Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Cake, Desserts, Food

Whole Grain Pineapple Carrot Cake

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Recently, I presented a home food preservation workshop and I asked all in attendance to bring along a favorite recipe for a potluck lunch. One of the items on the table was a moist, dense carrot cake. This bundt cake was presented beautifully on a footed platter with a light glaze that flowed down the sides of the dessert. I neglected to ask the gentleman that made the cake to share his recipe so I quickly searched the web for a similar treat when I returned home that day. I looked up a few great looking recipes and combined a few that I liked. This is what I came up with.
This is a doozy of a cake, great for the upcoming holidays. Enjoy!

Whole Grain Pineapple Carrot Cake

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup oil
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup unsweetened crushed canned pineapple, drained
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt cake pan. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add oil, sugar, and eggs; mix well.
Stir in remaining 4 ingredients. Bake in prepared bundt cake pan for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack. Frost as desired.

I sent a little care package off to my children with a few yummy baked goods. This is a great idea for a co-worker or support staff gift.

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Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Cake, Chocolate, cookies, Desserts, Food

Devilishly Delicious Brownies

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I must admit, I often use a boxed mix when baking brownies. While it seems relatively easy to open a box and pop in a few ingredients, the result is never quite as delicious as the “made from scratch” product. This brownie recipe is quite easy as it combines a few simple ingredients and is truly delicious. The four, lightly beaten eggs help create a cake-like texture with a moist, fudgy interior. The chocolate chips are a wonderful (partially melted) surprise. So, if you’re looking for a quick fix as you move through the stressful holiday season, this recipe just might fit the bill. I must caution you though, these babies are devilishly delicious!

Devilishly Delicious Brownies

1 cup butter, melted
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 13X9″ baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Combine butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add eggs and mix well. In a medium bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, and salt together. Combine flour mixture and the egg mixture; mix just until batter is combined. Stir in chocolate morsels. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish. Bake until inserted toothpick comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely before cutting. Lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Posted in appetizers/snacks, Baked goods, Baking, breakfast, Cake, Desserts, Food, Gardening

Apricot Snacking Cake with Crunchy Flax Topping

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The view out my window teams with an array of fall colors. The season’s best; deep golden yellow, burgundy red, and burnt sienna cover the trees as the leaves slowly fall and the cooler temperatures usher in the Midwest climate change.

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I stepped outside a few minutes ago, to enjoy another beautiful autumn Sunday. As I made my way across the deck, I was greeted by the aroma of a wood fire. Neighbors in the area are taking advantage of their fire pits as they rake leaves and clean up garden beds for it is time we put the backyard to sleep for the coming winter months.

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A fitting autumn treat, Apricot Snacking Cake, bakes in the oven as we hope to enjoy a relaxed evening munching on this delicious, pudding-like, dessert with a few scoops of vanilla ice cream. (Even better, a steamy cup of tea will accompany this scrumptious autumn treat just perfectly.) I’m hoping the mild temperatures will hold on as the autumn sun begins to set. What a delight it might be if we can enjoy this delicious dessert outdoors as the soft breezes blow and the leaves delicately dance to the ground.
Afterwards, I’ll slice up the left over cake into serving-sized squares and pack it in an airtight container to make for a quick morning bite, as we hurry out the door to start another busy work week.

Apricot Snacking Cake with Crunchy Flax Topping

1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, beaten
2 12 oz. cans apricot pie filling (I use Solo brand)
1 serving sized packet – steel cut instant oatmeal with flax

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray with cooking spray, a 9×13 baking pan.
In large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Make a well in the center and stir in the oil, eggs and pie filling. Stir until well combined. Spoon batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with one serving sized packet of instant oatmeal.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until cake tests done. Drizzle with icing, if desired.

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Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, Cake, Desserts, Food, holiday

Old Fashioned Vanilla Pound Cake

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You probably recognize this cake shape from an earlier post. Yup, it’s the Mickey Mouse cake mold that we purchased in Disney World a couple of weeks ago. My twins, M and P just celebrated a birthday and M requested this delicious vanilla pound cake with cream cheese icing and strawberry topping. I usually use this recipe to make my Easter Lamb Cake. I use a special two-piece mold for a three dimensional cake. I am happy to say that this flat mold worked out just as well. Follow the recipe below for instructions to fill a more traditional pan size. A good rule of thumb when using a pan other than suggested in the recipe is to make sure that you don’t fill the pan too high or you’ll have a real mess on your hands! The pan will often overflow or you’ll end up with a lopsided, domed cake that often needs to be shaved down for a uniform shape. For a moist, dense cake, try to set your kitchen timer a few minutes less than the suggested time so that you can check out the cake before it becomes too well done. Ovens vary in temperature so get to know your oven. This way, you can avoid an over-baked cake that will most likely end up dry and crumbly. I must admit, this is a great pound cake recipe. I hope you have a chance to try this old fashioned favorite. It’s certainly isn’t a figure friendly recipe but it’s sure to please when baking for a special occasion.

Old Fashioned Vanilla Pound Cake

2 2/3 cups sugar
2 cups butter
8 eggs
8 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 1/2 cups cake flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Separate the yolks from the egg whites. Reserve the yokes. In a stainless steel bowl, beat the whites to form stiff peaks.
In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter thoroughly. Beat in egg yolks. Stir in milk, vanilla and almond extract. Add flour, 1 cup at a time. Carefully, fold in egg whites. Pour batter into well greased 10″ tube pan and bake for 90 minutes. Cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting. Optional: Top with fresh fruit before serving.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Cake

St. Patty’s Day Pistachio Pudding Cake

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This weekend we celebrated the holiday with the South Side Irish, St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Chicago. We attended the Annual St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon/Carry In and celebrated the holiday with family, friends and neighbors. Every year, I bring along a big tray of Mary’s Irish Scones and this delicious Pistachio Pudding Cake. It’s oh so easy to make and it’s beautiful light green color makes for a festive addition to any spring table.

Pistachio Pudding Cake

1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant pistachio pudding mix
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour a 10″ tube pan.In a large bowl mix together cake mix and pudding mix. Make a well in the center and pour in eggs, water, oil, and almond extract. Blend ingredients, then beat for 2 minutes at medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly pressed. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Ice with Powdered Sugar Glaze or sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, breakfast, Brunch, Cake, Desserts

Yogurt and Cinnamon Apple Coffee Cake

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I really like using up the last of the yogurt container by slipping the contents into a smoothie, a parfait, or a muffin/cake mix. Last summer, I opened a large container of vanilla yogurt and as I pulled back the lid, I found a recipe for delicious muffins that included a bit of yogurt in the recipe. After making the first batch of the muffins, I knew that I would use yogurt to substitute for some of the added fat in many of my treasured recipes. The yogurt helps to moisten and lighten up the cake’s consistency and is certainly a healthier alternative to sour cream or added oil/butter.
This coffee cake recipe is a perfect example. Omitting sour cream and adding apples to the original recipe makes for a flavorful moist morning treat. In fact, enjoy this comfort food anytime. Add a piping hot cup of tea or coffee and a good book…and you will be set for a lazy winter weekend afternoon.

Yogurt and Cinnamon Apple Coffee Cake

1 1/2 cups vanilla yogurt
2/3 cup oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 small tart apples, peeled, cored, and diced
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray with cooking spray, a 9×13″ baking pan. Mix together the yogurt, oil, lemon juice, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl. Fold in chopped apples. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Stir into liquid ingredients just until no lumps remain.
In a small bowl, mix the remaining 2 teaspoons cinnamon with the brown sugar and butter.
Pour half of the batter into the cake pan. Sprinkle the batter with half of the cinnamon-brown sugar mixture. Spread the rest of the batter over top, and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon-brown sugar mixture. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, cool before cutting cake.