Amazingly Moist Carrot Cake with Yogurt & Cream Cheese Frosting

carrot cake (4) WM

 

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.

carrot cake (26) WM

carrot cake (13) WM

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

 

carrot cake (25) WM

Plum & Peach Skillet

Plum & Peach (3) WM

I’ve made several versions of a plum skillet, and honestly I haven’t been able to tell the difference.  This one comes from Ms. Martha Stewart herself and like all of her recipes is splendidly wonderful.  I tweaked her recipe and added peaches as well as plums.

servings: about 8

time: about 1 hour

 

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter @ room temperature, plus more for the cast iron skillet

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cups sugar

1 large egg

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 ripe plums, sliced thinly

1 peach, sliced thinly

 

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

2. Lightly butter a cast iron pan.

3. Sift together the dry ingredients, excluding the sugar.

4. In a separate bowl beat together the butter & sugar until mixed and fluffy.  Fold in the flour mixture.’

5. Pour the batter into the cast iron pan, smooth the top and plop in the plums and peaches evenly.

6. Bake in your preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

 

Plum & Peach (15) WM

 

Sponge Cake with Strawberries & Rhubarb

Sponge Cake with Strawberries & Rhubarb (11) WM

 

This cake is a recipe for high altitude.  To be honest I don’t know what’s different between this and a non high altitude recipe.  If you are at sea level let me know!  The ingredients below are for one sponge cake – I made two so that they could be layered.  If you do make two make them in separate batches (you can bake both at once if you have two of the same sized pans). You could also make one cake and cut it in the middle to get two layers.

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup cake flour (see note below about making cake flour)

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon cold water

4 egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 egg whites

 

1 container strawberries

3 rhubarb stalks

small carton of heavy whipping cream

sugar

vanilla

parchment paper

 

Sponge Cake with Strawberries & Rhubarb (9) WM

Cake Directions:

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

2) Grease a 9″ or 10″ springform cake pan and line the bottom with a parchment paper cut to fit the pan.

3) Whisk together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, oil, water, vanilla, and egg yolks.

4) In a separate bowl whip the egg whites until they are white and fluffy.

5) Gently fold half of the whipped egg whites into the batter, then add the other half after the first half is mixed in.

6) Pour the batter into the greased and parchment lined cake pan; bake about 35 minutes until it is golden brown.

7) Let the sponge cake cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then open the sides of the pan and let the cake cool completely.

8) Once the cake is cooled spread the strawberry rhubarb sauce over the top of one of the cakes.  Place the second cake on top.

9) To make the whipped cream pour the carton of whipping cream into a bowl and whisk on high until soft peaks form.  Pour in the vanilla (about 2 teaspoons) and sugar (to taste).

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce Directions:

1) After washing the strawberries and rhubarb slice into bite sized pieces and place in a small pan and put it on medium-high heat.

2) After the strawberries and rhubarb start to “melt” a little and boil reduce the heat to medium-low.  Continue to let the mixture gently simmer until it resembles a sauce / jam.  You can add sugar if you want as the rhubarb is a little bit tart.

 

cake flour ingredients:

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon corn starch

cake flour directions:

1) Place the flour in a bowl removing 1 teaspoon of corn starch.

2) Add the corn starch and sift until the cake flour is light and airy.

Sponge Cake with Strawberries & Rhubarb (1) QM

Buttermilk Lemon Pie with Apricot Blueberries

lemon blueberry pie (37) WM

Yummy!  I had some buttermilk that I didn’t use for buttermilk pancakes, lemons that I didn’t use for lemon meringue pie, and frozen blueberries that I needed to use up.  I found a job for a buttermilk lemon pie, and added my own twist as usual.

Ingredients:

1 baked pie crust

for the custard

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 tablespoons + 1 1 /2 teaspoons cornstarch

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup buttermilk (1/2 pint)

lemon zest from 2 lemons

roughly 6 tablespoons lemon juice from roughly 2 lemons

for the apricot blueberry sauce

2/3 cup apricot preserves

2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries

lemon blueberry pie (6) WM

for the whipped cream topping

16 ounces whipping cream

4 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons vanilla

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Directions:

1. Stir the sugar and cornstarch.

2. Beat in the melted butter, eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

3. Bake until set, about 45-55 minutes in a 325 degree oven.

4. Meanwhile.  Heat the apricot preserves & blueberries over medium heat in a saucepan until the two “melt” together.  Set aside until the custard pie has finished cooking.

5. Pull the cooked custard pie out of the oven, spoon the apricot / blueberry sauce over the custard and let cool.

6. Right before serving make the whipped cream topping and decoratively scoop on top.  Serve chilled.

 

lemon blueberry pie (13) WM

Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Cookies

chocolate caramel cookies (1) WM

I love oatmeal cookies.  I love chocolate.  I love caramel.  Why not combine all 3 into an amazing cookie?  Well, I did.

chocolate caramel cookies (10) WM

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt

3/4 cup butter, soft at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 large egg at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups quick cooking oatmeal

dark chocolate broken into pieces, we’re talking good chocolate – Lindt, Ghirardelli
soft caramel candy (mine was store bought, though you could make your own), chopped into tiny pieces

 chocolate caramel cookies (4)

1) Preheat your oven to 350F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2) In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3) In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugars until the mixture is creamy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla followed by the flour mixture one scoop at a time.  Stir in the oatmeal, chocolate and caramel candy, mixing just until well combined.

4) Shape dough into 1/2″ balls and arrange on baking sheet leaving about 2-inches between them to allow them to spread.  Gently flatten each ball (so they are approximately 1/2 as high) with your fingertips.

5) Bake the cookies for approximately 12-15 minutes until they are are golden brown.

6) Allow the cookies to cool for 2ish minutes on the baking sheet, then gently place on a wire rack to cool completely.

chocolate caramel cookies (9) WM

Baked Brie with Chocolate & Blackberry Jam

baked brie w-choc& rasp (5)

I could not believe how good this dessert / appetizer turned out, I mean it was no surprise since I mixed brie, chocolate and blackberry jam together.   I’m sure that you could use any other kind of jam, but I’m a believer that blackberry and chocolate just go together.

Ingredients:

pie crust dough (1 or two depending on if you are using a wheel of brie or two triangles)

brie (either a wheel or two triangles)

chocolate chips

blackberry jam

1 egg, beaten

water crackers to serve this with, if desired

baked brie w-choc& rasp (6)

Directions:

1. Roll out the pie crust to make it just a tad thinner on a floured surface, place on a tin-foil lined or greased baking sheet.

2. If you are using two triangles of brie cheese place them skinny end to fat end on the center of the rolled out pie crust, or just place the wheel of brie on the pie crust.

3. Scoop out a good amount of blackberry jam on top of the brie cheese, sprinkle the chocolate chip pieces on and around the jam (the jam will slide off the top of the cheese).

4. Pick up the pie crust over the sides of the cheese and cover the top of the cheese.

5. Beat the egg, and brush over the pie crust.

6. Bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for roughly 30 minutes or until golden brown.  I envisioned a lovely held together brie/chocolate/blackberry pie that you cut into, but instead everything melted into one amazing mess.  All of my friends could not get enough of this cheese, chocolate, jam delight.  I was worried that two triangles of brie would be too much for 5 people but it was not at all!!

baked brie w-choc& rasp (3)

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

strawberry rhubard pie (2) WM

Fruit pies equal summer in my book, and especially strawberry rhubarb.  It was a treat when I was a kid to have a strawberry rhubarb pie from Marie Calendar’s – now that I love to bake I just make them myself!  They are super easy to make and don’t require too many ingredients.

2 containers of strawberries

4 stalks of rhubarbs

2 tablespoons minute Tapioca

1 teaspoon Ball Fruit-Fresh Produce Protector

2 sheets of crust

1 egg, beaten

Directions:

1. Wash and de-stem the strawberries then slice, slice the rhubarb into chunks, place both into a bowl.

2. Stir the minute Tapioca and the produce protector into the strawberries and rhubarb.

3. Place one sheet of crust onto the bottom of a pie pan allowing the edges to hang over slightly; pour the pie mixture on top of the crust.  Gently place the top crust over the pie mixture and pinch the top and bottom layers of crust together.

4. Cut slits into the center of the crust and then brush the beaten egg over the entire crust.

5. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 60 minutes until golden brown.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream!

strawberry rhubard pie (1) WM

strawberry rhubard pie (3) WM

salted caramel tres leches cake

salted caramel tres leches WM

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.