Carrot Cupcakes with Ginger Mascarpone Frosting

6 Apr

Ok, real talk. Winter is over.

After what felt like an eternity of snow days and a lingering cold that managed to sneak its way into the first real days of spring, we’ve turned a corner!

Oh, and we moved. To a new apartment. WITH AN ABUNDANCE OF NATURAL LIGHT. And the people rejoiced.

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Between the new digs, the new job, and a remorseless winter, it’s been a tough few months for blogging. But I’m here, and back with a new recipe!

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It even has a vegetable. It’s basically a health food.

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Enter Ina’s carrot cake. It has all the traditional ingredients, but with a delicious twist to the frosting. Cream cheese is mixed with mascarpone cheese for a rich frosting with bits of candied ginger for a bit of bite. In short, it’s tasty.

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I opted to take the original cake recipe and make cupcakes for ease of transportation (happy birthday, mom!), but you can use this recipe for two nine-inch cakes as well.

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My only note is that next time I make these, I’ll be sure to employ Ina’s Food Network assistant that grates the pound of carrots.

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I got finger cramps (not to mention shredded carrot bits all over my floor).

Yet I digress.

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Ahh, the frosting. I found the candied ginger at my local Trader Joe’s (I love you, TJ) and really enjoyed the addition of the mascarpone cheese. It was the perfect complement to the carrot cake.

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And the carrot cake feels like the perfect complement to spring. Here’s to the warm months to come!

Carrot Cupcakes with Ginger Mascarpone Frosting from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof

Makes 32 cupcakes or two 9 inch cakes

Ingredients

2 cups sugar

1 1/3 cups vegetable oil

3 extra large eggs at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups plus 1 tbsp flour

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 lb grated carrots

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped walnuts

Frosting

12 oz mascarpone cheese at room temperature

4 oz cream cheese at room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

2 tbsp heavy cream

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup chopped candied ginger

1/4 tsp kosher salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Grate carrots and set aside in a medium bowl. Add sugar, vegetable oil and eggs to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat for about 2 minutes on medium high, until mixture is pale yellow and thicker. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and kosher salt. Slowly add the mixture to the stand mixer until thoroughly combined.

Add raisins and walnuts to the grated carrots, and add the tablespoon of flour. Mix until the four are combined, then fold into the cake batter.

Spoon mixture into lined cupcake pans (about 3/4 full) and bake for 18 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Transfer to a baking rack to cool completely. Alternatively, bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then lower the heat to 350 and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

For the frosting, place mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, heavy cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, candied ginger and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Beat on medium for about a minute until ingredients are combined and smooth.

Frost and enjoy!

Time

1.5 hours

 

Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 Feb

Happy Puppy Bowl Sunday! I want all the puppies. Seriously.

In the mean time, I’m finally getting around to posting these cookies.

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To be clear, I’m historically all about soft cookies. You know, like the ones in high school that are baked by the hundreds and barely cooked in the middle? Just the best.

But recently, I’ve found myself craving thin, crispy cookies with the same flavor and nostalgia of their heavier counterparts. I also found myself with a new subscription to InStyle, with three recipes for cookies in the back! (And for the record, February is all about new neutrals, people.)

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So I went all in for the crispy cookie. It felt a little more sophisticated, and tasted delicious.

You know when you’re eating chips in front of the TV and you have to turn it up to hear over the sound of your own chewing? It’s kind of like that…but I really wouldn’t know…because I don’t ever do that…

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It also holds up better in the milk-dunking phase. Trust me, I’ve done a lot of leg work on the cookie process.

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The one recipe note I’ll give you is that you have to flatten out the cookies before baking to achieve the crisp factor. The easiest way to do it is to use a spoon and wet the back of it before flattening each cookie. It’s tedious, but the alternative leaves you with a big mess (trust me here).

Enjoy!

Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies (from InStyle)

Yields about 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 stick unsalted butter

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar (I used light, but either will do)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup semisweet chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

Melt the stick of butter, and mix in a stand or electric mixer with both sugars until blended. Add egg and vanilla, and again mix until blended. Take your flour mixture and add in thirds, incorporating each time before adding more.

Once incorporated, fold in your chocolate chips using a spatula, then drop tablespoon sized scoops onto your baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Using a wetted spoon, flatten each cookie to about 1/4 inch.

Bake cookies for 15 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Merry Happy

29 Dec

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! HAPPY ONE YEAR OF EAT CAKE FOR BREAKFAST!

Phew. I’m awhirl with emotions. It’s been a great year, and I’m sad to see it go, but there’s still so much to celebrate!

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Please forgive my delinquency. Not to make excuses, but in addition to the usual distractions, I’ll be starting a new job next week! Change is in the air, and blogging about cake has suffered for it. Eating cake has not, and as small amends, I’d like to share my favorite recipes from this holiday season.

Lately, recipe edition:

1. Nantucket Cranberry Pie- The Pioneer Woman strikes again. I’ve made this pie for no less than four occasions this holiday season (one of which being “I just wanted pie”). It’s tart, it’s sweet, part pie, part cake. All delicious.

2. Vanilla Peppermint Cupcakes- Oprah did good on this one. I followed the recipe exactly, except for the frosting. I used 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar instead of 3 1/2, and they turned out just sweet enough for my taste. The peppermint is just enough to feel seasonal without being too overwhelming.

3. White Chocolate Ginger Ice Cream- From David Lebovitz. My favorite part of Thanksgiving dessert. The ginger perfectly balances the white chocolate for one darn good ice cream. A+++ will make again (sorry, eBay humor).

4. Vegetarian Lasagna- I love this recipe for a go-to winter meal. It feels lighter than other lasagna, but still has all the cheesy goodness.

I hope it’s been a magical season for you and yours, and I look forward to getting back to regular blogging again in 2014! Happiest of holidays from me to you. xo!

White Chocolate Pomegranate Bark

17 Nov

It’s been quite the weekend. It all started off so well, and with some standard Saturday chores went so wrong.

You see, our washing machine broke. There are jumbo fans drying the carpets, and the contents of our closet now reside in the living room. We went glamping in the den to escape the fans.

So when I told my husband I really wanted to make something for the blog this weekend, he looked around, then back at me with a mix of panic and concern. Enter this recipe.

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I’m actually not sure it qualifies as a recipe. It’s just melted chocolate with toppings. But we’re rolling with it. When life breaks your washing machine, get a strong drink and make white chocolate bark.

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You’re going to start by halving a pomegranate and extracting the seeds. This is probably the most difficult part. I put mine in a bowl of water and worked out the seeds with my fingers.

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This leaves you with a pile of pomegranate flesh and a bowl full of seeds.

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Once you melt the chocolate, spread it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I had less chocolate so used a smaller pan. Again, we’re rolling with it.

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After that, it’s just a matter of sprinkling your toppings. I threw some chocolate sprinkles and (gasp) a little sea salt on mine. It was just the right balance between the rich white chocolate and the tang of the salt and pomegranate.

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I highly recommend for your holiday celebrations, or the next time you need a quick pick me up.

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White Chocolate Pomegranate Bark

Yields one 8 x 13 baking sheet of bark

Ingredients

1 lb white chocolate

1 pomegranate, deseeded

1 tbsp chocolate sprinkles (optional)

sprinkle of sea salt (optional)

Directions

Cut pomegranate in half and deseed in a bowl of water. Discard skin and wash seeds throughly to remove other pieces of pomegranate skin.

Melt white chocolate in a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Stir the whole time to keep the chocolate from burning. As soon as the chocolate is melted, remove from heat and pour over parchment paper into a baking sheet. You can spread over the entire sheet, or make it smaller for thicker bark.

Next, sprinkle pomegranate seeds and other toppings to your liking. Refrigerate for at least an hour, or until chocolate is hard. Break into pieces and store in refrigerator. Enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

29 Sep

Let’s face it– it’s the pumpkin apocalypse.

Pumpkin soup, pumpkin brownies, pumpkin butter, pumpkin lasagna (I’m sure it’s been done)– the world has gone pumpkin insane.

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World-wide pumpkin shortages are how it will start. Next come widespread symptoms of orange pigmentation and hyperactivity. The end is near!

(Sorry. I’ve been watching a lot of end-of-days movies recently. I’m in a paranoid state of mind.)

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Don’t get me wrong, I don’t intend to be part of the solution. Though I do so solemnly swear to contain my pumpkin blogging in a responsible and sustainable manner.

Let’s not cause a frenzy!

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Now that I’ve issued the appropriate disclaimer, PUMPKINS AWAY!

The only cure for this madness? Gingerbread season.

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What I really love about these muffins is that the brown butter complements the pumpkin so well. I’ll even let you in on a secret– brown butter is literally just cooked butter. You melt it in a saucepan until it turns brown.

The effect? It adds another flavor dimension to the butter and brings out its nutty aroma. Apocalyptic stuff.

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I fully endorse this recipe for a perfect lazy fall morning when it’s just cool enough for a jacket and the sky looks just a little bluer.

Just remember to enjoy responsibly. Keep calm and pumpkin on!

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Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Yields 15 muffins

Ingredients

2 cups flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

scant 1/4 tsp cloves

scant 1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 large egg

1 stick unsalted butter, browned

1/2 cup pumpkin

1/2 cup milk (I used fat free, so any kind should do)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup orange juice

Streusel Crumble

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

3 tbsp cold butter (unsalted)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, add all dry ingredients and whisk to combine.

In a small saucepan, add butter and cook over medium heat. Watch until it just starts to turn brown (brown- good, black- bad) and remove from heat. In a medium bowl, combine wet ingredients (egg, pumpkin, milk, vegetable oil, OJ, browned butter) and whisk until thoroughly combined. Add the brown butter last and whisk immediately to temper your egg. No one wants scrambled egg pumpkin muffins!

Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until fully combined. Spray a cupcake pan with oil to prevent sticking (or use cupcake liners), and fill each opening 2/3 full with batter.

In a small bowl, add brown sugar and flour. Dice the cold butter into small pieces and add to bowl. Using a pastry cutter or fork, mix in the butter until in small, pea-side pieces. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of crumb mixture over each muffin.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, or until knife inserted comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes in muffin pan before transferring to baking rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

3 Sep

Treat yourself.

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Treat. Yo. Self.

 

Extravagant? Yes. Unnecessary? Probably. Did I go there? Youuu betcha.

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I’ll let you in on a secret, though– it’s totally worth it. The ice cream recipe is adapted from Leslie Newman‘s Once-a-Year Cheesecake Ice Cream and Leslie, kudos for your restraint.

I’d say I’m more a Once-a-Quarter gal. Treat yourself often.

Life is short, and besides, you deserve it!

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The ice cream itself is rich and creamy (I mean, the three main ingredients are cream), but the blueberries add just the right amount of balance.

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Also, layer the ice cream as you choose! I probably used about 2/3 of the blueberry sauce, but mix and layer to your desire. That’s what treat yourself is about.

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Just don’t be sad when it’s all gone.

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Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Makes about 1 quart

Ingredients

8 oz cream cheese, cold but softened

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 tsp kosher salt

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Blueberry Sauce

2 cups blueberries

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

a splash of vanilla extract

Graham Cracker Crumble

4 grahams

1 tbsp melted butter, unsalted

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, take slightly softened cream cheese and beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the sugar 1/4 cup at a time and beat until just incorporated. Add sour cream and heavy cream and beat at medium speed, again until just incorporated. Add kosher salt, lemon juice and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.

Take the bowl, cover and refrigerate for 2 to 12 hours, or until the mixture is very cold. While it chills, cook up the blueberry sauce. Take 2 cups of washed blueberries and combine in a medium saucepan with water, sugar, lemon juice, cream of tartar and vanilla extract. Cook over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool before covering and refrigerating, again until very cold.

Take your graham crackers and pulse to fine crumbs in a food processor. Slowly add melted butter, continuing to pulse as you pour it in. If you don’t have a food processor, you can also use a zip lock bag and smash them to crumbs before adding butter.

Once everything is chilled, take your mixer bowl and refit with whisk attachment. Mix the ice cream base on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture is loosened and creamy. Pour the base into your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Once done, alternate layering ice cream, blueberry sauce and graham crackers to taste (I used about 2/3 of my blueberry sauce, but do what you feel!). Refreeze for four hours to make it really firm, or enjoy immediately!

Time

1 hour active, 2+ hours inactive

Peach Galette

29 Aug

HI YOU GUYS! Remember me? The one who takes all the pictures of food? I’m still here!!

Please forgive my absence. I’ve been frolicking in the summer sun.

Ok, I’ve been locked away in an office. Happy? Dessert to the rescue.

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This is a peach galette.

Galette /gəˈlet/ noun- A rustic pastry filled with fruit and sugary goodness. Rustic /ˈrəstik/ adj- rough around the edges. Just my style.

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Husband: “That pie was good.”

Me: “That wasn’t a pie.”

Husband: “Right. The grouton?”

Me: “…”

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He’s right, though. The grouton…err, galette, was the perfect combo of sugary dough and sweet fruit. You’ll see in the pictures below that before I could take a picture in proper daylight, we’d eaten half. Consider this a strong endorsement.

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Once you’ve rolled out the dough, just slap your fruit mixture in the middle. Please note that I spent 5 minutes carefully arranging the outer layer of peaches before haphazardly dumping in the rest. Whatever, it’s rustic.

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Before you bake, be sure to tuck in a little extra sugar and butter for good measure.

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Bake, cool, enjoy, and pray a little is left when daylight comes. Bon appetit!

Peach Galette adapted from Simply Recipes

Yields one 12″ pastry

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup flour

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 stick unsalted butter, chilled

5-6 tbsp cold water

Filling

2 1/2 sliced peaches, just ripened

3 tbsp plus 1 tbsp granulated sugar

1 tbsp plus 1 tbsp dark brown sugar (light would work fine as well)

1 tbsp flour

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1 egg

1 tsp turbinado sugar

Directions

Mix together flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Slice stick of butter into tablespoon-sized chunks and add to flour mixture. Pulse food processor 8-10 times, or until butter is mostly incorporated and pea-size or less. Add cold water one tablespoon at a time and pulse after each addition. After 5 to 6 tablespoons, you should feel the blade start to struggle against the forming dough.

At this point, stop mixing and turn the mixture (crumbs and all) out onto a hard, floured surface and knead just until soft dough forms. Mold into a disc and wrap in plastic. The dough should chill for at least an hour (up to 12) before being rolled out.

When the dough has chilled, roll it until it’s about a foot in diameter. The dough will be pretty thin, but that’s what you want. Roll the dough onto your rolling pin and gently transfer to a nonstick, ungreased baking sheet.

Peel and slice peaches and place in a medium bowl. Add sugars, flour and vanilla and toss to coat. Arrange peaches in the middle of the dough, leaving a 2″ border all around. Take your extra tablespoon of sugar, granulated sugar and unsalted butter and roughly mix. Dot mixture throughout the top of the peaches.

Complete the galette by folding each section of the dough border over the peaches. When this is done, lightly beat egg and use to wash over the dough. If you want, sprinkle turbinado (or any ol’) sugar on the dough to give a sugary glaze. Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes, or until your galette is well browned and bubbly. Enjoy!

Time

20 minutes active, 1.5 hours inactive

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