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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

 

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Angel Food Cake with Berry Sauce

2 Apr

How to make angel food cake in several easy, succinct steps.

1. Carefully separate egg whites. Carefully.

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2. Invest in an angel food cake pan. Yes, there are such things. Yes, the bottoms do release, making for easy cake removal. No, they don’t look like this…

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3. Triple sift your flour mixture for extra fluff and lightness (not jokes…I did this one right!)

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4. Show your egg whites some love. The finest meringue takes patience, cream of tartar, and a little song and dance. Perhaps I should say it turned out in spite of the last part. No shame.

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4. Invert your cake after oven removal. It keeps it from settling on itself while it cools, and makes great use of your empty wine bottles. Not that you have any, because you don’t drink that much…and you regularly take out your recycling…

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5. Make a berry sauce for accompaniment. The angel cake is light, airy and delicate. It begs for a little sin.

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6. Enjoy with loved ones. And when you’re alone, enjoy a couple extra pieces. You deserve it.

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The classic angel food cake recipe comes from Craig Claiborne in the New York Times Dessert Cookbook and the berry sauce is adapted from The South.

Angel Food Cake with Berry Sauce

Yields about 10 servings

Ingredients

1 1/3 cups fine sugar

1 cup cake flour

1/4 tsp salt

12 large egg whites, room temp

1 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

Sauce

1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp cornstarch

1/3 cup water

1 cup sliced strawberries

1/2 cup raspberries

1/2 cup blueberries

1 tbsp Chambord (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift 1/3 cup sugar, cake flour and salt in medium bowl. Repeat x2.

Pour egg whites into stand mixer and beat on medium until foam appears. Slowly add cream of tartar and continue beating until they turn white and hold soft peaks. With the mixer running, slowly add in remaining 1 cup sugar one tablespoon at a time until your egg whites hold stiff peaks. Carefully fold in vanilla and almond extracts.

Sift 1/4 of your flour mixture into the egg whites and carefully fold in until fully incorporated. Repeat until everything has been mixed together, then pour batter into an ungreased (important so your batter can “climb” the pan) 9″ tube pan. Trace a square shape into the bottom of your pan, about 2″ deep.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the cake has browned and springs back when touched. Once you’ve removed it from the oven, immediately invert over a bottle and allow to cool completely (1 t0 1 1/2 hours). Run a knife or metal spatula around the pan sides to release.

For the sauce, mix sugar, cornstarch and water over medium heat until incorporated. Add berries and stir to coat. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce to low heat and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and is glossy. Add a splash of Chambord for an extra kick!

Time

1.5 hours

 

Birthday Cake!

3 Mar

“Birthday cake is just about the happiest outcome flour can hope for.” Amen. There’s nothing quite as good as birthday cake, and no better excuse to make it than my sweet husband’s birthday!

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He’s a pretty traditional guy. Doors are opened for ladies (check), Fridays are for bow ties, and birthday cake has yellow cake and chocolate buttercream frosting. End of story.

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For his 33rd (er…fifth 29th) birthday, I also spelled out his name in sailing flags (a good nautical theme never goes amiss in this house).

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My awful confession is that I didn’t even finish putting the cake together until the day after his birthday! Hand over wife-of-the-year award any time. However, a tasty piece of cake and a cold glass of milk makes for a great Sunday breakfast. mmmm

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I used Smitten Kitchen’s best birthday cake recipe and Savory Sweet Life’s chocolate buttercream recipe to make the magic. The cake was moist and flavorful and the frosting was sweet, but without the grocery-store-cake-sugar-coma effect.

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So after assembling, slathering, sprinkling and slicing, we had our cake…and ate it, too. Birthdays are best as two day affairs, right? Happy Birthday, David!

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Birthday Cake

Yields two 9 inch cakes and 4-5 cups frosting

Ingredients

4 cups plus 2 tbsp cake flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, room temp

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 cups buttermilk

Frosting

3 sticks butter, room temp

4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp table salt

3 3/4 tsp vanilla extract

6 1/2 tbsp heavy cream (or milk will do)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and set aside. In stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about 3 mins). Add one egg at a time and mix until incorporated after each addition. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Alternate adding your buttermilk and flour mixture, starting and ending with the flour (1/3 flour, 1/2 buttermilk) (add at low speed to avoid a flour dusting).

Once your ingredients are fully mixed, pour into buttered 9 inch cake pans and bake at 350 for 40 minutes, or until knife inserted comes out clean. Once removed, let your cakes cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then run a knife around the outside and invert to remove from the pan, and let cool completely for 1 hour.

For your frosting, beat butter in stand mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Sift flour and cocoa powder (I’m a big fan of sifting here, keeps you from having lumpy frosting!) into your stand mixer on low speed and mix until incorporated. Add your vanilla, salt and heavy cream/milk and beat on medium speed until evenly combined. If your frosting is too thick for your liking, add more cream/milk. If it’s too runny, add more powdered sugar.

Slather on your frosting and eat cake for breakfast! Or any ol’ time.

Time

1 hour

Lemon-Lavender Pound Cake

26 Jan
There are multiple reasons you have to make this pound cake, not least of all because it tastes good. Hear me out. It’s winter. It’s cold. You’re longing for spring, and struggling to get the proper doses of sunlight, activity and citrus. Let me help you with one of these.

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Good news is, it’s winter citrus time! The winter season is actually when citrus fruits are at their best. Ergo, make the cake, eat the citrus, prevent scurvy. Let’s make a day of it– National Scurvy Prevention Cake Day. It’s for your own good.

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Just the colors of this loaf make me happy. Pastel yellows and purples tell of a time when the grass is green, the flowers are in bloom and Game of Thrones is back on HBO. Come to me, spring!

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Let’s talk about the lavender, though. You might think of soap scents rather than culinary flavors, but lavender adds a sweet yet spicy (think rosemary) taste to baked goods. It’s a great complement to the lemon and honey in the cake and glaze. And personally, I like steeping the lavender in milk. I find it really brings out the flavor while keeping flowery bits out of your cake.

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The recipe is a twist on the classic pound cake from Martha Stewart, and a great reminder that Winter Spring is coming.

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Lemon-Lavender Pound Cake

Makes 1 5×9 loaf

Ingredients

1/2 cup milk

3 tbsp dried culinary lavender

1 stick plus 6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp

1 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp lemon zest

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

3 large eggs, room temp

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 tbsp milk

1 tbsp honey

2 tsp lemon juice

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Put milk and lavender into small saucepan and heat over medium high until scalding in temp. Remove from heat and strain milk into clean bowl. Squeeze the strained lavender in your hand to extract additional milk. Leave your bowl to cool.

In stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on high until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Zest you lemon and mix with flour and salt in medium bowl. Add eggs separately to stand mixer and beat each time until just incorporated. Add vanilla extract and mix well.

Alternate adding your flour mixture and lavender-infused milk into the stand mixer, starting and finishing with the flour. Mix until all ingredients are well-incorporated, then pour batter into loaf pan greased with cooking spray or butter.

Cook at 325 degrees for 80 minutes, or until knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let your loaf cool on a wire rack in the pan for another 30 minutes.

For the glaze, sift powdered sugar into medium bowl, then add milk, honey and lemon juice. Whisk until smooth. Remove your cake from its pan then pour the glaze over top. Slice and enjoy!

Time
2.25 hours

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