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By Heather Harris Brady
I’ve featured a carrot cake before, with coconut and crushed pineapple, but when I saw this one in Cooking Light I had to give it a try. The browned butter adds a nice depth, and it does get better over the second and third days. I made some adjustments to the original recipe.
Make sure you use larger carrots for this recipe, the ones they typically sell in the bulk section for juicing work well. The small baby carrots just don’t have enough flavor.
If you have a pretty fluted bundt pan now’s the time to use it! I apologize for the weird capitalization, my iPad always gets fussy with blogging.
Carrot Cake with Browned Butter, Makes one 12″ bundt cake
1 stick of butter
1/3 c. Olive oil
1 c. Granulated sugar
2 t. Vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 c. Greek yogurt
1-1/2 t. Cinnamon
2-1/2 t. Baking powder
1/2 t. Baking soda
1/2 t. Fresh ground cardamom
2 c. Carrots, finely grated
2 c. White whole wheat flour
1 c. Un bleached all-purpose flour
1/3 c. Milk
3 T. 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
2-1/2 c. Confectioner’s sugar
1 t. Milk
1/2 t. Vanilla
Put the butter in a saucepan on medium heat and stir. It will melt, bubble and eventually foam up. As soon as it starts to turn brown (the milk solids in the butter are what will be browning), take it off the heat. Let it cool to room temperature and then preheat the oven to 350.
Put the browned butter in a mixing bowl. Beat in the oil, sugar and vanilla. Then beat in the eggs one at a time. I used a wooden spoon but you can do it with a mixer if you like. Stir in the white whole wheat flour, then half the yogurt, the cinnamon and the cardamom.
Add the rest of the flour, the rest of the yogurt, the baking powder, the baking soda, and the milk.
You should have a thick batter. It might seem a little too thick to you, but that’s okay! We’re adding a lot of moisture with the carrots.
Fold in the carrots.
Spread the batter in a greased baking pan.
Check it at 40 minutes. Your tester should have moist crumbs.
While the cake is cooling make the glaze. Combine the sugar, vanilla and cream cheese in a bowl.
Drizzle in the milk and whisk until you have the desired glazing consistency.
Put the cake on a serving plate and pour the glaze over the top.
I garnished this one with some flakes of coconut and chopped candied pecans.
Store the cake in the refrigerator, loosely covered.
by Heather Harris Brady
It may be a lot sunnier where you are but here after the holidays come the long, gray days of January. To brighten things I like to try new, fun things – especially where dessert is concerned. I made these to surprise my daughter one night at dinner, and she had fun putting them together with me. They would be great with mint ice cream, or any of the pretty colors, but being the girl she is she picked chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate! (She takes after me 😉
If you need a lot of these I would double the batter to allow for breakage. A lot will depend on your oven and how it gets, as well as how quick you can get these off the sheet and formed.
Chocolate Tacos, Makes about 8
For the shells:
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3 T. dark cocoa (I use Hershey’s Special Dark.)
1 t. cornstarch
1/4 t. salt
3 T. egg whites (about three whites)
1 t. 2% reduced-fat milk
1/4 t. vanilla extract
For the glaze:
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli 60%)
1 t. butter
For the filling:
1 pint ice cream
Preheat oven to 400°.Combine first 5 ingredients, stirring well.
Stir in egg whites, milk, and vanilla.
Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Spoon 1 tablespoon batter into each corner, forming a circle with the back of a spoon.
Bake at 400° for about 6 minutes. You have to find the time when the shells are bendable but cooked. It’s better to take them out too soon than wait too long, too long and they won’t bend at all. You’ll have sandwiches instead! Anyhoo, rush them out of the oven and bend them right away. Let them cool and repeat with the rest of the batter.
When you’ve baked all the shells melt the chips with the butter and stir smooth. Dip the edges of the shells. We drizzled the extra over the top. You’ll notice that I lost three shells – mostly to breakage because I left the first batch in too long.
Fill the shells with scoops of ice cream and return them to the freezer for 30 minutes before serving.
When ready to serve plate each taco, drizzle a little more fudge or topping for sauce and some coconut for fun.
These may made a week ahead, wrapped airtight and kept in the freezer.
by Heather Harris Brady
Now I like a good four-page recipe probably more than the next girl, but there are times when you have to come up with something FAST. You found a slip at the bottom of the school backpack asking you to bring in something for the bake sale/party, you’ve been invited to a tailgate, or you just need cake like NOW.
This recipe is for those times. If you can stir you can make it. I promise. If you’re an experienced baker it’s still a lovely thing to throw together for a treat after working all day. It keeps well, it’s moist and velvety and it has that irreplaceable homemade thing going. It would also make a great Halloween dessert, just bake it in a round and drizzle a spider web-ish design in chocolate over the top. Boom.
Pumpkin Cake, Makes one 8″ cake or about 12 cupcakes
- 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
- 2 eggs
- 2 c. flour
- 2/3 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. oil
- 1 t. fresh ground ginger
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1 t. baking powder
- 1/2 t. baking soda
- 4 oz 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
- 3 T. soft butter
- 1 t. milk
- 1 t. vanilla
- 2 c. powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the pumpkin, eggs, sugar and oil. Stir together well.
Stir in the spices.
Then the flour, baking soda and baking powder.
Spread it evenly in a greased baking dish.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until the center springs back to the touch. Set it aside to cool to room temperature.
While the cake is cooling make the frosting. Combine the powdered sugar, butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl.
Beat in the vanilla and the milk. Add a little milk if you need it to reach the desired consistency. Beat for two minutes.
Spread the icing on the cooled cake.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
I sprinkled some candied nuts on top.
Keep leftovers refrigerated, and lightly covered.
by Heather Harris Brady
Believe it or not, I woke up a few days ago thinking about coconut snowballs. Now mind you, the last time I actually had a Hostess snoball I was probably also gazing dreamily at my Duran Duran poster and Nick’s purple eyeshadow. I knew I wasn’t after an actual duplicate, but rather the experience of cutting down through that pristine exterior to find amazing chocolate cake underneath.
Dorie Greenspan, because she is my spirit baker (like a spirit animal, but you know, a baker), understands such things. So much so that she has almost exactly that on the cover of her Baking cookbook. I’ve adapted her cake recipe here, covered it in an old-fashioned seven-minute frosting, and then coating the whole thing in coconut.
Unlike their inspirational counterparts these aren’t for keeping, you have to make them and eat them up shortly thereafter because the icing can get sticky in humidity. You’ll want to eat them right away anyway, the chocolate cake is meltingly delicious inside the fluffy frosting.
Coconut Snowballs, Makes six individual desserts
- 3/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/3 c. unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- 1/4 t. baking soda
- 1/4 t. baking powder
- 5 T. butter, softened
- 1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 t. vanilla extract
- 1 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
- 1/4 c. buttermilk
- 1/4 c. hot strong coffee
- 1/3 c. mini chips
- Frosting (recipe below)
- 2-1/2 c. fine shredded coconut
Combine the first four ingredients together and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350. Put the sugars and butter in a mixing bowl, cream well.
Add the egg and beat well, until very light and fluffy, about three minutes.
Beat in the melted chocolate, then add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Beating well after each addition.
Lastly, fold in the coffee, followed by the mini chips.
Spoon the batter into six ramekins. (I had to bake mine in two batches.)
Bake for about 10 minutes, until puffed and just firm to the touch in the center.
Turn them out to cool. They will fall slightly but that’s okay!
While the cakes are cooling make the icing.
Frosting (from King Arthur Flour)
- 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 1/3 c. cold water
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 t. light corn syrup or 1/4 t. cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In the top of a double boiler, combine the sugar, water, egg whites, corn syrup or cream of tartar, and the pinch of salt. Beat with an electric mixer set at low speed for 30 seconds, then set the pan over boiling water (the pan shouldn’t touch the water).
Beating at high speed, cook the frosting for about 7 minutes, or until it’s stiff and glossy. Remove it from the heat, add the vanilla, and beat an additional 2 minutes.
Put each cake right side up on a plate and cover it with frosting, mounding it on top to get a half-spherical shape.
Sprinkle coconut on to cover and put the finished cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
by Heather Harris-Brady
Local apples are starting to come in and I made this cake as a way to use up some of the beautiful Gingergolds I picked up. Gingergolds are a cross between Golden Delicious and Newton Pippins. They are a lovely golden green:
with a gorgeous sweet-tart flavor and crisp bite. These apples are not built for long-term storage, so you have to enjoy them early in the season. I decided to pair them with a mix of spices, sugar and local honey. The recipe below is based on Eliza Acton’s classic gingerbread recipe from the 1800s, with a few tweaks of my own.
Gingergold Cake, Makes one 9″ cake
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 c. molasses
- 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
- 1/3 c. honey
- 2 T. ground ginger (Not powdered, actual ground gingerroot)
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 1/2 t. allspice
- Zest of one lemon (important!)
- 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 c. light wholewheat flour
- 6 T. butter, melted
- 1/2 c. buttermilk
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1/2 t. baking powder
- Four Gingergold apples, cleaned and chopped in a fine dice, set aside in acidulated water
- Whipped cream or ice cream, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 and put the eggs in a mixing bowl. Beat them until light and frothy.
Beat in the sugars.
Then beat in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and butter. Beat until well-combined, then beat in the buttermilk. Lastly, beat in the wholewheat flour.
You should have a thick, creamy batter.
Fold in the apples and pour the batter into a greased 9″ cake pan.
Bake for about 35 minutes, until golden brown. The center should spring back when touched lightly.
Serve warm or at room temperature, plain or dressed up. This cake is a good keeper, and I think it’s actually better on the second day. Store any leftovers wrapped, freeze for storage longer than a few days.