Sunny Carrot Cake

It’s been awhile… I understand.. truly I do.. I have over 150 recipes backlogged to share with you. What’s a girl to do! They are all nicely organized with notes and the date, somehow they just never get typed up and shared like they are supposed too! I think part of it is the fact I was living off my Ipad and another part was I had no real dedicated place to type everything up. Well, everything is changing on both counts since I may or may not have made the decision to head back to school. Hence, the necessity of new computer (I’m loving this HP envy) and I am revamping the “office” (previously a catch all) to a space where I can (and want to) be productive. I already ordered a beautiful new desk which is awaiting assembly (Any volunteers? No? It’s ok, I see how it is…) Anywho, since writing is quickly going to be becoming part of my life, I hope sharing a recipe more often will become the norm once again…at least, that’s the plan. I will be sure to share photos of my new space when its finished.

Moving on, I still try my best to keep up with my groups, Sunday with Joy, Daring Kitchen, Tuesdays with Dorie, and the cook out of Midwestern Table and Lick the Bowl Clean. Have no fear as if with all that I wouls ever have a loss for recipes my library is growing at an alarming rate only fellow book lovers would find comforting…I’m trying not to mourn the loss of contact with my beloved culinary literature with all this math (currently) and nursing (future) stuff, but when I have gotten back into my kitchen it has been all the more rewarding!

Enough right? Just give the recipe hey? (picky picky…FINE) :). I’m sharing a recipe which my coworkers really enjoyed on Easter Eve (is that a thing.. have you ever thought about it..Christmas Eve, New Years Eve,…sorry just wondering) Anyways, I definitely received no complaints about this carrot bundt that is part of our Sundays with Joy Group. I love the fact that it has coconut and pineapple added-we are in Florida after all. I discarded the raisins (not a huge fan) and instead, subbed dried cherries. I also did not add nuts, some coworkers are allergic. I was a little concerned that the center was not cooked through but it ended up turning out beautifully.

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Sunny Carrot Cake

Adapted from Kitchen Sink Carrot Cake

3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
3 large eggs plus one egg yolk
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 3/4 cup sunflower oil or veggie oil
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
2 1/4 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup sweetened grated coconut
1/3 cup dried cherries

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and ensure you have a rack centered for your cake.
– Prepare a Bundt pan with bakers joy. (The pan should have a 10 or 12 cup capacity)
– In a large bowl combine the first six ingredients (the flour through the ginger), and whisk thoroughly.
– In a separate large bowl combine eggs and both sugars. Whisk until well combined.
– Continue by adding the oil of your choosing followed by both extracts and the pineapple. Stir until combined evenly.
– Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together until 75% combined.
– Add the carrots, coconut, and dried cherries, and fold until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
– Pour into pan and place in oven for 35 to 45 minutes. (Mine went 50 minutes though).
– When tester comes out relatively clean go ahead and let it cool in it’s pan for 10 – 15 minutes. Then invert on cooling rack until completely cool before frosting it…. (You don’t want that frosting to melt!)

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I did not use Joy’s cream cheese frosting. Feel free to use your favorite cream cheese frosting to finish it off. I added some cinnamon to mine and it seemed to balance out the sweetness perfectly. If you like nuts and are not concerned about allergies, I actually was toying with throwing in 1/4 cup of chopped hazelnuts or chopped black walnuts. If I used walnuts I was also toying with subbing in some walnut oil for some of the veggie oil….just some “food for thought” ;).
As always,
Dream. Bake. Believe.
Love, Steffie

Amazing Chocolate Cake

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of making a 16th birthday cake for my hubby’s cousin Rachael. (As an aside ….16?!!!!!! whhhaat.. She was 8 when we met!!! 8! Now she’s all young women and I am left wondering how the heck all that time slipped past me..) I was told the party would be a neon glow in the dark party. COOOOLLL!. It turned out fantastically. Just had to share some pics because I think it was beautiful!

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I just love Aunt Sheila’s house and so does my hubby. It’s beautiful and peaceful but, more importantly, we are positively in love with the company there. Jesse and I refer to it as our safe place. Without question it’s one of our favorite places to be. I was so happy to be able to help out. She requested a chocolate cake. I received this recipe from Aunt Sheila. As I understand it is a friend’s family recipe, but let me just clarify that I’m adopting it lol. It is absolutely incredible and without a doubt will be my go to recipe for chocolate cake. I had to share it!

Amazing Chocolate Cake
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
3 large eggs (room tempurature)
2 1/2 tespooons pure vanilla extract
6 tablespons unslated butter
1 cup hot coffee

- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray and line three 8″ round cake pans and set aside.
– In a small bowl, place butter in hot coffee to melt, stir to combine
– In the bowl of your stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
– In a small bowl whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla extract.
– Beat half of the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture until combined.
– Follow by beating half the coffee into the flour mixture.
– Repeat with second half of buttermilk and butter mixtures until everything is combined.
– At this point you may be frantically rereading the ingredients and instructions..why?.. because you may be thinking you positively missed something…. you didn’t…. this cake batter is suppossed to be runny.. It’s scary I know, but just go wih it.
– Divide the (liquid) batter between the three cake pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes (Rotate those pans about half way through!)
– They are done when the edges have pulled away from the pan and the top springs back… of course the toothpick test will also work here.
TAHDAH!

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To make the cake above I made the entire chocolate cake recipe three times. Instead of dividing the batter between three 8″ pans, I divided it between 1 -10″, 1-8″, and 1-6″ for every batch. Thusly 9 layers total. Now the frosting is a different story all together….Did I love it? Yes. HEAVEN ON EARTH. Did I hate its ever loving guts? Yes…..It is a french meringue buttercream. The recipe can be found in *&^^% book. It’s the one in the back for 150 people. Yea….It’s a total brat…the simple syrup…. the egg whites… the temperatures…I made the chocolate variation and I doubled it! I have only made it this once so I don’t feel comfortable YET, walking anyone through it….I used raspberry vodka for the liqueur and I decreased it to a quarter cup per batch… SO, this is what buttercream for 300 people looks like……

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That would be 20 sticks of butter and 24 eggs worth. I was DANG proud I had succeeded in making it. But, as many of you may have seen on Facebook, it holds a secret…..When and if you refrigerate it (or freeze it), it needs to be COMPLETELY (COMPLETELY COMPLETELY COMPLETELY) at room temperature when you rebeat it. Otherwise that beautiful supple buttercream you worked so hard to create, will flip you off, stick it’s tongue out you, proceed to have a temper tantrum, and fall totally and completely apart. I mean completely apart….. BRAT BRAT BRAT…. Thankfully I was able to salvage enough to make the cake. In reality I probably only needed one and a half of the recipe instead of double. You live and learn. I’m really not counting this frosting out. I totally think we can still be friends. I’m just holding a bit of a grudge right now! There is actually a frosting and filling recipe that came with the cake recipe and I’m all in for that one next time!
All in all, the party was a blast for all involved as evidenced by this picture taken the next morning.

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Everyone seemed to like the cake, but more importantly Rachael liked the cake. ( Thats all that matters!)
So Happy Birthday Girlie!…

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Dream. Bake. Believe.
Love, Steffie

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