Category Archives: cake

Carrot Cake TO GO: Version 2.0

Before we get to cooking, I need to get something off my chest. I have been watching this season of American Idol. *shame* And I like it. *double shame* And it’s making me like Jennifer Lopez. *weird* Whew. I’m glad we shared that moment. Now I can be my true, embarrassing self.

On to more important things. This past weekend I auditioned for Recipe To Riches with my Carrot Cake TO GO bars. I didn’t make the cut. Cray, I know. Tear. Sob. Whatever. But that means that I can share my perfected recipe with all of YOU!

You may remember a similar recipe that I made this past summer. Back then it was a portable trail mix with lots of carrot-y goodness packed inside. But I thought that the folks at PC might be looking for something a little more universal, so after about 15 versions, I ended up with this recipe. It’s basically a fusion between a granola bar and carrot cake. It’s incredibly moist, filling, and satisfies my sweet-tooth craving (which can be ferocious at times). It is also moderately health, so you don’t have to go run 5 k after eating a bar. Although if you do “run” they would be a perfect take along. Do people bring snacks on runs? I’m not all that familiar with “exercise”.

This recipe makes about 24 bars, depending on how large you’d like them. You’ll need:

  • 6 cups large rolled oats
  • 6 tbsp canola oil
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 9 cups grated carrot
  • 1/2 cup sultana raisins
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup flax meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 150 grams white chocolate discs

In a small pot over medium heat combine your oil and 6 tbsp honey and heat until gently boiling. Pour over the oats in a bowl, and toss until evenly coated. Spread oats onto a large parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 325 for 20 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes. Your oats should be golden brown.

Spread your carrot across 3 large parchment lined baking sheets, and bake at 300 for 15 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes. This will steam some of the extra moisture out of your carrots so your bars hold together.

Let both of those ingredients cool, while you soak your raisins in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes.

In a LARGE bowl toss together your granola, carrot, raisins (drained), sugar, oat flour, flax, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together your remaining honey, corn syrup, melted butter and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture and toss until everything is throughly coated.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment, and press your bar mixture into it to a height of about 1.75 cm. If your sheet is too large, you can just create an edge with your fingers instead of spreading the mixture all the way to the rim of the tray. If your tray is too small, you can bake the rest of your mixture in a small cake pan. Try to keep the height uniform across the bars.

Bake at 325 for about 35 minutes until the bars are firm with a bit of give to them. Let them cool completely before cutting them up. I like to use a bench cutter for this (It makes me feel manly. Why I want to feel manly, I do not know.), but you can use a kitchen knife if you don’t have one.

When you’ve cut your bars, put your chocolate in a zipper seal bag (If you are afraid of plastic leaching into your food, you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler. I’m a rebel) and melt it in the microwave at 30 second intervals. Squeedge the chocolate around before adding more time. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate, because there is no going back.

Snip a small bit from the corner of your baggie and drizzle chocolate back and forth on a diagonal across the bars. You don’t need much, the bars are pretty sweet on their own. You can even skip this step if you want.

Now since I have made so many versions of this recipe, I have a few tips for you. If you want to cut back on the processed sugar, you can sub your corn syrup for pureed dates. This will make the bars a little firmer (and in my opinion less delicious), but it is lower cal. You can also add more flax, and less oat flour if you like, but again, the bars will taste slightly different. Have fun experimenting, and happy baking!

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Filed under cake, pop culture, relatively healthy, squares

Strawberry Cone Cakes

Last weekend I was invited to a Pink and Purple Potluck for my friend Elise’s 21st birthday (yes we have  the same name, and yes, it’s very confusing). Now, pink and purple foods weren’t mandatory, but you know how much I love themes. And when I think pink, I think adorable…and when I think adorable, I think foods that look like other foods. Hence the cone cakes. Now what is a cone cake, you ask? Why a cupcake inside an ice cream cone, of course!  I decided to make them extra authentic by incorporating real strawberries into the icing. It was crazy how much they looked like strawberry frozen yogurt. If you want to give them a try, you’ll need:

  • 18 flat-bottomed ice cream cones
  • 1 package vanilla cake mix
  • pink gel food colouring
  • 1 1/2 cups softened butter
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 cup freeze-dried strawberries
  • sprinkles
Start off by preparing your cake mix according to the package directions, and preheat the oven. If you’re cute, you’ll add a little pink food colouring so the inside of the cone matches the outside (the more realistic the better).
Stand your cupcakes on a baking sheet, and fill them up half-way. This part is crucial. You may be tempted to add more batter, but DON’T! If your cones overflow, you will have to pick bits of cake off the outside, and that is just icky. Trust me, I know from experience.
Bake them according to the package, and get started on your icing. Pulverize your freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor. It is very important that they be freeze-dried, and not just regular dried. You can find these at most bulk stores.
In a large bowl, cream your butter until it’s soft and smooth. Using a wooden spoon, add the icing sugar one cup at a time, and finally add your strawberry powder. The strawberries should make the icing nice and pink, but if you want you can add some more food colouring.
When your cone cakes have cooled, fill a piping bag with icing and a star shaped tip. Pipe liberal amounts of icing onto your cone cakes, and sprinkle with a few decorations.
These babies can be tricky to transport. I suggest covering a rectangular cake pan with foil, and nestling the cones into holes in the foil.
Give these a try for your next Pink and Purple Potluck. Or I guess you could make them for a regular party too. Happy baking!

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Filed under a party, adorability, cake, cupcakes

Candy Cane Cake

Welcome to day 4 of my 12 Days of Christmas posting! After seeing a ton of these adorable cakes popping up online, I thought I would give it a try. Just alternate layers of white and red cake (I used a mix and added 1 tbsp of red gel colour and 1 tbsp of cocoa to half of my batter), and you have an easy candy cane effect. It’s always fun to have a little surprise to cut into.

I iced the cake in white buttercream. It was my first time colouring buttercream icing white with food colouring, and I was surprised by how much colour it required. The effect is great if you want a pure white look without using shortening though (shortening is gross. always use real butter in your icing!).

The decoration on the top is simple: take 10 mini candy canes (or more depending on the size of your cake), and pair them together in hearts. Instant cute holiday appeal.

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing another last minute handmade gift idea; see you then!

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Filed under a party, cake, candy, holidays

Loafing Around

Being a passionate Canadian, it pains me to admit that I am slightly jealous of the bounty and fanfare that come with American Thanksgiving. These adorable miniature pumpkin loaves are the perfect table favour to take this already incredible celebration to the next level. Impress your guests with a pint-sized portion of major fall flavour that they can take home to savour with their leftover turkey sandwiches. This recipe makes 10 mini loaves. You’ll need:

  • 10 miniature ceramic loaf pans (I found mine at Michael’s on sale for 99 cents. Shop around for a deal) Here’s one site that sells a variety http://flourmillkids.com/Search.aspx?m=35830
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 pkg butterscotch pudding mix (non-instant)
  • 1 1/2 cups softened butter
  • 2 2/3 cups sugar
  • 4 lg eggs
  • 2 cups pumpkin pie filling
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together your flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. In a separate bowl, whisk together your milk, vanilla and pudding mix. In a third bowl, cream your butter and sugar together. Add the eggs and pumpkin pie filling once the butter mixture becomes light and fluffy. Alternating between the milk and pumpkin mixtures, slowly add your wet ingredients to the dry in 3 parts. Once everything is combined, fold in your nuts.
Spray your loaf pans with cooking spray, and divide your batter evenly between the pans. It should reach about 2/3 of the way up the edges. Bake for roughly 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown, and a toothpick comes out clean.
This loaf is incredibly moist, and contains all of the warm spice of the holiday season. If you can’t find mini pans, or would prefer to serve this as a full-sized loaf, increase the cooking time to roughly 1 hour.
To make your guests feel extra special, dress up your loaves as table favours with a little seasonal flare. Happy baking everyone, and happy thanksgiving to my friends south of the border!

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Half Eaten Cookies

I ventured up to Kingston to reunite with my friends for Halloween this past weekend, and as usual, everyone pulled out all the stops with their culinary contributions. Here are a few photos of our fabulous tricks and treats.

To make these simple, spooky treats, just chop the end off of a store-bought cookie (or make your own if you’re a hero), and wrap a set of gummy teeth around the “bite”. For added drama, drip of few drops of red icing around the teeth for oozing blood.

My friend Lisa used Bakerella’s recipe for these creepy eyeball cake pops. She served them on forks and knives for a little added gore.

And check out this amazing cauldron cake that my friend Candace made! She recently started up her own baking business. Check out more of her stuff here.

I know our treats were adorable, but hey, we looked pretty cute too.

Hope everyone had an epic Halloween! Now to commence Christmas party planning…

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Filed under a party, cake, candy, cookies, food on a stick, holidays