Ehh- What’s up Doc? Carrot Cake!

13 Oct

This week I made carrot cake. I love love loveeeee carrot cake. It tastes so good. And it smells so good. And it seems like the perfect thing to bake to celebrate the start of autumn. I mean, it’s a gorgeous burnt orange colour and it smells of cinnamon and nutmeg. Warm colours and spices always remind me of autumn for some reason.

More reasons why I should bake carrot cake:
1)      I make good carrot cake.
2)      IT’S THAT TIME OF THE MONTH WHERE I CRAVE THINGS AND IF I DON’T GET THEM I WILL BE VERY ANGRY.
3)      My grandma likes carrot cake, so I’m gonna send her some (well she likes anything I make so HAH!)
4)      I really wanted cake. To see what happens if I don’t get cake when I want it, refer to bullet point number two.
5)      My carrot cake is really good.
6)      I mean REALLY good.
7)      Ok, so I might be exaggerating a little. Damn you, tasty cake!

Anyways, on to the recipe! I got this recipe from Canadian Living, and it’s really good.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups grated carrots

The recipe also includes crushed pineapple and chopped pecans. Of course I’m not going to be using the pecans because I hate– let me repeat that- HATE nuts in, on, or anywhere near my cakes. Unless they’re ground so finely and they’re so miniscule that I can’t tell they’re there. Even then, I hate them. I mean one second you’re eating soft, moist, fluffy cake and then- BAM- you get a stupid crunchy nut. Blech. Same goes for nuts in my ice cream. And don’t even get me started on the pineapple. Fruit chunks in my cake? I DON’T THINK SO.

The recipe also includes instructions on how to make cream cheese icing to go with the cake. However, I didn’t have any cream cheese at home, so I didn’t make any. Besides, I was kind of just craving some good old carrot cake, and no icing.

Anyway, here are the directions adapted from the original recipe.

Directions:

Grease and flour a metal cake pan and set it aside. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.

In another bowl, beat together the sugars, eggs, oil, and vanilla until the mixture’s all smooth and stuff.

Pour this mixture over the flour mixture and stir until moistened. Add the carrots.

Spread the batter into your prepared pan.

Bake the cake in the oven for around 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

 

Doing the toothpick check again (this is after I took the cake out of the oven- Yes, I know I'm a freak).

Once the cake is done, let it cool in the pan or on a cake rack. Oh, who am I kidding? Cut yourself a big slice of cake and eat that shit till you’re full. And don’t forget the glass of milk.

Mmmmm look at those crumbs

So I tried to do some food decorating here by sprinkling some nutmeg powder on the plate. Don’t be jealous of my creativeness okay?

 

Remember, the secret to making a good carrot cake is to have it as moist as possible. The most important thing to remember is not to over bake your cake. Once a cake is over baked, it will by dry and dense. For more tips on how to make your cakes moist, read this helpful article at BakingBites.com.

So my cake looked kind of like a hill when it was done baking- it always does. So I searched online for some tips on baking a good cake, and found these, from Pastrywhiz.com.

Tips on baking a good cake:

1)      Preheat your oven. Don’t turn it on right when you’re about to put your cake into the oven.
2)      Bake cake in the center of the oven.
3)      Consider using an oven thermometer to make sure you’ve got the right temperature for your cake.
4)      When the sides of the cake start pulling away from the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, you know your cake is done. I find that my cake is usually done before the recipe says it will be.
5)      Avoid opening your oven multiple times. This can lead to heat escaping and cause your cake to collapse.

Secrets to making a good carrot cake:

Here are some secrets for making a good carrot cake which I got from Sabah Karimi on Yahoo! She has more tips, but these are the ones I used:

1)      Use oil instead of butter. Because this recipe uses oil instead, it makes for a moister cake.
2)      Grate your own carrots instead of buying grated carrots from the store. The freshest ingredients always make for the best cakes, and you won’t end up with weird carrot lumps in your cake.
3)      Use fresh spices. This one really makes a difference. Use spices that have been sitting in your cupboard for less than 6 months so the flavour is vibrant.

And now for a little segment I like to call My Parrot is Stupid:

So after my cake was done, I excitedly went up to my parrot and offered him a piece.

Like this:

I even put it on his stick so he could eat comfortably. And then the stupid parrot started moving away from my cake like “OH IT’S OKAY. I DONT WANT.” And last time I checked, NO ONE SAYS NO TO MY CAKE.

So then I put the piece of cake beside the stupid parrot and told him to eat it.

Next thing you know, the stupid parrot drops the piece of cake and it falls into the cage. So, being the extremely kind and caring owner that I am, I go to get him another piece. And then I come back. TO THIS:

The stupid parrot had chosen a date seed over my cake! I’d never felt so rejected in my life.

So then I was like:

I decided to give up on the stupid parrot. What can I say? Some people just have no idea about what constitutes good food. Yes, I’m talking about you, parrot. That’s right, turn away. Turn away in shame.

Stupid parrot turned around in shame

Anyway, I hope you have fun baking your own batches of delicious carrot cake! Take care and I shall see you soon my little pumpkins!

Cake Bites

29 Sep

This week, I decided to make Cake bites. They’re kind of like truffles except they’re made with cake and icing, and dipped in chocolate. Yeah I know- DELICIOUS. I’ve been dying to make them ever since I first saw them in a YouTube video, and now seemed like the perfect time.

Cake bites are so in right now. Everyone’s making them. Even if you haven’t tried them yet, you’ve probably at least seen them around or heard about them. Most people refer to them as “cake balls,” but my dirty mind just refuses to call them that. I mean, cake balls? Honestly? *Cringe.*

Anyway, back to the recipe. If you want to make cake bites, you’re in luck. You’ll need very few ingredients. Except when it gets time to make the cake bites, things will get a little messy, so roll up your sleeves and let’s get creative!

Ingredients:

  • Already-baked cake (I used chocolate cake mix).
  • One package of store-bought icing
  • Chocolate for dipping
  • Decorating icing, candy, nuts, sprinkles, or any other toppings you want to sprinkle on top

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper (or aluminum foil).

Start off with an already-baked and cooled cake. Crumble the cake into a large bowl.

Add about half the package of icing (I used chocolate icing) and then mix using a large spoon. Keep adding icing until you like the consistency of the mix. I ended up using the entire box. Use your hands to mix until you end up with a dough-like mixture.

Next, take an ice-cream scoop and scoop little balls from the mixture. Shape the balls with your hands till you get that perfect circle-y shape. Of course, I obsessed over the roundness of the balls- they have to be perfectly round to pass the test. Oval-shaped or lumpy balls just won’t work. Anyone else feel like this conversation is starting to get dirty again? *Awkward cough.*

Anyway, back to the cake balls bites. Put your cake bites in the freezer for about 10 minutes, so they firm up a bit and they’re easier to work with. If you’re making a lot of cake bites, only take a few of them out of the freezer at a time.

The cake balls, after they were chilled in the freezer for a bit. They look kind of messed up because I dropped the pan as I was taking it out of the freezer *fail*

Next, melt your dipping chocolate. I melted my chocolate over the stove, by placing the chocolate in a heat proof bowl which I put over a saucepan with simmering water. Or you could melt the chocolate in the microwave. This part was a pain in the butt because the GODDAMN chocolate wouldn’t melt. Well it did, but it was so thick and gooey. Note to self: Next time, get the chocolate melting wafers. The white chocolate melted fine, because I used white chocolate melting wafers, but the semi-sweet chocolate brick refused to melt to a good consistency. So I added some milk to the chocolate to try and thin it out, and it all went downhill from there. The chocolate started becoming dough-like! Trust me, it was not fun to work with.

Dip your cake bites into the chocolate, one at a time. I found it really hard to do this, and also, to get the excess chocolate off. I used a fork to position the bites and a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over them to make sure they were evenly covered.

Place the cake bites on the waxed paper and sprinkle any toppings you want over it. I sprinkled colourful sprinkles over mines. SO CUTE.
Note: Try to do this quickly, before the chocolate dries.
Tip: You can make cake pops instead of cake bites. Simply dip a lollipop stick into the melted chocolate and then insert it into a cake bite before you dip it. To keep the pops standing up, poke a few holes into an upside down carton or cardboard box or use a Styrofoam block and poke the sticks inside.

Once you’re done, place the cake bites back onto the wax paper to dry. Once they’re done drying, INDULGE yourself in chewy chocolate-y goodness. Mmmm. Cake bites, je t‘aime. I loved the soft, fudgy cake-and-icing mixture inside. In my opinion though, they were a bit too sweet.  I couldn’t eat more than one. I think I shouldn’t have added the whole package of icing. Also, next time I will be using chocolate melting wafers instead of a huge-ass brick of chocolate. Honestly, that one mistake kind of ruined my mood while making the cake bites. They were such a pain to make, and I was highly annoyed the whole time. Like superkalafrajalisticespealladiciously annoyed.

Also, I still can’t get over the name “cake balls.” I can’t even say it without giggling like a little girl. And I don’t love calling them “cake bites” either. I don’t know why, but for some reason it seems like they were just meant to have better names to accompany their oh-so-good-ness. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for a name for these things. Please? I’m desperate.

Take care and I’ll see you soon my loves!

Le photos:

 

Red Velvety Velvet Cupcakes!

22 Sep

When I was trying to choose a niche for my blog, I finally chose baking because although I’ve been baking for years, I wanted to try making more complex deserts than before and I thought a baking blog would be the perfect way to motivate myself. Today, I decided to make Red Velvet cupcakes using a recipe given to me by my good friend Khadijha (yes I know she has the same name as me). However, when I actually set out to make the cupcakes, I kind of wished I had picked something simpler to bake. Not only did the list of ingredients look daunting, I had never made Red Velvet cupcakes before, and I didn’t want to screw up. Not when I had to blog about my experience. Surprisingly though, the cupcakes turned out delicious and they weren’t hard to make at all! I totally recommend this recipe to you guys. So if you want to make Red Velvet cupcakes, keep on reading!

Cupcakes Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, softened
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 1/3 cups of cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons of Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of buttermilk*
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of distilled white vinegar
    *You can make your own buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar to milk and letting it stand for about 10 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  •  8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 5 tablespoons of butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar

I’ll be honest. The first thing I thought when my friend showed me this recipe was WHAT THE HELL?   

And then, Oh wells. So I picked my lazy butt up and scoured my house, trying to find all the ingredients. Like the recipe says you can, I made my own buttermilk. Also, I just used any old cocoa powder I could find.

Tip: If you don’t have cake flour, you can make your own. For every 1 cup of cake flour you need, use ¾ of a cup (84 grams) of sifter bleached all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons (15 grams) of cornstarch. I got this tip from The joy of baking.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer for 3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy. Since I don’t have an electric mixer, I had to beat that shit by hand *flexes arm.*

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated into the mix. Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go.

In a large bowl, sift together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla extract, and red food coloring.

Now here’s where we get into the really technical stuff. Okay, so you’re going to add 1/4 of the dry ingredients and mix, then add 1/3 of the wet. Continue adding the ingredients in a dry, wet, dry pattern, ending with the dry ingredients.

Next, scoop the mixture into the cupcake moulds, filling them ½ to ¾ of the way up. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. I found a crumb on my toothpick after I poked it into one of the cupcakes, so I shoved the pan back into the oven. I’m a little obsessive like that.

If you want, you can rotate the pan after the first 15 minutes of baking to ensure even baking of your cupcakes. But we don’t do that. We’re rebels.

Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. I didn’t have a wire rack so I just put them on a large platter.

Frosting Directions:

Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer (if you have one- HMPH!). Beat the mixture on medium-high speed until it’s well combined, which should take you about 2-3 minutes. Keep mixing everything until it’s all nice looking and stuff, and then increase the speed and then beat it some more until it’s all super smooth.

Next, take the icing and frost your cupcakes. You can do this part however you wish. I like to lick my fingers and then dip them in the icing and spread it on the cupcakes. It’s like my personal touch.

Ta-Da! And now you have a batch of royally red, scrumptious and delicious Red Velvet cupcakes. This was my first time making Red Velvet anything, so I’m proud of myself. These babies actually turned out pretty good. Mmmmm. Except, these aren’t exactly working with my diet. Shhhhh…

Pictures (try not to drool all over your keyboard):

Pink sprinkles! And you can see my homework in the background.

This is what I do to cupcakes when they're done modeling for the camera- SMASHHH EM!

And a heart for the lovely readers : ) (I made this on our glass kitchen table, hence it looks like a floating heart)

Take care, and I’ll see you soon my little Cuppycakes!