March 31, 2015

Tackitt's Crazy Good Layered Carrot Cake

Leon and Cindy's Carrot Cake
"This is crazy good carrot cake.  Take your time with this one, don’t rush through it and your reward will be well worth your efforts."
With Easter coming up this weekend, I wanted to share a Easter themed dessert perfect for a family gathering. I have always been a fan of Carrot Cake {I mean come on who isn't?!} but I have never made it myself or found the perfect recipe. So it was meant to be when Leon Tackitt, owner of Tackitt Vineyards and EOD Cellars, {Ashton's favorite wine} emailed me his recipe that he called Leon and Cindy's Crazy Good Carrot Cake. Crazy good, huh? I decided to give it a trial run before Easter and he was right. This cake is knock your sock off good! 
This Layered Carrot Cake consists of a moist spice cake mixed with carrots, pecans, coconut, and pineapple then drenched in a buttermilk glaze and topped with a sweet cream cheese frosting. How can it not be crazy good, right? 


Ingredients:

Cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (make sure to use the real stuff)
  • 2 cups grated carrot
  • 1 - 8oz can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 - 3 ½ oz can flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
Buttermilk Glaze
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ cup butter milk
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (again, no imitation allowed)
Frosting
  • ¾ cup butter (softened)
  • 2 – 8 oz package cream cheese (softened)
  • 3 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract (enough said above about imitation)
  • chopped pecans (optional)

Directions: 


  1. Start by lining 3 - 9 inch layer cake pans with greased wax paper (bottom only) and grease (use butter) and flour the sides of the pan well.
  2. Set oven at 350 degrees.
  3. Next,  mix together the first 4 ingredients in a mixing bowl.  
  4. Then beat the eggs along with the next four ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth in another bowl.  
  5. Now add the flour mixture and continue to mix at low speed until smooth.  
  6. Fold in the carrot and the last 3 ingredients.  
  7. Pour the batter into prepared cake pans. 
  8.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  
  9. While the cake is in the oven, make the glaze. 
  10.  Bring the first 5 ingredients to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Make sure to stir often as it heats up and then constant for about 4 minutes after the boil.  
  11. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
  12. Once the cake comes out of the oven, you’ll want to pour the glaze over each layer evenly. 
  13. Place the cake pans on a wire rack and let them cool for at least 15 minutes. 
  14.  Once cool, remove from cake pans and continue to cool. You can place them in the fridge for at least an hour and get them slightly cool and firm for the frosting.  Make sure to cover them well.
  15. For the frosting: Beat the butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  
  16. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  17. Frost the top and sides of all three layers.
  18. Stack layers and add chopped pecans around the side of cake (optional).

Notes from Leon: Don’t get in a hurry to frost.  If the cake is too warm, the frosting will melt and the cake will not stay put.  The layers will slide off of each other and drive you crazy.  Pull the cake from the fridge and one layer at a time, spread the frosting until all 3 layers are in place and well coated. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line 3 - 9 inch layer cake pans with greased wax paper (bottom only) and
  grease (use butter) and flour the sides of the pan well.

Next, mix together the first 4 ingredients {flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon}
 in a mixing bowl.  


Then beat the eggs along with the next four ingredients 
{sugar, vegetable oil, butter, vanilla} with an electric mixer 
until smooth in another bowl.  


Now add the flour mixture and continue to mix at low speed until smooth. 
 You need 2 cups of shredded carrot for this recipe.
Fold in the carrots and the last 3 ingredients {coconut, pineapple, pecans}.  
Pour the batter into prepared cake pans.
 Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  
While the cake is in the oven, make the glaze. 

 Bring the first 5 ingredients {sugar, baking soda, butter, buttermilk, corn syrup} to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Make sure to stir often as it heats up and then constant for about 4 minutes after the boil.  

Remove from heat and add vanilla.
Once the cake comes out of the oven, you’ll want to pour the glaze over each layer evenly.
Place the cake pans on a wire rack and let them cool for at least 15 minutes. 
 Once cool, remove from cake pans and continue to cool. You can place them in the fridge for at least an hour and get them slightly cool and firm for the frosting.  Make sure to cover them well.
For the frosting: Beat the butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  

Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Frost the top and sides of all three layers.
Stack layers and add chopped pecans around the side of cake (optional).

Cut yourself a big slice of Crazy Good Carrot Cake and enjoy!
Happy Easter! Thanks to the Tackitts for a tasty recipe.


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March 30, 2015

Fresh Baked Strawberry Cobbler

Fruit Cobbler
 It's strawberry season and I have been using strawberries in just about every dessert I bake up.
Strawberries have been my main craving during this pregnancy and when I found this recipe for Strawberry Cobbler I knew I had to make it right away {and many times since then}.
I love that this recipe can be customized for just one serving or even a large 8X8 serving (9 servings).
It is simple and delicious and after macerating the berries in sugar it takes only a few minutes to prepare. Then just pop in the oven and serve warm with ice cream or fresh whipped cream on top. 
Enjoy~

Ingredients:

Makes 4 servings (approx 1 1/4 cup each)
  • 4 cups strawberries, stems removed and sliced in quarters
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp cornstarch
  • 4 tsp water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened and cubed

Directions: 

  1. Combine strawberries and sugar in a medium saucepan. 
  2. Let sit for 30 minutes with no heat.  
  3. Stir strawberries and sugar then turn heat to medium for about 5 minutes.
  4.  Combine cornstarch and cold water, making sure cornstarch is completely dissolved. Add cornstarch mixture to strawberries. 
  5. Continue to heat until strawberries start to boil, stirring occasionally so they don't stick. Remove from heat.
  6. Make the topping-combine remaining ingredients until all combined and mixture is crumbly.
  7. Spoon strawberries into 4 small greased ramekins, top with crumb mixture. 
  8. Place ramekins on a baking sheet (lined in case of overflow). 
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, until bubbly. 
  10. Let sit 10 minutes before serving warm.
  11. Optional: Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.   


Combine strawberries and sugar in a medium saucepan. 
Let sit for 30 minutes with no heat. 
Stir strawberries and sugar then turn heat to medium for about 5 minutes.

Combine cornstarch and cold water, making sure cornstarch is completely dissolved. 
Add cornstarch mixture to strawberries.
Continue to heat until strawberries start to boil, stirring occasionally so they don't stick
Remove from heat.
Spoon berries into four small greased ramekins. 
Each serving is a little over 1 cup.
Make the topping-combine remaining ingredients until all combined and mixture is crumbly.
I use my fingers or a fork to break up the butter and mix well.
Top with crumb mixture and place ramekins on a baking sheet (lined in case of overflow).
 Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, until bubbly.
Let sit for a few minutes then serve warm.

How delicious does this cobbler look?
Sweet and crunchy and the perfect to dessert for this preggo lady!

Or make it even better by topping your Strawberry Cobbler with ice cream or whipped cream.
It doesn't get much better than that!
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March 28, 2015

Walking Dead Carol's Zombie Apocalypse Cookies

apocalypse zombie cookies
We are big zombie fans in my house {which is funny since I am not a fan of horror and gore} and Walking Dead is our favorite show. A couple episodes ago the group arrived to the Alexandria safe zone and tough girl Carol has decided to put on a front and act all sweet and innocent. She wears sweaters sets, has no clue how to hold a gun, and bakes delicious cookies! But we know the really Carol {also affectionately known as "Scarol" to WD fans} and she is one kick butt lady. However, she does know how to bake up a mean batch of apocalypse cookies! So when AMC released the recipe for Carol's Cookies I knew I had to make them this week in honor of the Walking Dead finale. No eggs or butter in the apocalypse and chocolate is scarce so the recipe substitutes applesauce, shortening, and a small amount of chocolate {add more if you would like}. But the end result was a soft, fluffy cookie that was pretty dang good!
Don't mess with Scarol!
Check out the recipe below! I would love to hear your opinions about these cookies and anything Walking Dead related below!

Ingredients:

Makes a dozen cookies
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 large chocolate bar {I used Hershey's king size}
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup shortening, cubed
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine applesauce, shortening, brown sugar, and white sugar. Mix until blended.
  3. Add baking powder, baking soda, flour, salt, and vanilla. Mix until doughy and flour is fully absorbed.
  4. Let dough stand for five minutes.
  5. Melt chocolate (I used the double boiler method but you can also use the microwave).
  6. Add chocolate to dough and mix in.
  7. Add golf ball sized dollops of dough on a lined cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 11-13 minutes.

Start with the basics in a large bowl: applesauce, shortening, brown sugar, and white sugar. 
Mix until blended.


Add baking powder, baking soda, flour, salt, and vanilla. 
Mix until doughy and flour is fully absorbed.
Let dough stand for five minutes.

Oh the precious chocolate! Add more if you'd like or substitute chocolate chips!

Melt chocolate {I used the double boiler method but you can also use the microwave}.
Add chocolate to dough and mix in.
Lookin' pretty tasty for Apocalypse cookies! 

Add golf ball sized dollops of dough on a lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 11-13 minutes.
Let cool on a rack and then dig in!
I also found these fun Zombie Cupcakes at World Market
 that I may save for the Season Premiere of WD. Any excuse to celebrate and bake something fun, right? 
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