Mom’s Carrot Cake

Hello all! The miserable humidity of summer has finally given way to the cold crisp air of Winter. I can finally bake without dying in my kitchen, and once again the holiday season is upon us… and I am inspired. Candy, cookies, bread and cakes! This is the best time of year, and the most fun in the kitchen. Tis the season for Butter.

For my comeback recipe I present you with my mothers Carrot Cake. It is simple, moist, delicious and elegant.This is the perfect fall or winter cake with so much flavor packed in it is hard to believe there are no secret ingredients. I do enjoy an element of surprise, but that might be best left in other areas of the house… 😉

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So, what you will need…

  • 2 C. All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1  1/2 C. Vegetable Oil
  • 4 Eggs, well beaten
  • 2 C. Carrots, peeled and finely grated

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 Stick Butter, softened
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 lb Powdered Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease cake pan and set aside.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients.
  3. Add Vegetable Oil, Eggs and Carrots*Make sure to beat the eggs very well and to peel and finely grate the carrots.
  4. Mix all ingredients until very well combined and pour into prepared baking pan.
  5. Bake at 325 degrees F for 30 – 35 minutes or until cake tested comes out clean.
  6.  Let cake cool completely before frosting.
  7. Combine all ingredients for the frosting in mixing bowl. For the best and the fluffiest frosting use and electric mixer!

This cake is delicious and addicting. It is great for every occasion and you can dress it up any way you could ever dream of. This cake is as moist as cake could get without falling apart… it is a cake fit for the angels.

Nothing says ‘I love you’ like a cake. 😉

Happy Baking!

Vanilla Bean Cream Puffs (Choux Pastry)

Who doesn’t love a good Cream Puff?! For years I have wanted to make these but again, I thought it was going to be wicked hard. Turns out it is actually really easy. The Choux Pastry was the part that seemed daunting, but I found a few great recipes, and just made a dough using parts of the recipes I found. Trial and error! The first batch fell, but the second and third turned out beautifully. I found that the key to these beautiful puffs was milk! I prefer the texture and taste of the puffs much better than other recipes that don’t call for milk. They also didn’t brown as quickly. Success!

For the cream filling I made a Vanilla Bean whipped cream. It added the perfect amount of flavor to this light and airy delight.These are fun, and easy and you probably deserve to have them right now. I think these are the new bonbons! I would much rather sit around in my unmentionables eating these cream puffs than a box of bonbons. Bonbons are so 1994, in a bad way. Cream puffs are a lovely marriage of light and air pastry perfection and sexy whipped cream, with a dash of ladylike elegance that only the ground vanilla bean can offer. Cream puffs are the new sexy. 😉

So, you will need…

*Makes 30-35 puffs

  • 1/2 C. Whole Milk
  • 1/2 C. Water
  • 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 C. All-Purpose Flour, always unbleached
  • 4 Eggs, room temperature

Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

  • 1 C. Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tbsp Confectioners Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Vanilla Bean

Here was my process…

  1. In a medium saucepan bring the milk, water, butter and salt to a boil.
  2. Once butter is completely melted, remove from heat.
  3. Add flour all at once and stir quickly using a beautiful wooden spoon until blended.
  4. Return the pan to heat and stir rapidly until the dough pulls away from the sides of the sauce pan and forms a ball.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool to 140 degrees, about 4-5 minutes.
  6. In a smaller bowl whisk 1 egg, and add it to the cooled dough. (the dough will separate and get shiny after you add each egg, but keep stirring and it turns back into a nice smooth batter). Stir until blended.
  7. Add the remaining eggs, whisking them one at a time, and adding them one at a time. Stirring each until well incorporated.
  8. Let the dough cool for another 10 minutes or so before putting it in your piping (pastry) bag.
  9. Once cooled, fill your piping bag, and for each puff pipe out 1Tbsp of dough (some will call it paste), about 2 inches apart to allow for spreading.
  10. Bake puffs, one sheet at a time, at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until golden brown in color.
  11. Remove the puffs from the oven and immediately poke the sides with a toothpick to let the steam escape. Don’t worry, they will not collapse on you!
  12. Return the tray to the oven, turn the oven off ( leaving the door open) and allow the puffs to dry out for 10-15 minutes.
  13. Let cool completely before filling!

For the whipped cream simply combine the heavy cream, confectioners sugar, vanilla and ground vanilla bean in a bowl and beat on medium-high with hand mixer, or stand up mixer until medium peaks form.

Once the puffs are cool, fill your pastry bag with the whipped cream, and gently insert the tip of the bag into the puff and pipe it full of cream. You will feel the puffs get full, and when you see the cream start to show, you know the puff is full!

These are super fun to make and they are also great for any occasion. A wedding, baby shower, birthday, dessert party, pajama party… literally anytime is a good time for a cream puff!

Happy Baking!