Tag Archives: cream cheese frosting

Carrot Cake

When I think of Amish food, I think of good, homestyle comfort food. That’s why I was interested in reviewing the recently published Amish Community Cookbook: Simply Delicious Recipes from Amish and Mennonite Homes. I was in the mood for some comfort food and there are lots of comfort food-type recipes in this book…breakfast items, casseroles, main dishes, sides, and desserts. I thought I’d try the Carrot Cake because I really love carrot cake and this one sounded really easy to make.

It was easy, but there are some positives and negatives to this recipe. The positives are that it tastes great, and it has three–yes, three–cups of shredded carrots in it. All those cups of carrots made me feel a little better about eating this cake. The cream cheese icing, which I turned into a thicker frosting, is really good too (but not healthy at all)!

The negative thing about this recipe is that it sunk in the middle when I made it. It was higher at the edges and lower in the middle. I made a batch-and-a-half of frosting to fill in the sunken middle and make the cake appear level. And sprinkled the top with chopped pecans. So it ended up looking fine. I’m not sure if the sunken middle was due to something I did wrong or if it always turns out that way. So if you try this, you’ll have to let me know if your cake sunk or not!

At any rate, everyone I shared this cake with loved it. So I guess that’s the most important thing!

CARROT CAKE adapted from Amish Community Cookbook

Makes a 9×13″ cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups (granulated) sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups shredded carrots
  • 2 cups (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

CREAM CHEESE ICING

(Note: I made a batch and a half of the frosting to have enough to generously cover the cake and the sunken middle: 3/4 cup butter, 4.5 ounces cream cheese, 3 tsp. vanilla, 6 cups powdered sugar; I also topped the frosting with 1/3 cup chopped pecans. Below is the original icing recipe from the book)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar or more as needed for consistency (I used 4 cups of powdered sugar because I wanted a thicker frosting)

In large bowl, beat eggs well. Add sugar, beat until creamy. Beat in oil and vanilla. Stir in carrots.

In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

Add dry ingredients to egg/sugar mixture. Stir in nuts. Pour into ungreased 9×13-inch pan and bake at 350˚F for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Spread with cream cheese icing. Keep cake refrigerated.

If you’ve looked over this recipe and have any ideas why this cake may have sunken in the middle and how to fix that, be sure to let me know! Even with the sunken middle though, I would make this again because it really does taste good. If you’re a carrot cake fan, I’m sure you will like this! Have you made carrot cake before and do you have a favorite recipe for it?

Sharing this at Fiesta Friday, Weekend Potluck, Meal Plan Monday, Inspire Me Monday.

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Zucchini-Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Yay for Friday! It has been such a busy week, I am ready for a slower-paced weekend! And speaking of weekends, I wanted to share a recipe I made last weekend–Zucchini-Banana Bars. These bars are so moist and yummy, just as you would expect, with shredded zucchini and mashed bananas in them! And they’re flavored with some of my favorite fall spices, cinnamon and nutmeg (I added a little more spice than the original recipe called for). Not only that, they’re also topped with a thick and creamy Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s a great dessert for this time of year, or perfect with a cup of coffee or tea when you’re taking a little break. So go ahead and indulge yourself with these Zucchini-Banana Bars! 🙂

ZUCCHINI-BANANA BARS with CREAM CHEESE FROSTING by NancyC, adapted from Shugary Sweets

Makes a 9 x 13 pan, about 12-16 servings

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 medium)
  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease a 9 x 13″ pan; set aside.

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add in egg and vanilla, then stir in mashed bananas and blend everything well.

In medium bowl, blend flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together.

Add flour mixture to butter-sugar-banana mixture in large bowl. Blend well, then fold in zucchini and mix everything well.

Pour batter into prepared 9 x 13″ pan and bake at 350˚F for 25 minutes, or until edges brown and pull from sides.

Let bars cool completely, then frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese or light cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • optional: Half & Half (light cream) if you want a thinner consistency

In medium size bowl, blend softened cream cheese and softened butter. Add in powdered sugar a cup at a time, blending well after each addition (this makes a nice thick frosting–if you prefer a thinner consistency, add some Half & Half, or light cream, starting with 1 Tablespoon; then add a little more if needed). Spread evenly over completely cooled bars, then cut and serve. If serving later, keep in refrigerator until ready to serve. Also refrigerate any bars that are leftover, because of the cream cheese frosting.

These are so good, you just may want to try making them this weekend! 🙂 Will you be having a busy weekend or a relaxing one?

Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener and Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Pam’s Pumpkin Sheet Cake

Pam shares my love for baking, and she recently gave me this wonderful recipe for a pumpkin cake. It’s a large sheet-cake style cake, so it’s really easy to make and perfect for group get-togethers like potlucks, club meetings…any gathering where you have hungry people to feed! 🙂  I haven’t come across anyone who hasn’t liked this cake, so you just can’t go wrong in making this!

This sheet cake is made in a 10″x 15″x 1″ pan, so there’s plenty to go around. If you like Texas sheet cakes, then you’ll like this, too (unless you’re not crazy about pumpkin!). The cake is moist, with a great pumpkin flavor, and it’s topped with a creamy, smooth cream cheese frosting–a perfect combination!

Here’s the yummy recipe–thanks for sharing it, Pam!

PAM’S PUMPKIN SHEET CAKE from Pam S.

Makes one 10″x 15″ sheet cake

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached flour)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, blend eggs and sugar, then add the oil and pumpkin puree, blending everything well.

In medium bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, blending everything well. Add this dry indgredient mixture a little at a time to the egg/sugar mixture until everything is blended well, then spread into an ungreased 10″x 15″x 1″ pan (since I didn’t use a non-stick pan, I greased mine, but greasing your pan is optional).

Bake at 350 degrees for 24 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (I baked mine for 25 minutes). Let cake cool completely, then frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened (I used 6 ounces from an 8-ounce block of light cream cheese)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

In a medium bowl, beat butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually add in powdered sugar and blend well. Frost cake when cooled. If not serving the cake soon after frosting it, store it in your refrigerator until almost ready to serve, taking it out of the fridge a little earlier so it can get to room temperature.

Yum! It’s hard not to just eat one piece of this cake!

It’s always fun trying new pumpkin recipes. Have you been making a lot of pumpkin goodies this fall?

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Cake from 300 Best Potato Recipes

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I’m a big fan of potatoes, whether they’re baked, scalloped, fried, roasted, mashed…you name it! That’s why I was interested in reviewing 300 Best Potato Recipes: A Complete Cook’s Guide (Softcover). Written by author and food journalist Kathleen Sloan-McIntosh, the book is filled with lots of delicious recipes for fixing potatoes in more ways than you could ever imagine!

At the beginning of the book, there’s a section called The Spud From All Angles where you’ll learn about the history, legend, and lore of potatoes, as well as helpful tips on buying and cooking potatoes, growing your own potatoes, and storing potatoes. Another chapter, A World of Potatoes, tells you about the many different types of potatoes and includes a handy Potato Glossary. I had no idea there were so many kinds of potatoes!

After looking over this information, I browsed through the first recipe chapter called Top Twenty Classics, starting off with Classic Mash Deluxe, Garlic and Chive Mash, and Big Cheese Mash. As you browse through the other chapters, you’ll find many other tasty potato dishes including:

  • Soups (Potato Soup with Pesto Cream, St. Patrick’s Day Potato Chowder)
  • Salads (Baked Potato Salad with Blue Cheese Drizzle, Lemon Potato Salad with Shrimp)
  • Appetizers (Florentine Potato Cakes, Spiced Potato Ribbons)
  • Snacks, Small Plates & Light Meals (Four Cheese & Onion Jacket Potato, Rustic Country Potato Tart)
  • Sensational Spuds on the Side (Danish Sugar-Browned Potatoes, French Potato Galette)
  • Main Courses with Meat, Poultry, Fish & Seafood (Honest-to-Goodness Shepherd’s Pie, Potato Dumplings with Chicken & Tarragon Cream)
  • Vegetarian Mains (World’s Best Vegetable Burger, Sweet Potato & Sage Frittata)
  • Breads, Biscuits, Scones, Griddle Cakes & More (Cheddar & Onion Potato Bread, All-American Potato Pancakes)
  • Desserts & Confections (Carolina Sweet Potato Pie, Dark Chocolate & Orange Potato Cheesecake)

It was hard to decide what to try first, with so many recipes to choose from, but I settled on the Sweet Potato Cinnamon Cake with Pineapple & Coconut & Cream Cheese Icing. If you like carrot cake, you’ll enjoy this cake. My friend Susan tasted this and said she actually liked it better than carrot cake! It’s wonderfully moist and the cream cheese icing  is very yummy. The recipe says to frost the top and sides of the cake, but I just decided to frost the top so I could put extra frosting between the layers–I think it looks nice that way. Sprinkling coarsely chopped walnuts on top of the cake would be a nice finishing touch, too–I didn’t think of that until after I took my photos!

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You can also make this cake in a 9 x 13″ pan. It’s so yummy it’s hard to stop eating it! Here’s the recipe…

SWEET POTATO CINNAMON CAKE (from 300 Best Potato Recipes)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups shredded sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup canned crushed pineapple, well-drained
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts* (see toasting tips below–I didn’t toast mine, but I’m sure they’re great toasted!)

CREAM CHEESE ICING

  • 10 ounces plain cream cheese (not light or whipped), softened
  • 5 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans or one 13 x 9-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper also sprayed with nonstick cooking spray (I used my 9-inch round non-stick cake pans and greased and floured them well, instead of using the spray and parchment paper; the cakes came out very easily).

CakeIn a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice until blended. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat sugar and oil until blended. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture until blended and no traces of flour are visible. Stir in sweet potatoes, pineapple, coconut, and walnuts.

Evenly divide batter between prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before turning out onto rack. Let cool completely.

Icing: Meanwhile, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar about 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until just firm enough to spread. Transfer one cake layer to a cake stand or platter. Spread some of the icing over  top, smoothing to the edges. Top with second cake layer, then ice top and sides of whole cake (as I mentioned earlier, I decided to just frost between the layers and on top–so choose whatever way you like best!).

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Tips on toasting walnuts: Toasting the nuts in a dry skillet gives them a nice crispness; just take care not to burn them, as they take very little time to toast. Add the nuts to a skillet placed over medium heat, and cook, stirring for 6 to 8 minutes or until fragrant. You can also oven-toast nuts on a baking sheet in a 400-degree oven for just a few minutes, but watch them carefully so they don’t burn.

Enjoy making this cake…you’ll definitely enjoy eating it! 🙂