Friday, September 21, 2012

Fall Carrot Cake and a Birthday

Earlier this week we celebrated my husband's birthday! He likes to keep it low-key, so we just had his parents over for a family dinner. It was lots of fun and there is nothing else my husband would rather have on his birthday! The menu was delicious. I will have to make it again so I can photograph and share it with you. For dessert, we had some of his favorites - his mom made his favorite Croatian dessert, krempita (puff pastry dough layered with custard) and I made his favorite American cake, carrot cake.

As usual, I did not make the traditional Carrot Cake. Actually, since I am not from here and because there are so many versions of carrot cake, I don't even know which is THe traditional recipe. This time, I decided that, in addition to the obvious grated carrot, I would add lots of spices and, why not, some white chocolate chunks. This turned out to be a simple but very very flavorful cake with great texture.

My daughter was a great helper!!! On Facebook, I shared a video of her cracking the eggs for me. She cracked the 4 eggs called for on the recipe - shells fell in the batter!!

For the filling and frosting, I started with my favorite recipe and added chopped pecans to it! Lovely cake that was still super yummy four to five days later!

Here it is:

Fall Carrot Cake (with spices and white chocolate)

1 cup canola oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
4 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 pinches of salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups grated carrots
6 oz chopped white chocolate (or white chocolate chips)
1 tablespoon flour

1 cup heavy  cream, cold
8oz cream cheese, softened
8oz mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, clove and ginger. Set it aside. In a large bowl put oil, sugars and eggs. Whisk it vigorously until incorporated and smooth (about 3 to 4 minutes). To that mixture add, alternately, dry ingredients and buttermilk whisking after each addition. Stir in the grated carrots. Put white chocolate in small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of flour and mix until all the chocolate is coated in flour. Add chocolate to the batter (discard excess flour). Divide batter among the two baking sheets. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake.

To make the frosting, whip the heavy cream until soft picks form. Set it aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer, with the paddle attachment, cream together mascarpone and cream cheese until well combined. Beat in vanilla and sugar. Stir in the pecans. Finally, gently incorporate the whipped cream into the cheese mixture until very well combined (use a spatula for that). Keep frosting in the refrigerator until needed. If you frost  the cake right away, keep the cake in the refrigerator. Remove cake from refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving.

Happy Birthday to my love and to all the people with September birthdays - I know SO many of them!!!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Kids Playing with Food

This weekend on you will find my babies cooking and having a ton of fun with it. We made letter shaped cookies together - a delicious way to get your kids interested in cooking and in learning the alphabet! 

Click here for the full article and recipe.

p.s.: Eating cookies in not the only way of teaching kids about food and letters! This is just a fun idea for you to try once in awhile. Moderation - always!