice water.  When dough starts to form clumps, stop adding water.  Check the dough – if it will stick together, it is done.  Even if it looks all crumbly.  Spread cling film on the counter.  Dump dough onto cling film and quickly shape into flat disc about 5 or so inches across. Wrap up the dough with the cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Preheat your oven to 375. Roll the dough out and blind bake for about 25 minutes in a 9 inch dish.

the custard:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • fresh grated nutmeg
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 5 ounces crumbled feta (I used feta because of the excess moisture in tomatoes; with other veg, I would use grated cheese or a softer cheese)
  • 3 roma tomatoes, diced
  • fresh basil, finely chopped, however much you want
  • about 2 or 3 slices of prosciutto, chiffonaded and pan-fried ’til crispy (pancetta, bacon, etc. are also good)

Beat eggs and cream, add the rest of the ingredients and mix just ’til combined.  Pour into the baked shell.  Bake 45- 50 minutes ’til just set in the middle. Take a handful of lactaid pills and ENJOY!

 

Cheers!

Cheers!

Order Up!

Allrighty, food lovers!  So Peach Crumb Cake was the winner of this week’s Demand-A-Dish.  I used an old Gourmet recipe from August of 1993 as the base, with a few substitutions.  Note, when I made this, I doubled the recipe and baked it in a 9 x 14 dish.  Though it turned out okay, there were some issues with uneven baking.  My oven has been have some issues with heat and circulation lately, so it is hard to discern what was oven and what was too much batter in one pan. Nonetheless, given the amount of goopy ingredients in this cake,  I would recommend sticking to the measurements below; if you need double the quantity, then double the measurements but bake them in two separate 8 x 8 dishes. For kicks, substitute just about any fruit you can think of.

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Peach Crumb Cake

 

INGREDIENTS:

Topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/2 cup of softened butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh almond paste (optional)

To make:  combine all topping in a food processor and process ’til combined and crumbly in texture. Set aside.

Cake:

  • 1/2 cup of softened butter
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 lbs fresh peaches, peeled and sliced very thin

To make:  Preheat over to 350.  Butter and flour a glass (preferably) 8 x 8 baking dish or 8 or 9 inch round baking dish.  Beat butter ’til light and fluffy.  Cream sugar and flour.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Beat in vanilla.  In separate bowl, thoroughly combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add to egg mixture and beat ’til just combined.  Spread the cake batter evenly in the pan.  It will be thick.  Arrange peaches over batter however you want; just make sure they are evenly distributed and all batter is covered.  Sprinkle topping evenly over peaches.  Bake in the middle of the over for about 45 – 50 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.  Let it cool and then eat the hell out of it.

 

Slice of Peach Crumb Cake

Slice of Peach Crumb Cake