March 25, 2008

Happy Anniversary Carrot Cake!

our wedding date in a cake!

Casey and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary last week! I made him a cake to celebrate! Carrot Cake is our number one FAVORITE cake. I decided to try the recipe from The Magnolia Bakery cookbook my neighbor gave me.

The cake turned out FANTASTIC! It was the first time I used pineapple in a carrot cake and I really enjoyed the result. I did not use the toasted coconut though…I thought it might take away from the carrot flavor.   If you end up trying it with the coconut, lemme know how it is!!!

outta the oven

For the Cake Part:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (canola is preferred)
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups lightly packed shredded carrots
  • One 8oz. can crushed pineapple in it’s own juice-with juice
  • 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut (I omitted this part)
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped toasted pecans  (1 cup for the garnish and 1 cup for cake batter)

To toast the pecans, place on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool

Preheat Oven 325 degrees.

Grease and lightly flour two 9×2 inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with wax paper. (I used Pam instead and it worked just fine!)

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the oil and sugar together. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until light & thick (about 2 minutes). Add the vanilla and beat well. Gradually add the dry ingredients, beating until well incorporated.  Stir in the carrots, pineapple (with it’s juice), 1 cup of pecans and coconut (if you decide to use it). Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pan for 1 hour. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

frosting pit

For the Cream Cheese Frosting Part:

  • 2 8oz. packages of cream cheese (softened and cut into little pieces)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened and cut into little pieces)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar (I used a heaping 4 cups cuz I don’t like it tooo sweet!)

In a large bowl, on the medium speed beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth (about 3 minutes). Add the vanilla and beat well. Gradually add the sugar, 1 cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Cover and refrigerate the frosting for 2-3 hours to thicken before using. Do not keep it in the fridge any longer or it will be too hard to frost!

i over frosted inside...what else is new??

When the cake has cooled, ice between the layers, then ice the top and the sides of the with the Cream Cheese Frosting. Put the toasted chopped pecans around the edges. Tada!

get my fork NOW!

I quickly gave half of the cake to my neighbors.  There’s no way that cake would have lasted under our supervision! You’ll see what I mean….

March 20, 2008

breakfast is important

yesterday AM- breakie to go!

this morning

Breakfast Wednesday & Thursday of this week pictured above.

Every morning when I’m not quite awake…I dream about breakfast….It’s what sets my day off (right). Although this morning I almost chose carrot cake instead of toast. That would be so bad but GOOD!

good morning!

March 19, 2008

please pause for a brief intermission….

holy shit


March 10, 2008

another weekend past….

there was a trip to half moon bay area to spend time with family….

driving to half moon bay

an afternoon snack of Toby’s Tofu Pâté & Newman’s Own Pretzel Rods

toby's tofu pâté with pretzel rods

an early wakeup inspired me to get treats for our coffee….they were demolished…..

breakfast residue

spent time in the sun and made a very summery meal because it felt like that time of year…

tonight's dinner


hope you all had a great weekend too!

March 9, 2008

i love you, spring

love the yellow bits


hello friends

blossom party!

March 8, 2008

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Channeling Summer!

My parents were in Maui for a month! (lucky…..)  While they were away, I talked to my mom on the phone and she told me about the most wonderful Pineapple Upside Down Cake her friend made her.   I had to try it!

The recipe comes from one of our favorite restaurants in Maui- The Hali’imaile General Store.

mmmm pineapple.

I made this cake for the second-to-last Project Runway night at my house.  It was pretty simple to whip up and sooo scrumptious!  I had to give  away leftovers because I was too afraid to have that caramel beauty resting innocently on my kitchen counter.  You’ll see what I mean if you make it….

Pineapple Upside Down Cake (Beverly Gannon’s Recipe)

For the Cake:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar  (original recipe called for 2 cups which made it way too sweet my mom said)
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

Caramel Pineapple Topping:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 fresh pineapple cored and sliced (or 12 slices of canned pineapple rings)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

To prepare cake batter: Sift all dry ingredients together.  Combine milk, egg yolks and vanilla.  Soften butter to room temperature.  In a mixer, add butter to dry ingredients and mix slightly.  Scrap the sides of the bowl and continue to mix.  Gradually add the egg yolk mixture.  Mix until smooth.

To prepare the caramel: Melt butter to boiling.  Add sugar.  Mix until smooth and mixture is a light brown color.

Cut 12 slices of pineapple (or use canned slices like I did).  Pour the caramel mixture in an ungreased 12″x3″ round metal pan.  Layer the slices of pineapple on top of the caramel.  Next, pour the cake batter on top of the caramel and pineapple slices.  Leave about 1″ of room at the top of the pan to allow the cake to rise.  Bake for 35 minutes. Rotate and continue to bake for an additional 15 minutes or until center is cooked. Let rest in the pan for 15 minutes.  Invert slowly on the plate you intend to serve in on.  DIG IN!

pineapple upside down cake

This recipe makes one cake.  I didn’t have a 12″x 3″ pan, so I used a 9″x 3.”  I used about 3/4 of the caramel and 3/4 of the cake batter and it seemed to work fine.  You will also notice that I only used 7 of the pineapple slices.  I think the next time I make this (which is soon) I will try using a rectangular pan or a square pan.  The slices might look even better if they are perfect little squares.

I topped each slice with a little dose of Haagen-Dazs vanilla bean ice cream. Joyous!

love at first slice

The cake is a perfect combo of dense and fluffy! It’s the baking powder that does it!  Hope you love it too…and I hope that you get to channel some summer in your home.

March 3, 2008

i’m here- i swear

I’ve been hibernating from the computer the past few weeks (you might have noticed). I’m here now—I swear. Look for some treats soon. I’m gonna have something sweet share! I’m off to get some rest though…. See you soon!

missed you!