Fall’s First Carrot Cake

I really love carrot cake. The denser the better. And it has to have coconut–an absolute must. I started to bake this very late last night–just before 11 pm. The next day, I was reading another blog (SeriousEats.com) and came across an article titled “Are You a Night Baker?” and it made me laugh because I have always done my baking late at night. It probably started out as a means of relaxing after doing hours of reading and writing in law school. The house was quiet, my husband (fiancee at the time) was asleep; it really was therapeutic. Our neighbors must have either really loved me or really hated me for filling the air with the smell of brownies, butter cookies, and cake at 2am!

This recipe turned out great. I did use pre-shredded carrots (I know, I know) but I didn’t feel like lugging out the food processor, shredding blade, etc. when I had a bag of them ready to go staring at me in the fridge! I hope you’ll forgive me!

Recipe for Fall’s First Carrot Cake

(See the leaves turning colors outside my window?)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups shredded carrots (pre-shredded works fine)
  • 1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup flaked coconut

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease a 9″ Tube pan. A deep Bundt pan will work also.

1. Mix eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract in a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Beat until well combined.

2. In a small bowl, sift all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon) together using a whisk until blended.

3. Add dry ingredients to wet mix and beat until incorporated.

4. Add shredded carrots, crushed pineapple, coconut, and chopped walnuts to the batter. Beat to combine.

5. Pour cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Test with a wooden skewer (moist crumbs are what you’re looking for) and the cake will spring back slightly when touched.

6. Allow to cool in pan for 20 minutes, then remove the outside ring of the tube pan (if using) and let the cake rest on a rack until completely cool.

Enjoy!

Roasted Banana Cupcakes with Honey Cinnamon Frosting

Yes, the name alone is delicious. The recipe is from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes Book. I had some bananas and instead of making the old banana bread recipe (which is great nonetheless) I opted for something new.

The recipe worked out great for me, even though my egg whites deflated while waiting for the roasted bananas to cool (poor planning on my part). And if you’ve never roasted bananas in their skin, they will get BLACK but the banana inside gets so sweet and concentrated. It REALLY made a difference in the recipe. Oh and the frosting–to die for! Different than the usual buttercream, it really makes these cupcakes stand out.

Ingredients
3 ripe bananas, plus 1 to 2 more for garnish
2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place 3 whole unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet and roast 15 minutes (the peels will darken). Meanwhile, sift together cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Remove bananas from oven and let cool before peeling. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

2. With an electric mixer on medium–high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add roasted bananas, and beat to combine. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of sour cream, and beating until just combined after each. Beat in vanilla.

3. In another mixing bowl, with electric mixer on medium speed, whisk egg whites to soft peaks; fold one-third whites into batter to lighten. Gently fold in remaining whites in two batches.

4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
2 1/2 cups Confectioner’s Sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 tablespoons Honey
Makes enough for 16 cupcakes

With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat all ingredients until smooth. Use immediately, or refrigerate up to 5 days in an airtight container; before using, bring to room temperature and beat until smooth.

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