Carrot Cake with Orange Ginger Frosting

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Another holiday, which means another cake! Madison’s mom requested carrot cake this Easter as we were also celebrating her 60th! I found dozens of recipes online but ultimately decided I did not want raisins or walnuts in the cake. I kept it simple and healthy with Geneveive Ko’s carrot cake (no modifications!) but played with additional flavors, adding orange to Barefoot Contessa’s frosting recipe and increasing ingredients to have enough to cover my three layer cake. The cake turned out incredibly moist and dense and not too sweet. The ginger in the frosting was a nice touch – I’m not sure I’d add it on top again – I  think I prefer a nice smooth white top, but loved having bursts of flavor in the center. Totally making this again.

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large oranges
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temp
  • 3 cups of grated carrots (about 5) – used our Cuisinart grater and it worked perfectly
  • Ginger Mascarpone Frosting (recipe follows)
  • Crystallized ginger (not in syrup), chopped, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease 3 (9 x 2-inch) round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and grease with cooking spray.

Whisk both flours, the baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and cardamom in a large bowl. Zest the oranges into another large bowl, then squeeze 1/2 cup juice from the oranges and add to the zest. Add the applesauce, oil, and both sugars and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Scrape the bowl. Turn speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, bating until just blended; scrape the bowl occasionally. Beat in the carrots until evenly distributed. Divide the batter among the prepared pans.

Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 35 min. Cool in the pans for 15 minutes, turn out onto a baking rack, and cool completely.

Place one cake on a flat serving plate, rounded side down. Spread half the frosting with ginger on the top (not the sides). Place the second cake on top of the first cake, and spread the rest of the ginger frosting. Place the third cake on top – rounded side up. Frost the top and sides with the plain frosting. Sprinkle top with the ginger and serve at room temperature.

Orange Ginger Mascarpone Frosting

  • 16 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • Juice from one large orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 cup minced crystallized ginger (not in syrup)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, juice, and vanilla together for about 1 minute, until light and fluffy. Separate it in half and stir in the crystallized ginger to one of the bowls. This made juuuust enough frosting so if you have a little more mascarpone and sugar I say just add it in and add more juice until you have your desired consistency.

carrot cake layer

Alice loved her first Easter, especially trying carrots – her new favorite food!

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Strawberry Cakes Forever

Sometimes you just need a pink cake. I’ve never been a very “pink” girl and it could be related to having a baby girl last September… but recently I’ve been very comfortable with a rosy palate. When I saw Smitten Kitchen’s Pink Lady Cake I knew I needed to try it. I hate processed strawberry flavors but if it’s natural — and this cake is — I’m in. I ended up finding a different recipe to work off though as I wasn’t okay with THREE cups of sugar in the batter alone, and #noregrets.

Why did I bake a cake in the middle of March? I started a book club through a Facebook moms group (ed. note: it’s crazy how all of a sudden when you have a baby you’re like okay now I’m cool with new internet friends) and I hosted the first month. Inspired by the book cover’s color motif & my raspberry kisses blowing baby I gravitated to strawberry cake recipes and found this one by Sally’s Baking Addiction. Plus, do I really need an excuse to make cake?

IT. WAS. DELICIOUS. And beautiful! With no food dye! I don’t even like cream cheese frosting and I 100% endorse this recipe.  Adapted directions below, I wouldn’t change a thing next time I whip this up, which I will.

Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup reduced strawberry puree
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice (my addition for coloring the cake which it did not! but tasted great so I’m not changing a thing)

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup freeze-dried strawberries or raspberries
  • one 8-ounce block full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Make the reduced strawberry puree and allow it to cool completely. All you do is put all berries in food processor and then drop the puree into a sauce pan and heat gently for 30 minutes. It should reduce by half.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Butter parchment paper cut for 9-inch cake pans.
  3. Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, and baking soda together. Set aside.
  4. Using mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamed, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the egg whites on high speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Then beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour in the milk *just* until combined. Do not over-mix. Whisk in 1/2 cup of reduced strawberry puree, making sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick. If desired, stir in the juice.
  5. Pour batter evenly into cake pans. Bake for around 25 minutes or until the cakes are baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. Allow cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
  6. Make the frosting: Using a blender or food processor, process the freeze-dried berries into a powdery crumb. You should have around 1/2 cup. Set aside. In a large bowl using a mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese for 1 minute on high speed until completely smooth and creamy. Beat in the butter until combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar, berry powder, 1 Tablespoon milk, and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed until combined and creamy.
  7. Assemble and frost: First, using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Discard (or crumble over ice cream!). Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with 2nd layer and spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before slicing. This helps the cake keep its shape when cutting– it could slightly fall apart without time in the fridge.

PS: I do recommend the book we read, The Heart’s Invisible Furies. It was a sad story following a man’s life in Ireland, but it still made me chuckle at times. Long read. But good. Not the best choice for a mom’s book club (we don’t have time to read much beyond The Happy Sleeper (GET IT)) but still brought a few new moms together!

Lucky Irish Coffee & Chocolate Stout Cake with Orange Mascarpone Frosting

Flourless Chocolate CakeI love St. Patrick’s Day (I’m Irish). And I love St. Joseph’s Day (I’m Italian). I love celebrating these “holidays” with food, and since I’ve been in DC, I haven’t found zeppoles. I know. Which means that I need to go all out for the Irish in me. All out.

Guinness Beef Stew with whipped potatoes, chocolate stout cake and Irish coffee. It was delicious. Thanks to my wonderful french oven, the stew couldn’t have been easier. I used this recipe, and added an extra cup of chicken stock and celery, no potatoes. Instead, serve the stew in a bowl over a heaping pile of steaming whipped potatoes. Next time I’m in the mood for stew, I’m without doubt using this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker. Delicious.

I wasn’t planning on making dessert, but then I spent more time on Pinterest. I also randomly had mascarpone cheese in the back of my fridge. It was too perfect for St Patrick’s Day and I’m so glad I found this recipe by The Beeroness. It’s flourless, and comes out like a big brownie. Serve with Irish Coffee. Next time, I might use less frosting, but that’s just me. I prefer a lot of cake to a little frosting… sorry cupcake.

Devine Irish Coffee

  • One shot Bailey’s
  • One shot Kahula
  • One shot Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • Brewed coffee or espresso

Pour the shots into your mug (you can use half a shot of whiskey if you’re not in the mood to get frisky) and fill the rest of the cup with coffee. Serve as is or with homemade whipped cream.

Irish coffee Recipe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flourless Chocolate Stout Cake with Orange Mascarpone Frosting

For The Cake
    • ½ cup butter, chopped
    • 7 weight ounces 60% chocolate, chopped
    • 1/3 cup stout (I used Guinness)
    • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
    • 3 whole eggs plus 2 yolks
    • ¾ cup cocoa powder
    • 2 tbs cornstarch
For the Frosting
  • 3 tbs butter, softened
  • 8 ounces mascarpone
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp finely grated orange zest

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • In the top of a double boiler over a simmering water add the chocolate and the butter. Stir until the butter is almost melted, turn off heat and continue to stir until butter is melted. Remove the top of the double boiler off the heat and stir in the beer. Whisk in the sugar. Check to make sure the chocolate is room temperature or below, then whisk in the eggs and the yolks. Sprinkle the cocoa powder and the cornstarch over the chocolate, gently stir until combined.
  • Place a round of parchment paper inside a 10 inch spring form pan, rub the inside of the pan and the parchment paper with butter.
  • Pour the batter inside the prepared pan, smooth out into an even layer.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top looks dry and the top is slightly springy, don’t over bake of cake will be dry. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 10-20 minutes. Transfer to a cake pan, refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours.
  • In a bowl, add the butter and the mascarpone, beat until well combined. Add the powdered sugar and zest, mix until well combined. Frost the cake with the frosting, chill until ready to serve.

Chocolate Stout Cake

I’m lucky to have such fine friends to celebrate with – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!