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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Carrot Cake

My husband gets most of his vegetables from carrot cake. I'm just kidding. But seriously. The Pioneer Woman makes a great recipe - so great that all I changed was that I took out the nuts in the icing. I also find that this makes a little too much cake for one 9 x 13 pan - it rises high and takes too long to cook in the middle. Next time I will halve the recipe in total (batter and icing) and it'll make a shallower cake with a higher icing-to-cake ratio.

For the cake, mix together:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil

Separately, combine:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp each of baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon

Add the flour mixture to the cake and then add 2 cups of grated carrots. Combine and pour into a greased sheet cake pan or Pyrex. Bake at 350 degrees for anywhere from 30-50 minutes (depending on if you used the full recipe and had it in one pan or in two). Mine took even more than 50 minutes to fully cook in the centre. Use the clean toothpick test to confirm it is done.

When it has cooled, spread with this icing:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter
  • 1 package (8 oz) softened cream cheese
  • 1 pound (4 cups) icing sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I have never found a cheesecake in my life before that I liked (some people say that's weird) - and at age 28, I found this one, from One Perfect Bite. I actually ate an entire piece of this to myself, which is a big step for a cheesecake-hater.

I cheated for this one and used a pre-made crust because I saw it for $2 across the line (so cheap!). I also halved the recipe into the portions below because I wasn't sure how it would turn out, and I didn't want to waste 4 packages of cream cheese... and it was the perfect amount. My husband and 2 friends and I devoured it in one evening.

For the cake:

  • 1/8 cup melted butter
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) softened cream cheese
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg

Beat ingredients in order. Once the eggs are added, beat on low until just combined. Take a cup of the mixture and put it aside in a small bowl. Stir the pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg into this smaller amount. Then separate 1/2 cup of this new mixture (spiced pumpkin cream cheese) into another bowl.

Pour the majority of the pumpkin filling over the crust, then top with the plain cream cheese batter. Swirl a knife through this mixture, then drop the remaining pumpkin on top and cut this in as well. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-65 minutes, until top of cake is just set and loses its glossiness. Place a baking sheet of water underneath to provide steam that will help to prevent cracks in the surface (I still have not mastered this, clearly). 

Serve after chilling overnight (or a couple hours in the freezer).