Tag Archives: carrot

Carrot Cake with Dulce de Leche Buttercream

A lot of things got put on hold after I left for Peru, including this blog! But now I am back and so is Little Baker SF 🙂 I made this cake for someone’s birthday a few months back, but never got around to posting it…probably because the only picture I took I ended up trashing. It looked like someone had attacked it with claws! Actually, “it” was 50 hungry birthday guests 😛 I’m taking it as a compliment!

In making this, I pulled from two sources: Vanilla Sugar for the cake itself and Joy the Baker for the buttercream and for assembly help. Both awesome recipes (and amazing blogs), I’m really pleased with the way they paired together in the final product. (Not that there could ever be anything wrong with carrot cake, dulce de leche and frosting—together or apart.)

The cake has everything a carrot cake should: sweetness from the carrots and raisins, spice from the cinnamon and nutmeg and crunch from the pecans. And the dulce de leche buttercream…dreamy.

Make it. You’ll love it.

Believe me.

Birthday Carrot Cake with Dulce De Leche Buttercream

Makes 1 two-layer 23 cm cake

INGREDIENTS

Carrot Cake (via Vanilla Sugar)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground cloves (I omitted this.)

1/2 tsp table salt

1 lb. medium carrots (about 6-7), peeled

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I omitted this too.)

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil

1 1/2 cups raisins

1 cup pecans, roughly chopped

Dulche de Leche Buttercream (from The Pastry Queen via Joy the Baker)

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened

3 tbsp heavy cream (I used reduced-fat milk)

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 cups powdered sugar

a pinch of salt

3/4 cup prepared dulce de leche (I used Nestle’s Manjar Blanco available in Peru)

METHOD

Cake

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 F / 175 C. Spray two 23 cm springform tins with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment and spray parchment.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in large bowl; set aside.
  3. Shred carrots, which should yield about 3 cups. Transfer the carrots to a bowl and set aside.
  4. With a whisk or hand mixer, process granulated and brown sugars and eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds. Still whisking or with the hand mixer running, add oil in a steady stream. Whisk or mix until the batter is light in color and well emulsified, about 20 seconds longer. Scrape mixture into medium bowl. Stir in carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Finally, gently stir in the raisins and chopped pecans until just combined.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350 F / 175 C until toothpick or skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 45-50 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Cool cake to room temperature in pan on wire rack, about 2 hours. (If you omit raisins and nuts, reduce baking time by 10-15 minutes.)

Buttercream

  1. Cream together softened butter and powdered sugar on low using an electric mixer.
  2. Add the milk and vanilla and beat on medium speed until smooth and no lumps appear.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the prepared dulce de leche and beat to incorporate.  Set aside until ready to use. (Do not refrigerate; it will harden and will not spread if you do.)

Assembly (adapted from Joy the Baker)

  1. On your cake platter or plate, lay the first cake layer top-side up. If uneven, use a serrated knife to trim.
  2. Put about 3/4 of the frosting into the center of the cake layer. Then with an frosting spatula, spread the frosting evenly around the cake surface until you reach the edges.
  3. On a second cake plate, lay the second cake layer, again, top-side up. As with the first layer, if it is uneven, trim with a serrated knife. Next, carefully lay it top-side down onto the first cake layer, onto the frosting.
  4. Gently press the top of the cake down to make sure it is even. Dollop about 1 cup of frosting onto the center of the top of the cake and, again, using your frosting spatula, spread the frosting evenly around the cake surface towards the edges of the cake. Smooth the center. (Frosting will accumulate at the edges if there is excess, which is fine. You will use it to frost the sides.)
  5. Run the frosting spatula under hot water. (This will help you smooth the icing out.) With your clean spatula, scoop up some frosting and spread it across the sides of the cake. Keep doing this until, turning the cake, until all sides are frosted and somewhat smooth. (Don’t worry if it’s not smooth; you will smooth it out the second time you apply frosting.)
  6. Clean your spatula again. With a light but firm touch, place the front edge of the icing spatula along the seam where the side of the cake meets the top of the cake.  (Icing has accumulated here and is creating a rough border to the cake.)  Hold the spatula firmly in one place along this icing seam and slowly being to rotate the revolving cake stand—moving the cake, but not the knife, to smooth the top.  You can leave the icing as rough and rustic, or smooth as you’d like. Clean any stray icing at the base of the cake, or on the cake board with a damp paper towel.

Broccoli Carrot Raisin Salad Topped With Tuna and Goat Cheese

This is just another one of my “I’m too lazy to cook / I feel fat and vitamin deprived” salads. I originally planned on doing this with red cabbage, but as it turned out, Trader Joe’s had nothing except for a 10 oz bag of shredded cabbage that they were charging an arm and a leg for. So I went for the next best (and cheapest) thing: broccoli.

Broccoli turned out even better. My mom never made any of those sweet-savory American potluck salads when I was growing up, but I just adore them—especially coleslaw and broccoli-carrot-raisin salad. With those salads as inspiration, I did the following in just 10 minutes: blanched the broccoli for about a minute (to bring out that gorgeous green), rough chopped it and then tossed it with grated carrots, sliced red onion and raising in a slightly sweetened white wine vinaigrette. I then topped the salad off with chunk white tuna and a bit of broken up goat cheese.

Easy. Delicious.

Broccoli Carrot Raisin Salad Topped With Tuna and Goat Cheese

Serves 1.

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

a pinch of evaporated cane sugar

salt and pepper to taste

1 stalk of broccoli, washed

1/2 medium carrot, grated

1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly

1 tbsp raisins

1 can no-salt added white tunafish

1 tbsp goat cheese, crumbled

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a small saucepan of boiling water, blanch the broccoli, about 1 minute. Remove from stove, drain and cool with cold water. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the vinaigrette: Mix together the vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper on a large salad plate.
  3. To the vinaigrette, add the carrots, red onion and raisins. Toss to coat.
  4. Peel away the tough outer layer of the stock and rough slice; break up the florets. Add to the salad. Toss to coat.
  5. Top the salad with tuna, breaking it up with a fork, and then the crumbled goat cheese. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Winter Salad of Sauteed Carrots, Bartlett Pears and Blue Cheese

Does it seem like all I ever eat are pastries and salad? Based on my posts, perhaps it does. It’s actually probably not such a bad idea to balance the brownies, cookies and cakes with light and fresh veggie dishes.

Tonight was no different. Before baking a completely awful-for-you, artery-clogging and incredibly, buttery and decadent almond buttercake, I made myself a quick winter dinner salad of sauteed carrots, sliced bartlett pears and crumbled blue cheese over a bed of balsamic vinaigrette-dressed romaine lettuce. (Yup, still working my way through the family-size bag of carrots in the fridge.)

I really enjoyed this salad. Not only did it take only 15 minutes total to prep, cook and plate, but it also turned out to be an interesting combination of wintery vegetable and fruit flavors. Pear and blue cheese are always a great food-pairing; these tossed with balsamic-dressed salad greens is even better. I wasn’t worried about adding the carrots—besides being mild in flavor, I knew sauteeing them would bring out a sweetness that would complement nicely with the pears and blue cheese.

Winter Salad of Sauteed Carrots, Bartlett Pears and Blue Cheese (my own recipe)

Serves 2.

INGREDIENTS

Carrots

2 carrots, peeled, cut into thirds and sliced lengthwise thinly

2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

1/2 medium onion, sliced thinly

1/2 tsp sugar

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Salad

6 large leaves romaine lettuce, washed, dried and roughly chopped or torn

2 bartlett pears, quartered, cored and sliced

2 oz blue cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat a non-stick pan over low heat. In a little olive oil, saute the onion, garlic and carrots until tender (ca. 10 minutes).
  2. While the carrots are cooking, prepare the dressing by whisking together the vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a salad bowl, toss the lettuce, half the pears and the dressing together. Divide between two plates.
  4. Once the carrots are finished cooking, Top each plate with the carrots and remaining pear slices. Crumble the blue cheese over the top of each plate.
  5. Serve.

Carrots Again?!?! A Recipe for Multi-Seed Carrot Buns

Every time I open the fridge, that big, ugly bag of carrots is there—staring at me. Threatening to stay in there forever, or until I give in, cry at the waste and throw them out.

I’m determined to not let that happen. So I’ve been brainstorming all week about things I can make that require LARGE amounts of carrots. Soup, of course. (Diet starts Monday—need to be beach-ready by Jan. when I go to Peru!!) Better yet—BREAD!

Buns filled with finely grated carrot, ground flax seed, rolled oats, sunflower seeds, crushed hazelnut and slivered almonds. Doesn’t that sound lovely?

Oh, they really are! Chewy inside, crisp outside. Infused with nut and seed goodness throughout. I can’t say I taste all too much carrot but it does make the bread a soft, pretty autumn-orange color. One batch came out to 18 buns—too many for us three girls (and three boyfriends) to eat all at once. So I baked six and then par-baked and froze the rest.

Multi-Seed Carrot Buns (Adapted from a recipe courtesy of Green Kitchen Stories)

INGREDIENTS

1/2 package active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups warm water

3 dl plain yogurt

1/2 tbsp sea salt

1/2 tbsp sugar

2 large carrots, finely grated

3 tbsp sunflower seeds

3  tbsp rolled oats

3 tbsp crushed hazelnuts

100 g corn flour

750 g unbleached all-purpose or bread flour (I used 650 g bread; 100 g all-purpose)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Solve yeast in water.
  2. Combine all ingredients except flour, stirring well.
  3. Gradually add in the flour until completely combined.
  4. Knead the dough by hand for 5-10 minutes. It is a wet dough, so don’t worry if it’s still sticky. Place the dough in clean bowl, cover and allow to proof for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
  5. Once rise, gently punch down the dough and form into 15-18 buns on a parchment lined baking sheet. Allow to proof again until doubled in size.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 420 F. Bake the buns for 15-20 minutes. (Mine needed the entire 20 minutes.)

The people at Green Stories suggest using these for tuna or egg salad sandwiches. Yum! Lunch tomorrow!!

How You Like It Carrot Quickbread

Boyfriend-less tonight…and about to be permanently so (for a while, for good—I really don’t know). Dennis leaves next Monday; he’s going home to Lima and isn’t coming back.

Life is weird. I’ve only been seeing Dennis for 2 months; after the first week of dating, he was offered a job in Peru. And he decided to take it. Really—it’s a good thing. And I’m happy for him.

At the same time, I’m thinking to myself—What.Is.Going.On.Here???

Am I attracted to unavailable men? Or is this all part of the greater plan, i.e. my long-term relationship was supposed to end so that I could grow up, so I could meet Dennis, so I could learn more about myself? I don’t know.

It was hard to let go and learn to feel something for someone again. But I did, and I’m glad.  Now that he’s leaving, though, I feel like I’m kind of back where I started. Alone.

So this “being-without” feeling is something I’m going to have to get used to. It’s also an opportunity to get used to the “being-complete-and-happy-on-my-own” feeling. I mean, look what I accomplished today: I blogged, I edited photos, I took a long, hot bath. And I baked a lovely carrot loaf.

It being already 10 PM—and PAINFULLY cold outside—I wasn’t going anywhere to get anything. So I stared at the contents of the fridge and was immediately drawn to the big, orange eyesore that is Melita’s jumbo bag of Costco carrots.

What can you really do with carrots—actually, lots. Carrot cake cookies, breakfasty carrot-oat-raisin muffins…I’m already planning on making carrot, coconut, date and walnut biscotti. Could be interesting, right?

This time, I went with a loaf cake. I know I just made one Friday, but this one is completely different. It’s really a whatever-you-have-on-hand cake. I found a recipe for zucchini bread online (I can’t find the source anywhere!?!?!) and decided it would be reasonable to change it into a carrot cake. I tweaked it slightly by adding a little milk and also tossing in a handful of white chocolate chips (blondie leftovers from way back when), 1 cup of chopped pecans and 1 cup of chopped prunes…yes, prunes. It’s tasty AND will keep us all regular at the same time. (^o^”)

Straight out of the oven, it really is striking. It’s all autumny golden, orange; speckled throughout with white chocolate chunks and prune bits. Though I’m dying to slice a piece now and slather on a slab of butter, I know better. If I wait until tomorrow to slice into the loaf, it will be completely cooled, and also fully set and moist and rich and dense and absolutely luscious.

I can’t wait!

And now:


How You Like It Carrot Cake with White Chocolate, Pecans and Prunes (adapted from a recipe whose source I can’t find anymore!! Help!)

INGREDIENTS

Dry Mixture:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup white sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp ground cloves (had to omit this—don’t have this at the house)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1  tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

Wet Mixture:

2/3 cup vegetable oil (I used 1/2 cup unsalted butter)

4 cups carrots, grated

3 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1 cup chopped nuts, like pecans

1 cup chopped dried fruit, like golden raisins, prunes or dates

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together thoroughly.
  3. Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl.
  4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry until combined.
  5. Fold the nuts and prunes into the mixture.
  6. Pour the mixture into a greased 9×5 loaf pan. Bake for 75 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing. (Tip: Let it sit overnight. I promise—it’s worth the wait.)

The verdict? Oh, oh, it’s good!  Spicy from the cinnamon and nutmeg and fruity and sweet from the prunes and carrots.

As for texture: light and crispy top crust, super-moist center and dense loaf cakey middle. The pecans also give nice crunch throughout.

Carrot Cake with Vegan Coconut Frosting

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I’ve been baking for the office lately and every time I do, there always one guy who NEVER eats what I bring. Now I know why! I just found out he’s lactose intolerant (but is fine with eggs)! So now I’m determined to make a super delicious dessert, namely a moreish carrot cake with a non-dairy coconut cream frosting (from Elana’s Pantry). Yum! For the recipe, I decided to go with one I know will withstand all tests – Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for carrot cake.

About the frosting–honestly, this cake doesn’t need it. It’s luscious and decadent without it. Next time, I’ll just make the cake.

Bill’s Big Carrot Cake with Vegan Coconut Cream Frosting (adapted from a Dorie Greenspan recipe and Elana’s Pantry recipe)

INGREDIENTS

Batter

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp salt

3 cups grated carrots

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened

1/2 cup moist, plump raisins or cranberries

1 handful dates, finely chopped

2 cups sugar

1 cup canola oil

4 large eggs

Coconut Cream Frosting

1 cup coconut milk

1 cup honey (or agave nectar)

a pinch of salt

5 tsp cornstarch

1 tbsp water

1 1/4 cups coconut oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Getting ready: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter three 9 x 2 inch round cake pans, flour the insides, and tap out the excess. Put the two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.
  2. To make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and raisins.
  3. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and oil together on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear.
  4. Gently mix the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the baking pans.
  5. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. The cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. The cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.
  6. To make the frosting: In a medium saucepan, heat coconut milk, agave and salt, simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. In a small bowl, combine arrowroot and water to form a smooth paste. Pour arrowroot mixture into saucepan.
  8. Mix contents of saucepan with a hand blender and bring to a boil, briefly. Remove pot from heat and very gradually blend in coconut oil. Place pot in freezer for 20 to 30 or 30 to 40 minutes, until frosting solidifies and turns white.
  9. Remove from freezer and blend again, until fluffy.
  10. To assemble the cake: Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. If you added the coconut to the frosting, use half of the coconut frosting to generously cover the first layer (or generously cover with plain frosting). Use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer. Top with the second layer, this time placing the cake stop side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting or plain frosting. Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top and the sides of the cake. Finish the top with swirls of frosting. If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or coconut, sprinkle them on now while the frosting is soft. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.
  11. Serving: This cake can be served as soon as the frosting is set. It can also wait, at room temperature and covered with a cake keeper overnight. The cake is best served in thick slices at room temperature and while its good plain, its even better with vanilla ice cream or some lemon curd.
  12. Storing: The cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. It can also be frozen. Freeze it uncovered, then when its firm, wrap airtight and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator.

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