Classic Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Classic Carrot Cake

cake ingredients 

  • 4 Eggs
  • ¾ cup Vegetable Oil
  • ¼ cup Apple Sauce
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Golden Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp Nutmeg
  • 3 cups Carrots, grated
  • 1 cup Pecans or Walnuts, chopped (optional)

frosting ingredients

  • ½ cup Butter, softened
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese
  • 4 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

instructions

  1. Preheat the over to 350˚. Grease and flour two 9″ round cake pans.
  2. In a large bowl beat together eggs, oil, apple sauce, sugars and vanilla.
  3. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. Stir in carrots until just combined. Fold in nuts, if desired.
  5. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack.

Make the frosting:

  1. In a medium bowl, beat the softened butter and cream cheese. In batches, add the sifted powdered sugar, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
  2. Frost the cooled cake.

 

This recipe works very well as cupcakes, cook in muffin tins for 20 – 25 minutes.

Honeycomb Cake Recipe

Honeycomb Cake Recipe

Honeycakes

Registering was one of the very few tasks my now husband and I looked forward to when wedding planning. We spent a lot of time trying to have a registry full of things we needed and wanted, thought were funny or useful, and that reflected our style as a couple. Some things were easy to agree on; we had been lusting over a food processor for years (I wish ‘years’ was an exaggeration, but it’s embarrassingly true). Others were a bit one sided; I picked the sewing machine and he picked the Fred & Friends Ninjabread Men Cookie Cutters>.

And then when we agreed the registry was finished, I then went back and added a bunch of things willy nilly.

It wasn’t that I was out to sabotage our registry with things that I wanted exclusively, it was that I spend more time shopping than Brian, and our registry was running out of items. I had been looking at registries for other couples (everyone we know is getting married these days), and I’d think, “Oh, we could use one of those too,” and find a similar object and add it. Brian worried that this behavior would dilute our registry and that we wouldn’t get the things we really wanted, but in the end we got nearly everything, and now we additionally have some extra items that we never would have bought for ourselves.

Honeycomb Pull-Apart Pan, image care of Williams Sonoma

One of these items is Nordic Ware Honeycomb Pull-Apart Dessert Pan (see it on Amazon here). Brian and I have never been bundt people. It’s not my favorite dessert, and I always think once you have a bundt pan, that particular shape and design becomes your signature bundt. People will recognize it as yours. And it takes up so much space in your cupboard for a single function tool that if I were ever going to own one, I’d have to really love it. After seeing a bundt pan on someone else’s registry, I started browsing through the infinite pans on Amazon. It was fairly easy to tell that Nordic Ware is the best in the biz, so I narrowed down my search and browsed through tea cake pans, pans shaped like castles or roses or bugs. Finally I found the honeycomb pan, and instantly I knew this was our pan.

I still felt a bit silly adding it to the registry. Again, we’re not bundt people. I felt even silier when someone bought it for us (thank you David!!!). I wasn’t even entirely sure what we could make in it, since it is an unusual pan with its dividers. We tried the recipe it came with, which was dry and mealy. While the cake came out exactly as the pictures look, the flavor and texture were so disappointing that the pan moved to the back of our cabinet for some time. If you do ever buy this pan, ignore that recipe. Then, one day, I stumbled upon this recipe for Honey Cornmeal Cake. The ingredients are simple, the instructions are easy, and the whole thing takes very little effort.

And the flavor?

I am going to be this mother. Some mothers make cookies or soup or ratatouille. Some mothers are known for their pie or roast or tamales. My mom is known for caramel corn (heaven).

I am going to be known for Honeycomb Cake. The cake can be served as dessert with whipped honey butter, or as breakfast with jam. It’s moist with great texture from the cornmeal, and it’s just dense enough to be a pull-apart bread rather than a true fluffy cake. The orange zest adds a lovely citrus flavor, and the pan divides it into the perfect sections.

Bee cake

I don’t know what this cake tastes like in a regular pan, I am sure it is fine. But it’s the combination of this recipe and this pan that will have my kids requesting it for special occasions and other mothers clamoring for the recipe (yes, I do live in my own little world).

Also, Brian did get his Ninja Cookie Cutters.

Honeycomb Cake

Makes one cake. Recipe care of Pure Wow, care of Bees & Beans.

Pan: Nordic Ware Honeycomb Pull-Apart Dessert Pan

ingredients

  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup fine grind cornmeal
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1½ teaspoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 5 eggs, at room temperature

instructions

  1. Baking HoneycakePreheat the oven to 325˚. Coat an 8-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the cornmeal until just combined. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar, salt, honey and orange zest until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating fully before adding another. (The batter may start to separate for the last few eggs.) Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake slightly, then remove from the pan, slice and serve.

Plated Honeycake

 

Dark Chocolate Lovecakes Recipe

Dark Chocolate Lovecakes Recipe

frosting banner
Sometimes I like to reflect on my train of thought, and try to remember the pathing from one thought to another. Even more fun? Link pathing. Okay, it’s not as much fun, but at least there is an easily navigable history.

These Lovecakes came from a late night read on Flipboard (my favorite app), which pointed me to this article by the Huffington Post, which led me to stumble upon this recipe by wee eats.

I am naturally skeptical of recipes on the web. They often have typos, rarely have solid reviews, and sometimes have never even been made by the writer. Add to that the expense of high quality ingredients and the high pressure of Valentine’s Day, and I was more than hesitant to try this one out, but after drooling over chocolate recipes for several hours, I finally settled on giving this a go.

The result?

Perfection.

No, wait, let me say that again…

Perfection

PERFECTION.

Seriously.

Throw away all your other chocolate cake recipes, this is the last one you’ll ever need. It’s simply heaven. My coworkers raved the lovecakes, and they were gone before 9AM. Chocolate for breakfast, is there really any other way on Valentine’s Day?

Dark Chocolate Lovecakes

Makes 24 cupcakes. Recipe adapted from wee eats.

lovecake ingredients 

  • 1 3/4 c Flour
  • 2 c Sugar
  • 3/4 c Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 c Buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 c Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 c Coffee, hot

Chocolate frostingfrosting ingredients 

  • 6 oz Dark Chocolate, chopped
  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 1 Egg Yolk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 – 2 c Powdered Sugar, to taste
  • 1 – 2 tbsp Milk
  • Sprinkles

instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line cupcake pan with cupcake tins.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer. After sifting, mix the ingredient on low speed until combined.
  3. In a second bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.
  4. With the mixer on a low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until just combined.
  5. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the coffee to the mixture, being sure to scrap the bottom of the bowl. The mixture will be very thin and runny. This is okay.
  6. Pour the batter into the cupcake tins. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely before making the frosting.
  7. Melt the chocolate in 30 second intervals, stirring between each until completely melted.
  8. Beat the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
  9. Add the egg yolk and vanilla to the butter and beat for 3 minutes. This is where your frosting is going to learn to be fluffy.
  10. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the powdered sugar. The original recipe called for 1 – 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, but I felt like this wasn’t sweet enough. Feel free to vary to your particular taste. I may have even added more than 2 cups in the end. To compensate for my added sugar, I added a tbsp or so of milk to adjust the texture. How sweet should the frosting be? I used the scientific method of dipping my finger first into the butter concoction and then the melted chocolate. Judge me. It worked.
  11. Continuing on low speed, add the chocolate in a steady stream.
  12. Frost the cooled cupcakes immediately. Top with sprinkles.

Natalie at Wee Eats is totally right, these were absolutely better the second day. Be sure to use top quality coffee as the flavor balances the chocolate.

 Yum!

Menu: I Left My Heart in San Francisco

Menu: I Left My Heart in San Francisco

Inspired by our fair city we hosted a San Francisco dinner menu that coupled some familiar comforts with a few surprises and unusual facts. For example, did you know the Bay Area is home to the martini? The Mai Tai? Folgers Coffee? Irish Coffee? Or Pisco Punch? How about the Popsicle? Or Crab Louis?

Our menu was inspired by many San Francisco Food Firsts, and we spent a lot of time researching just the right recipes to mirror the originals–as best as we know how, anyway.

Menu: I Left My Heart in San Francisco

Appetizer
Oysters Kirkpatrick (recipe)
We probably wouldn’t have thought to combine ketchup, clarified butter, crispy pancetta and Parmesan on top of a freshly shucked Blue Point Oyster, but apparently in 1900 Chef Ernest Arbogast of The Palace Hotel did in honor of the Hotel Manager, Colonel John C. Kirkpatrick. Sit back and slurp!

Bread
Dead Duck Bread
Everyone knows that Boudin’s San Francisco Sourdough is legendary, a staple since 1849 and a culinary feat that can only be created here owing to a combination of killer motherdough and a unique climate, so our meal wouldn’t be complete without an attempt. Why do we call it Dead Duck Bread? Ever see About a Boy? Ya…our first attempt wasn’t that great. Neither were the second, third or fourth attempts…can’t make dough rise to save our lives!

Salad

Green Goddess Salad (recipe)
Named after the play, and in honor of the actor George Arliss, The Palace Hotel came up with this dressing combining house made Mayonnaise, sour cream, parsley, scallions, lemon juice, vinegar and anchovies and poured it on a simple bed of lettuce and tomatoes in 1915.

Main Dish


Tadich Grill Cioppino
(recipe)
Also in 1900, Cioppino was invented at Alioto’s. Cioppino is what happens when Italian and Portuguese immigrants have infinite access to cheap seafood. A North Beach favorite, we’ve found a recipe for the Cioppino at Tadich Grill, California’s oldest restaurant and nearly oldest business, operating continuously since 1849.

 

Side Dishes
Rice-A-Roni
(recipe)
“The San Francisco Treat.” After listening to an NPR episode back in 2008 describing how a Canadian woman married to an American working at a pasta factory and living with an Armenian immigrant in San Francisco in 1958 came up with the idea of a rice-based quick to make side dish for Americans, we have wanted to try our hand at it. We’ve taken the original recipe (not the boxed stuff), shared in the memoirs of Pailadzo Captanian, the Armenian lady who took the young couple in, rented them a room, and taught the wife to cook.
Celery Victor (recipe)
A simple but flavorful dish; in 1910 Chef Victor Hertler of the St. Francis boiled celery in a variety of chicken, veal and vegetable stocks, cooled and seasoned with herbs, vinegar and olive oil.

Dessert

Ghirardelli Soft Center Cake (recipe)
In 1849, Domingo Ghirardelli opened his first shop in Stockton, California to sell confections and supplies to miners, but it wasn’t until 1865, and 5 stores later, that someone discovers the a new way to process chocolate, later renamed the “Broma process” in San Francisco where the current Ghirardelli Square still stands. No San Francisco meal would be complete without at least a splash of the world famous chocolate, and we took 60% chocolate bars, melted them with butter, folded them into some whipped eggs, and baked until just solid, but still melty in the middle.


Olive Oil Ice Cream (recipe)
While this dish isn’t world famous yet, San Francisco is famous for  Slow, Organic, Natural, Raw, Local, and Whole foods. We took five amazing ingredients; olive oil, heavy cream, half and half, eggs and sugar and created a creamy concoction that celebrates all that is the San Francisco food movement. We think Alice Waters would be proud. Paired with our chocolate cake and a garnish of blackberries, it was positively sinful!