Carrot-Beet Cake Recipe

A super-moist carrot spice cake with the goodness of beets!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups white flour, 2 teaspoon baking powder, 2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon soda, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 cup white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 3 large eggs, 3/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups rough grated carrots

1 cup beet puree: (this is easy… simply cut off the tops and bottoms of 3-5 beets, scrub under warm water. Place in microwave bowl with 3 tablespoons of water and cover. Cook on high for about 8-9 minutes. Let cool, puree in blender or food processor with a few drops of water if needed). Can be made ahead of time and even frozen in sandwich bags. Puree beets are also great when added to risotto!!!

Icing: 1 cup icing/powdered sugar, 1 block of cream cheese, 1/2 cup butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom, 1/2 tablespoons of orange zest (optional). Bring all ingredients to room temperature and mix until smooth.

1/2 cup walnuts, dark pan-toasted and finely chopped.

ACTIONS NEEDED:

 

Grease and flour two 8″ cake pans.

In a large bowl whisk flour, baking powder, spices, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl beat sugars eggs, oil, vanilla and beet puree. Pour over flour mixture and stir until smooth. Add grated carrots and pour into baking pans, leveling the tops with a spoon.

Bake cake pans in center oven at 350 for about 45 minutes. Once cooked, remove from oven and let cool in pans for about 20 minutes. Carefully remove from pans and cool completely.

 

Assembly: Smooth 1/2 of icing on top of the first cake. Add second layer and cover the top with remaining icing. Sprinkle dark-toasted walnuts on top.

ENJOY!

 

 

 

Two Cookies And A Turtle Collide…

The Turtle-stuffed shortbread cookies are like having 2 cookies and a chocolate treat; they are the ultimate in shortbread, chocoloate, peacan and caramel. You can substitute the Turtle for a chocolate caramel candy too… the secret is to make sure the shortbread dough completely encases the chocolate- this will ensure non of it melts out of the cookie when baking.

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Recipe:

Stuffed Shortbreads

1 pound salted butter, 1.5 cups icing sugar, 2 tablespoons vanilla extract, 4 cups flour.

Mix butter, icing sugar and vanilla until light and creamy. Add flour and mix until just incorporated (do not overmix).

Fill a small ice cream scoop with batter. Press 1 Turtle into the batter. Make sure to encase the Turlte with the overflow dough.

Scoop out the dough/Turtle onto a parchement lined baking sheet. Chill for just 5 minutes in cool place then bake for 25 minutes in middle of 300f oven (edges should be slightly dark).

Let cookies rest for 10 minutes on baking tray then carefully transfer to a cooling rack. Enjoy!

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Happy Christmas! KL

Fall Comfort Food: The Healthy Way!

Chocolate-zucchini-bread-new-year-15-780Fall has arrived and if you’re like me, you’ll soon be craving cozy comfort foods like mac n’cheese, chicken pot pies and aromatic morning pastries, loaves, muffins and scones. One of my goals for the upcoming season is to ‘healthy-up’ those irresistible comfort foods by adding more fruit, vegetables and grains to classic recipes like these.

If you’re a baker like me, you’ve got to try this recipe (you won’t be disappointed, I promise). It’s the perfect go-to to have on-hand and in your recipe file. If you’re not a baker – have no fear!  This is, by far, one of the simplest things you’ll ever bake. PS: It freezes beautifully, so be sure to whip up a few loaves while you’re at it!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread Let’s start with the obvious: it’s rich, chocolatey and moist. Here’s the surprise: no one would ever in a million years guess that each loaf contains an entire shredded zucchini. Mapping to my fall mantra, this is great news as zucchini is jam packed with antioxidants and vitamin C. Much healthier and way more delicious than the traditional loaf from your local bake or coffee shop.

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I found this recipe on the Walmart Live Better website. I followed the recipe to a ‘t’ and it turned out beautifully. It’s also a great basic recipe which to add some extras, too (keeping in mind that while zucchini adds nutritional value and moisture, it doesn’t necessarily contribute significantly to the overall flavour of the loaf). Of course, the chocolate takes care of that! However, by simply adding a tablespoon of orange zest to the shredded zucchini or a shot of espresso to the milk, you can customize the flavour of the loaf and personalize the taste.

Start by using quality ingredients; real butter, pure cocoa, fresh milk and eggs will give you the best flavour and the best results. If you’ve spent any time on this blog or my Instagram account, you’ll know that I do a lot of baking. I found the Great Value brand of baking cocoa to be excellent.

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TIP: allow all refrigerated ingredients to come to room temperature before using. This will help with even baking temperatures which ensures the middle of the loaf bakes faster.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread:

Ingredients:

1 small zucchini, unpeeled
1 -1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with oil.
Grate zucchini, using the large holes on a box grater, onto a clean kitchen towel. Wrap towel around grated zucchini and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Grated zucchini should measure about 1 cup.
Stir flour with cocoa, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Beat sugar with butter in a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, until creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until smooth. Stir in one-third of flour mixture, then half of milk. Repeat additions, ending with flour mixture. Stir in zucchini. Scrape batter into pan, smoothing top.

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Bake in centre of oven until a cake tester inserted into the centre of loaf comes out clean, about one hour. Let stand 10 minutes. Then carefully turn loaf onto a rack to cool. The loaf will keep well covered, at room temperature, up to three days (or frozen up to a month).
(Originally published in the Walmart Live Better New Year 2015 issue).

I dusted the top of my Chocolate Zucchini Bread with a blend of cocoa powder, icing sugar and a dash of cinnamon. It’s an easy and delicious way to ‘dress-up’ the loaf for presentation or to give as a gift.

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Moist, chocolatey and healthier! Now… time to get a BIG glass of milk!

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