Sunday, August 21, 2011

Carrot Pineapple Cake

I officially have a new favorite carrot cake recipe, and this is it!  It is similar to my old favorite, in that the ingredients include crushed pineapple and coconut.  The cake turns out to be super moist but not too dense or greasy, which can be an issue with carrot cakes.  I brought this cake to work to celebrate some August birthdays and it was well received.  Definitely don't skip the cream cheese icing!
The dry ingredients.
 The wet ingredients.
 Incorporating the wet and dry.
 Adding the pineapple, walnuts, coconut, and carrots.
 Ready for the oven.
 The cooling cakes.
 The cream cheese icing is whipped until light and fluffy.
 Assembling the cake.
 The finished product.
Adapted slightly from

3 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 cups confectioners' sugar
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 9-inch round pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment. 

2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside. 

3. In a large bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, oil, sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour mixture and mix well. 

4. In a medium bowl, combine shredded carrots, coconut, walnuts, and pineapple. 

5. Using a large wooden spoon or a very heavy whisk, add carrot mixture to batter and fold in well. 

6. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

7. Allow cakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks and cool completely.

8. For the Icing - With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and cream cheese until fluffy.  Slowly add powdered sugar until desired sweetness is reached.  Beat in the vanilla and salt.  Beat for about two more minutes until icing is light and fluffy.  Spread icing over cooled cake.

This post is linked to Sweets for a Saturday and Sweet Indulgences Sunday.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Banana Bread

Once again, I had an over abundance of overly ripe bananas on my counter.  I usually try to find something more exciting to make with my stash of over ripe bananas, but every once in a while a loaf of banana bread just hits the spot.  This was a pretty good recipe, and could definitely be doctored up with some mini chocolate chips or some chopped nuts.
Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large very ripe bananas, mashed well (1 1/2 cups)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan.

2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the mashed bananas, melted butter, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla together. Gently fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined (do not overmix) The batter will look thick and chunky.

3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, about 55 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

4. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour before serving.

This post is linked to Sweets for a Saturday.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Whoopie Pies

I got a fabulous whoopie pies cookbook several months ago and while I had perused it several times, I had never made any of the recipes.  That all changed this past week when I made a traditional chocolate pie with marshmallow cream filling.  I made my cakes small, but they can definitely be made into a bigger and more substantial dessert.  These were delicious, and I cannot wait to try some of the book's other fun flavor combinations!
 The cooled cakes.
 The creamy marshmallow filling.
 Super cute and super tasty!
Adapted slightly from Whoopie Pies, By Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk

1 1/2 cups marshmallow cream
1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. For the cakes, position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, shortening, and brown sugar on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes.

3. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk to the batter and beat on low until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining flour mixture and 1/2 cup milk and beat until completely combined.

4. Using a spoon, drop about 1 tablespoon of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes each, or until the pies spring back when pressed gently. Remove from the oven and let cakes cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

5. For the filling, in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the marshmallow cream and vegetable shortening, starting on low and increasing to medium speed until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low, add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes more.

6. To assemble, spread filling onto flat side of one cake and top it with another cake, flat-side down. Repeat with the rest of the cakes and filling.

This post is linked to Sweets for a Saturday, Sweet Tooth Friday, and This Chick Cooks.