Posts Tagged ‘baking’

Baking Aftermath

August 30, 2009

I didn’t end up taking the sugar-free cookies to the church at all – when I went to plate them up on Saturday morning they’d turned into hideous blogs of soggy cardboardish nothingness with a super-strong artificial-sweetener flavour overnight and all they were fit for was the trash can! So that was one thing less to plate up… But the rest of my goodies were all fine and ready to be boxed up.

brownie container

I didn’t have a container or basket big enough to hold five pans of brownies, and I didn’t have time to go to the store to try to buy one, so I improvised. I cut down a (new) mailing box and covered it with (also new) wrapping paper, taped down well… then I made a liner for it from two foil pans cut down and taped together. It worked really well. It kept the brownies off the cardboard and let me stack them up really nicely so they were easy to carry.

full brownie container

The cookies were all piled up in a big ice tub that I bought for the occasion… I toss the spice cookies, sugar cookies and snickerdoodles randomly in the middle because they’re all basically sugar-cookies and they all looked pretty much the same, and then I stacked the oatmeal cookies up around the edges of the tub.

cookies

I picked up the leftover brownies and cookies from the church this morning. There were 100 people at the funeral, and they ate half of the goodies I took along. The sugar-free apple slice must have been really popular because there wasn’t any of it left over (or else somebody liked it enough to take it home, which is fine with me too, because it wouldn’t keep and we don’t eat sugar-free stuff ourselves) and I don’t have a photo of it. I divided the leftover brownies in half and put half into the church freezer for morning teas, and brought the rest home for us. I left most of the cookies in the church freezer too and just brought enough home for us to have some. They’ll provide morning tea for church for the next month, and I’m sure they’ll taste a lot nicer than the icky grocery store ‘donut holes’ they usually serve.

All in all, it was a good experience. I enjoy baking, and it was good to do something for the church… we’re having a Revival next month and I’ve already volunteered to do the baking for the suppers, so this was practice! Now I have an idea of how much I’ll need to make for that (the same amount as this, but divided over four nights, not all produced at once. If I have one tray of brownies and one kind of cookie each night, I’m sure it’ll go down well.)

Advertisements

Friday Feasting – Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting!

August 22, 2009

Carrot cake is one of those cakes that seems very complicated because it has a TON of ingredients, but when you put everything together it’s actually very simple… and since it has a vegetable in it you can pretend that it’s healthy! My starting point was the Carrot Pineapple Cake 1 from allrecipes.com. I was making carrot cakes for two households so I basically doubled the recipe – the recipe as listed on allrecipes makes one large cake, not three small ones.

Firstly, assemble your laundry list of ingredients. Not everything I used is actually shown in the picture because I added a few extra things as I went along. But most of the ingredients are here –
carrot cake

Get a large mixing bowl and put your dry ingredients into it. That includes the flour, sugar, salt, spices, and raising agent (this particular recipe uses baking powder AND baking soda.) Mix everything together really well. My mix is extra-brown because I used brown sugar, but you can use white if you prefer.
carrot cake

Make a small well in the middle of the mixed dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients – eggs, melted butter and/or oil (I used one stick of butter and 1/4 cup corn oil) and vanilla.
carrot cake

I don’t like to use a lot of fat or oil in my cooking, so I cut down on the quantities suggested (1 cup of oil for one cake sounds like an enormous amount to me!) and I substituted an individual container of applesauce and a mashed banana (we happened to have a really ripe banana needing to be used.) Mashed fruit adds sweetness and moistness to a cake and cuts the fat requirement in half.
carrot cake

When I’d added the mashed fruit, I realised that the mixture was WAY too dry, so I added some apple juice to moisten it up. If you wanted you could use pineapple juice or milk or even water… any type of liquid will work.
carrot cake

Next, add your fruit. Carrot cake can have any of all of the following fruits added to it – crushed pineapple (don’t drain it, use the juice in the cake), raisins or sultanas, grated coconut and nuts… I don’t really like coconut in carrot cake so I used a cup of raisins and 1/2 a big tin of pineapple. Whichever you want to use, mix it into the cake to taste.
carrot cake

Now for the fun part… it’s not a carrot cake without carrot in it! So grab a bunch of carrots and start prepping. You can use a food processor to do this very quickly, but I did it the old-fashioned way. You want to end up with about 2 cups of grated carrot per cake.
carrot cake

My kitchen supervisor had to approve the recipe at this point. Tessie thinks I put that chair on the other side of the kitchen counter just for her – cats are strictly prohibited from being on the kitchen counter and they know it (if we catch them up there they get sprayed with the water bottle!) But she loves to stand on the arm and to watch me working in the kitchen… after all, there might be something in it for her!
carrot cake

Oops… almost forgot to add the nuts. I don’t like walnuts so I used pecans. Just crumble them into the cake mix and stir them in. Pecans are so soft that they’re easy to break up with your hands.
adding nuts

Divide the cake mix into your pans. I was making cakes to give away so I used three disposable foil pans because it was simpler… and I stood them on baking trays to avoid any potential disasters in the oven.
carrot cake

Then I baked them at 350F for thirty minutes… then I swapped the trays around so that they could get equally heated, and I baked them for another 20 minutes or so. The end result? Delicious!
carrot cake

I would have been happy to eat the cake just like that… but that’s not the end of it. As DH pointed out to me, carrot cake just isn’t the same without cream cheese frosting on it! Fortunately, frosting is very easy to make. All you need is a packet of cream cheese, some confectioners sugar (or icing sugar, they’re the same thing) and some vanilla. Butter is optional depending on how much cream cheese you happen to have available… Soften the cream cheese in a bowl – the quick-and-easy way to do this is to put it into the microwave for 10-15 seconds. And then squish it and stir it until it’s smooth and creamy.
carrot cake

Then add your confectioners sugar a bit at a time and keep stirring until you have enough frosting for your cakes. In the end it should look something like this.
carrot cake

Dollop it onto your cakes and smooth it around with the back of the spoon until you like the way it looks, then put the cake into the fridge to set.
carrot cake

And there you are… your carrot cake is done. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week and still taste good… if you can make it last that long!
carrot cake