Amazingly Moist Carrot Cake with Yogurt & Cream Cheese Frosting

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I absolutely hated carrot cake as a child, my mom loved it and I thought she was insane.  I had it for the first time as an adult several years ago, and I finally got what my mom was talking about.  I still do not like carrot cake with raisins, and carrot cake with nuts is growing on me.

This carrot cake is amazing.  It is moist.  It is full of flavor.  I combined Wallaby yogurt with cream cheese – OMG.  I blended in my food processor and it turned out so creamy and soft.

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Time: 40 minutes + time for the cake to cool

Serves: about 8

 

Carrot Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (my favorite is Fage)
  • 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 finely grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces, cut small
  • 1/4 cup pecan pieces, broken in (about) half

Yogurt & Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

(2) 6 oz. containers Wallaby vanilla or maple yogurt

8 oz. cream cheese

 

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees.

2. Spray a 9 or 10inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

3. Take the cream cheese for the frosting out of the refrigerator so it can soften as you make the cake batter.

4. In a large bowl combine the brown sugar and oil on medium speed with a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Add in the yogurt until fully mixed.  Next add the eggs one at a time, beating into the mixture each egg. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Set aside.

5. In a separate bowl add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. manually stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a spatula until just combined – you do not want to over mix. Gently fold in the shredded carrots and 1/2 cup pecan pieces.  Pour the batter into prepared springform pan.

6. Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Be care not to overbake otherwise the cake will be dry.  Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.

7. For the frosting add (1) 6 oz. container of Wallaby yogurt and the entire package of cream cheese to your food processor.  Beat until creamy.  Add in more Wallaby yogurt until the mixture is totally creamy but not totally runny.

8. Once the cake has completely cooked frost the top of the cake, allowing some of the frosting to drip down. Sprinkle

 

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4 Layer Banana Cake with Pudding & Nutella

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Serves: about 14-16

Time: hours

 

I made this cake for my birthday a few months ago.  It was amazing.  The perfect mixture of flavors.

I have been craving a banana cake for maybe 8 years now, ever since I had my first bite of a banana cake.  One of the ladies that worked for the construction company in the Bay Area that I worked for years ago has a baker son. He’s just not any baker – he is the main cake guy for Oprah. He made cakes for, I believe, Jessica Simpson’s fist wedding and Christina Aguilera’s first wedding. He is the man behind Perfect Endings located in Napa, one of the two cities that I grew up in.

He made this banana cake for one of my company’s holiday parties. I couldn’t remember anything about his banana cake except that it was SO good – I mean, I’ve been wanting another piece for years! It might have had chocolate frosting, I think it was one layer…

I decided to make a banana cake for my birthday, and I put my own touch on it. The cake that I created was four layers with two layers of homemade vanilla pudding, two layers of crunchy Nutella, and was frosted with crunchy Nutella. Even though it was so rich some of my friends wanted seconds!

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Ingredients

Banana Cake Ingredients:

adapted from http://www.lifeloveandsugar.com/2013/08/27/soft-and-moist-banana-cake/

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup mashed bananas (2-3 bananas)

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla

 

Vanilla Pudding Ingredients:

2 cups milk

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons corn starch

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon butter

Nutella Ingredients

1 jar crunchy Nutella, or smooth – your choice

 

Banana Cake Directions:

1) Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl.

2) Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture, beat to combine.

3) Add flour and baking soda, beat to combine.

4) Add the bananas, milk and vanilla, beat to combine.

5) Pour the batter as evenly as possible into (4) greased 8 inch pans (you can also add a sheet of parchment paper to the bottom of the pans).

6) Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. You do not want to overcook the cake as it should be super moist.

7) Cool the cakes in their pans for about 10 minutes, then flip them onto cooling racks until completely cooled.

 

Vanilla Pudding Directions:

1) While the cake is baking, heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it bubbles – be sure that you don’t over cook or burn the milk! Turn down to low.

2) Stir together the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a bowl. Pour the mixture into the heated milk a little bit at a time, stirring during each addition.

3) Continue to cook the pudding until it thickens just enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not boil!!

4) Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and butter.

5) Pour into a bowl and let cool in your refrigerator.

 

To Assemble:

1) After the cakes and pudding have cooled, cut off the un-even parts of the cakes with a bread knife.

2) Place the first layer of cake onto a decorative plate. Scoop out about half of the pudding on top of the first layer of cake. Spread evenly.

3) Place a few toothpicks on the first layer; then place the second layer on top of the cake/pudding being sure the catch the toothpicks. Spread about 1/8 – 1/4 of the Nutella on top of the second cake layer.

4) Place a few toothpicks on the second layer; then place the third layer on top of the cake/Nutella being sure the catch the toothpicks. Spread the rest of the pudding evenly over the third layer.

5) Place a few toothpicks on the third layer; then place the fourth layer on top of the cake/pudding being sure the catch the toothpicks. Spread Nutella over the top of the last layer. Then carefully spread Nutella on the sides of the cake – the pudding will have oozed out, so to make it cleaner just lick off the pudding…just kidding, scoop it off with a knife / spatula, then eat it!

Enjoy!!!

 

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Chocolate Quinoa Cake

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You’d never guess what’s in this amazing chocolate cake (except if you read the title of this recipe 🙂 ).  Yep, it’s quinoa.  You can’t even tell at all.  It’s probably one of the most moist chocolate cakes that I have had.  My sister is celiac and came into town so I made this cake so that she’d have dessert at my friend’s birthday party.  For some reason the cake came out of the pan in two pieces, so I made what was supposed to be a two-layer cake into a “dirt cake” (I’m not sure what else to call it, but it’s like the “dirt cake” I had as a kid minus the gummy worms).

I am going to try making this recipe again and hope that I have better luck with the cake coming out of the pans so that I can actually have a beautiful looking layered cake 🙂  I added the whipped cream that was supposed to be the frosting into the mess of cake and also made vanilla pudding.  This doesn’t keep that well so eat it the day you make it (and refrigerate covered until you do).

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Chocolate Quinoa Cake Ingredients:

1/2 cup dried quinoa, cooked to package directions (plus a tad bit more water) & cooled

1/3 cup milk

4 large eggs

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla

3/4 cup butter, melted

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Cake Directions:

1) Cook the quinoa, make sure that it is completely cooked and not crunchy at all.  Set aside to cool.

2) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 8-inch round pans, line the bottom with parchment paper (I think I skipped this step because I used Wilton’s cake release, don’t skip this step).

3) Blend together the milk, eggs & vanilla in a food processor.

4) Add the cooked & cooled quinoa and butter to the milk, eggs & vanilla mixture in the food processor.  Blend until completely smooth – you do not want chunks of quinoa.

5) Wisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  Then stir in the quinoa mixture from the food processor.

6) Pour the cake mixture evenly into your two pans.

7) Bake the cake for about 30 minutes / until it is cooked through.

8) If the cake comes out of the pan in one pieces (!! I hope yours does !!) skip the vanilla pudding step.  Or, break your cake up in a decorative dish if you want to add the vanilla pudding.

 

Vanilla Pudding Ingredients:

2 cups milk

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon butter

 

Vanilla Pudding Directions:

1) While the cake is baking, heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it bubbles – be sure that you don’t over cook or burn the milk!  Turn down to low.

2) Stir together the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a bowl.  Pour the mixture into the heated milk a little bit at a time, stirring during each addition.

3) Continue to cook the pudding until it thickens just enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Do not boil!!

4) Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and butter.

5) Pour into a bowl and let cool in your refrigerator.

 

Whipped Cream Ingredients:

small container of heavy whipping cream

sugar

vanilla

 

Whipped Cream Directions:

1) With the wisk attachment beat the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form.

2) Gently stir in the sugar & vanilla to taste – don’t add too much sugar as this will be going into the already sweet chocolate cake with the vanilla pudding.

 

Cake Assembly:

1) Pour the cooled vanilla pudding and whipped cream into the dish with the crumbled chocolate quinoa cake.

2) Gently stir together until it’s all combined; serve chilled the same day.

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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There is something wonderful about pineapple and maraschino cherries combined together – and it’s even better when it’s in cake form!  The cake had the perfect amount of fluff and denseness; I might even use this recipe for other types of cakes (gotta get creative with summer fruit!).  I used canned pineapple, but you could also use a fresh pineapple (I’m just horrible at cutting them and knew that I wouldn’t get fantastically shaped rings).

Ingredients:

1 can sliced pineapples

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

¾ cup light brown sugar

1 jar maraschino cherries

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup white sugar

¾ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

6 tablespoons buttermilk

 

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Directions:

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

2) Drain and place the pineapple slices on a paper towel in one layer to absorb the excess juice.

3) Place the 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in a round 9″x2″ cake pan and put into the pre-heated oven until the butter is melted (about 5 minutes).  After removing the pan from the oven, tilt the pan in all directions to coat all sides of the pan with butter.

4) Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan.

5) Place one pineapple ring in the center of the pan and arrange six more around it, then put the maraschino cherries in the center of each ring and in the spaces between them.

6) In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, 2 tablespoons of buttermilk and vanilla with a fork.

7) In a mixer bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 6 tablespoons of buttermilk.  Beat on low speed just until the flour is moistened, then increase the speed to medium, or high if using a handheld mixer, and beat for exactly 1½ minutes (I’m not sure why it has to be exactly this amount of time, just do it).  Add one-third of the egg mixture at a time, beating for exactly 20 seconds and scraping the bowl each time.

8) Pour the mixed batter over the fruit in the pan and spread evenly.

9) Bake until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.  Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes before removing from the pan.

10) Use a knife to make sure the cake is not stuck to the sides of the pan, then place your serving platter on top of the pan.  Turn the cake onto the plate and remove the pan.  If any pineapple or cherry pieces are move simply push them back into place.  Serve warm or cool.

 

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peach breakfast “cake”

This is a fantastic light and moist “cake” and is perfect for a summer breakfast or dessert.  Serve with your favorite yogurt and fruit or ice cream.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 medium sized peaches, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick cold butter, sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter or spray a 9-inch baking pan.

2. Slice peaches and arrange in the bottom of the pan without any gaps.

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3. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

4. In a larger bowl cream together the butter and sugar on high speed for 2 minutes.  Switch to a whisk attachment and beat for 3 minutes more at high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl when needed.  Add in the eggs one at a time and then add in the vanilla. Add in the flour mixture and beat just long enough to eliminate any lumps.

5. Spread the batter over the fruit in the pan.

6. Place the pan on the oven rack in the middle of the oven and bake for 45 minute until golden brown.

7. Let cool slightly, then turn over onto a plate, serve warm to cool.

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salted caramel tres leches cake

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The first time that I had tres leches cake was at my aunt’s house in Seattle, I have been using the same recipe my cousin used for years – this time I modified it by adding salted caramel.

Ingredients for the tres leches cake:
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions for the Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9×13 inch baking pan.
2. Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.
3. Cream butter or margarine and 1 cup of the sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla extract, beat well.
4. Add the flour mixture to the butter or margarine mixture 2 tablespoons at a time, mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Pierce cake several times with a fork.
6. Combine the whole milk, evaporated milk, and condensed milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled cake.
7. Pour the warm salted caramel over the cooled cake.
8. Whip whipping cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 cup of the sugar together until thick. Spread over the top of cake. Be sure and keep cake refrigerated.

Ingredients for the Salted Caramel

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 7 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt

Directions for the Salted Caramel:

1. Add the sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat.  Stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Use a spoon to remove any crystals that form on the side.

2. Once the sugar has dissolved increase the heat to high.  Now and then, using the handle, give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving  – do not stir the mixture directly.  The mixture will start to bubble after a minute.

3. As the mixture darkens to a medium amber color, approximately 5-7 minutes, add the butter, heavy cream and kosher salt to saucepan.  The mixture will bubble wildly.  Whisk to combine.

A note: even if the heat is on high the sugar might start to clump and not be liquidy (mine turned from clear liquid to clumps) – don’t worry!  Just begin to whisk the sugar so it all becomes hot again.  If you wait too long you’ll have to chop up the sugar clumps with a wooden spoon.  I turned the heat down to low during this declumping process so the caramel wouldn’t burn.  This clumping didn’t happen the first time I made caramel but it has all of the subsequent times for some reason.  After the sugar is clear liquid again (no clumps) it will start to turn that beautiful amber color, then you can add the butter, heavy cream and salt DO NOT add these ingredients when the sugar is still clumpy and before the sugar has turned into the amber color of caramel.

homemade cakes.

If I were crazy, and weren’t doing a dessert table, I would make my own wedding cake.  I like baking, and I like making things pretty.  Cakes are easy to make (especially out of a box) and there are so many simple options to make them beautiful.  I’ve always thought about having a pastry company – maybe it’s my next career move.

http://www.projectwedding.com/wedding-ideas/make-a-homemade-wedding-cake

http://www.projectwedding.com/wedding-ideas/shower-idea-the-hydrangea-cake

http://www.marthastewart.com/photogallery/layer-cake-recipes#slide_7

http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/photogallery/diy-wedding-cakes#slide_5

http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/desserts-for-a-crowd/diy-wedding-inspiration-how-to-make-your-own-wedding-cake-without-losing-your-mind-053894