Caramelized Carrot Cake Bread : Feb SRC

I’m hoping you’re reading the title of this post and having the same reaction I did… WHATTTTT?!??!!  When I read about this recipe on my SRC partner’s blog… I was just amazed.  I don’t think I can personally ever be so creative.  What an awesome recipe.  Whoa.  I just had to try it.

After a month off, I’m back on with the Secret Recipe Club.  For those of you who haven’t checked it out before, please do!  The Secret Recipe Club (or the SRC) has been a really fun way to encourage me to try new recipes and connect with new bloggers.  Each month, everyone in the club gets an assignment to check out another blogger’s page.  We then pick ANY of their existing recipes and make them ourselves!  Then, on reveal day (today), we all post about our findings and experiences.  I have made some of my favorite recipes EVER from some of my paired blogs (check out THIS one… omg).

Secret Recipe Club

This month, I was paired with the blog:  Easily Good Eats.  It was so hard to pick just one recipe to make from this blog.  Like I said- she is so creative!  There are so many interesting recipes from different cuisines and countries around the world.  Very impressive.  I was automatically drawn to this recipe once I saw the word “Caramelized”…. I was practically drooling (as I am sure you are now too!)…  I won’t waste any more time, here is what I made:

it's as good as it looks.

it’s as good as it looks.

Caramelized Carrot Cake Bread

Makes:  1 Loaf

Ingredients:

1 cup Flour
½ cup Sugar, divided into 1/4’s 
1½ cups Carrots, peeled and grated
½ cup Unsalted Butter (1 stick)
2 Eggs, large
just under 1/4 cup Milk (I used 2%)
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
1½ teaspoons Baking Powder
 
Directions
  1. Prepare a loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Add ¼ cup sugar and 1 Tablespoon of water to a saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook on high heat until the sugar turns dark red. It will happen- I promise.  (I used a rubber spatula) Stir and don’t let it burn!
  3. Add carrots and butter.  Cook over low heat until the carrots becomes soft. This will take about 15-20 minutes. Puree the mixture (optional). Let the mixture cool completely.  *Optional to puree the mixture in a food processor- I did not*
  4. In a bowl beat ¼ cup sugar and eggs until the sugar dissolves. Add to the carrot mixture together with milk and mix well.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture.  Don’t overmix.
  6. Pour the batter into loaf pan and bake at 350°F until done, about 30-40 minutes. A skewer inserted in the middle of the cake should come out clean.

Recipe slightly adapted from: Butterscotch (Caramelized) Carrot Cake

At first, this recipe was a little more labor-intensive than what I’m used to.  First of all, I don’t really bake that much.  I also rolled my eyes when I saw how much carrot I’d have to grate.  But then I remembered, OMG, I have a food processor!  I finally was able to use our engagement gift from Dave’s parents in a new way- the grating tool!  Once I got it set up and peeled my carrots, it took literally 45 seconds.  It was the easiest thing ever, I totally recommend doing this- it will save you so much time!  Once the carrots were grated, the rest was simple.  Cook up the sugar, add the butter, carrots, and make the bread.

Lots of shredded carrots!  Thank goodness for our new food processor :)

Lots of shredded carrots! Thank goodness for our new food processor 🙂

If you were curious about what caramelizing carrots looked like...

If you were curious about what caramelizing carrots looked like…

Here is the batter with the wet ingredients and carrots

Here is the batter with the wet ingredients and carrots

I should also tell you that you should make DOUBLE this recipe.  You’re going to want to eat the whole loaf yourself, but also share one- it is one hell of an impressive recipe… show off your skills!  Next time, I’m going to double AND make a little bit of cream cheese glaze to drizzle overtop.

Finished product!  YUM!

Finished product! YUM!

Now that I’ve probably made you hungry for something sweet…

check out some of the other blogger’s recipes from this month’s SRC!

Chocolate-Banana Cream Poke Cake

Where have I been?  Oh, I’m sorry… I’ve neglected you because I have to work off all of the calories I’ve consumed over the past weekend!  Dave, Stella, and I joined my parents “Down the Shore (see post here)” to celebrate my Dad’s birthday.

I had to show off this AMAZING pic we got of Miss Stella at the beach from this trip :)

I had to show off this AMAZING pic we got of Miss Stella at the beach from this trip 🙂

We dined at one of our favorite restaurants, Chef Vola’s… eating LARGE portions of delicious home-cooked Italian food and even better desserts.

Although we ordered a slice and devoured Chef Vola’s’  famous Banana Cream Pie, I wanted to make a birthday cake for my Dad in honor of his favorite flavor combination:  Chocolate & Banana.

I feel like most people hate on Bananas and Banana flavored things.  I’ve never understood why?  I love it, and it is by far my Dad’s favorite thing ever.

After pinning and saving several poke cake recipes all over the internet, I though this was a great chance to try one out.  The best part about these cakes is that they’re very easy- they’re just doctored up cakes!

Chocolate-Banana Cream Poke Cake

Ingredients:

1 Box Golden Butter Cake Mix (or other yellow… whatever!)

Ingredients to make cake (3 eggs, 7 TBSP butter, water)

1 pkg Banana Sugar Free Fat Free Pudding Mix

1 pkg Chocolate Sugar Free Fat Free Pudding Mix (i used Chocolate Fudge mmm)

Ingredients to make puddings (2 cups Milk per packet, so 4 total!)

1 tub Cool Whip (light)

1 cup Crushed Nilla Wafers

Directions:

1.  Bake cake according to directions on the box.  Meanwhile, prepare the puddings.  Let the puddings rest for 5 minutes, they will thicken up right away.

2.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then take the handle of a wooden spoon and poke holes through to the bottom all over the cake.

3.  Spread the banana pudding over the cake making sure to get into the holes.  Take the wooden spoon again and poke a few more holes ontop of the banana pudding.  Spread the chocolate pudding over the banana, spreading evenly over the cake.

4.  Now, spread the Cool Whip over the puddings and cake.  Finish the cake by sprinkling lots of crushed Nilla Wafers on top.  

I want to recommend putting some sliced or chopped up banana in the pudding layer too!  But like I said, this is for my Dad and I didn’t want to “ruin” the dessert with fruit (haha).

We all loved this cake, it was perfectly moist and wasn’t too overly banana either.  I can’t wait to try out other poke cake recipes!  What should be next?!

They don't call it a poke cake for nothin'!

They don’t call it a poke cake for nothin’!

Yummy...

Yummy…

Banana first

Banana first

Then chocolate, mmm!

Then chocolate, mmm!

The finished product!

The finished product!

Hooray for Birthday Cake Cross-Sectionals!

Hooray for Birthday Cake Cross-Sectionals!

I rarely make desserts but when I do, I make it count!!

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bakes

Coffee & Chocolate Krispies

Coffee & Chocolate Krispies

Apple-Toffee Blondies w/ Brown Sugar Frosting

Apple-Toffee Blondies w/ Brown Sugar Frosting

Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

I’ve tried to explain to you before… the eating habits of my father.  He prefers Spicy Doritos and Cheese Curls over lunch, Ring-Dings and Peanut Butter Cups over dinner.  He brings home bags of fresh Soft Pretzels and boxes of Tomato Pie (which is to die for, for the record).  I try not to give in to his snack cravings, but this week it happened to be his BIRTHDAY… so a diet-no-no recipe was in order.

My Dad used to love this “butter cake” from a local bakery.  Apparently this bakery has discontinued his favorite cake for some time now, so my Mom wanted to try to make it herself.  Our cousin suggested googling “Ooey Gooey Butter Cake”.  She said there was one recipe she’s tried that is EXACTLY like the one from the bakery.  We googled, and we found out that Paula Deen – duh – has a “famous” Butter Cake.  It must be good, Paula!

Gooey Butter Cake

Recipe from:  Paula Deen 
Makes:  15-25 Servings (I sliced it pretty small, Paula’s recipe is for 6-8 Servings, ew)
Ingredients (Cake):
1 Box Yellow Cake Mix (unprepared)
1 Egg
8 Tablespoons Butter, melted
Ingredients (Filling):
1 package Philly Cream Cheese (8oz, softened)
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
8 Tablespoons Butter, melted
1 Box (16 oz) Powdered Sugar

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Combine cake mix, egg, and melted butter and blend well in a mixer.  Spray a 13×9 inch baking dish and gently pat the cake mixture throughout the bottom of the dish, creating a crust.

2.  Now, rinse out the bowl to your mixer.  Beat the cream cheese until smooth in the mixer.  Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter and beat until well combined.  Add the powdered sugar little by little and mix well.  Spread over the cake and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
Note:  Start checking the oven around 40 minutes into the baking time.  You don’t want to overcook it.  Ours was slightly browned ontop but when you giggled the baking dish, the middle was still not completely set.

Um… wow.  I allowed myself to have a piece for his birthday.  My entire family was completely… I said it… WOW-ED by this cake.  My Dad loved it, and even complimented it by saying it was better than the one from the bakery.  I’m so glad my Mom thought to make this for him, it turned out to be really special… and naughtily delicious!

Happy Birthday, Dad!

 

 

Mint Chocolate Cake Batter Buddies

Green Hummus just wasn’t enough GREEN for this year’s St. Patty’s Day Celebration at Donny’s in Baltimore.  I had to make something sweet and have been dying to try out this Six Sisters’ Stuff recipe since I saw it in Pinterest!  My Mom and Melissa actually tried it out this weekend while I was away 😦

I wanted to do a Mint-Chocolate Chip version of the recipe.  It turned out awesome.  The mint-chocolate flavor is perfect and although I wish it were a little more green, it still looks pretty cool.

Mint Chocolate Cake Batter Buddies

Adapted from:  Six Sisters’ Stuff Funfetti Cake Batter Buddies

Ingredients:

6 cups Assorted Chex Cereal (Rice, Corn, and Wheat)

1 lb (or less) Mint flavored chocolate

Green Food Dye

3/4 cup Chocolate Cake Mix

1/2 cup Confectioners Sugar

 

Directions:

1.  Melt the chocolate using the microwave on MEDIUM/LOW, stopping after every minute to stir.  You don’t want to burn it!

2.  Once the chocolate is melted, stir in a few drops of color at a time until it reaches the desired green.

3.  Measure out the cake mix and sugar because you’ll want to do this fast as the chocolate will begin to harden.

4.  Pour the melted chocolate over the chex in a giant bowl.  Stir carefully to combine until it is well incorporated.

5.  Once the chocolate almost covers all of the chex, dump the sugar/cake mix and stir.

6.  Refrigerate for best results!

 

We tried to use mini chocolate chips but they didn’t stick well.  They tasted amazing without it though.  Yay!!

I liked using all 3 types, they all have different textures and flavors.

Just a few drops of green will do the trick.

Mix well so all of the chex are coated.

Mint Chocolate Muddy Buddies!  Voila!

 

 

Eva Longoria’s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

A recent episode of the daytime cooking show, “The Chew” inspired my Mom to try out a new recipe of her favorite childhood cake: Pineapple Upside Down!

The recipe we used is actually from the gorgeous Eva Longoria (I find it hard to believe she can look like that and eat cake!!) who published her own cook book “Eva’s Kitchen” last April. I could tell my Mom was really excited because we normally don’t make cakes from scratch… in fact I don’t think I ever have! She even went out and bought us cake flour.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 7 Pineapple slices
  • 7 Maraschino Cherries (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour (or cake flour)
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2/3 cup Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 Egg

First, we preheated the oven to 350. The recipe calls for you to use a flameproof cake pan and melt butter and sugar in it, over the stove. Instead, we used a saucepan… melting 1/3 cup of butter over the low heat… then mixed the brown sugar in. It takes a while to constantly stir the sugar/butter until it is completely blended, without any pools of melted butter ontop. It took about 4 minutes.

Next, we poured the caramel in a baking dish… and here’s the fun part: Arrange the pineapple decoratively ontop of the caramel. We decorated with lots of Maraschino cherries too!

It was very fun decorating with fruit

In our mixer, we then combined flour, sugar, baking powder and salt on low speed (so it didn’t fly all over the kitchen) until it was well combined. *There’s a note in the original recipe… “Eva likes to use cake flour” … that was enough for us to go buy some!*

Dry ingredients- mix on LOW!

Next, we added the remaining 1/3 cup of butter, milk, and vanilla. We beat in the mixer on medium speed for about two minutes before adding the egg and beating for another two minutes. Finally, the batter gets poured over the pineapple.

The cake gets baked in the preheated oven until it is golden brown and passes the good ole toothpick test. Ours took around 45 minutes. It’s very important to follow these instructions for removing the cake:

Remove the baking dish from the oven and tilt it in all directions, releasing the cake from the sides of the dish.

Cool in the dish for 3 minutes.

Turn the pan over onto a serving plate and let stand for another 2-3 minutes.

Carefully lift the pan off the cake.

Don’t forget the pan/baking dish will still be VERY HOT! (I almost did!)

Ours turned out fabulous, with the exception of the giant crack down the middle! We put the cake back together and served it to our family… everyone loved it. The best part were the sides of the cake where the caramel reached and cooked right into it. The cake itself was so fluffy and light and so flavorful.

My favorite plate we own!!

If you want to be more adventurous, try to replace some of the milk with pineapple juice from the can! I would also suggest making more caramel if you would like your cake to be even gooier than ours!