Persimmon Spice Cake {with orange glaze}

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I already mentioned that I picked up my first Bountiful Basket this past Saturday and I loved it! The only thing from the box that had me stumped were the fuyu persimmons! I know one can simply eat these as is, but I really wanted an excuse to bake something sweet, so to Google I went…and found nothing. I searched and searched for some kind of bread or cake that I could make but everything told me I had the wrong persimmons for baking!

Persimmon Spice Cake with Orange Glaze

Persimmon Spice Cake with Orange Glaze

Apparently hachiya persimmons are the fruits that normally go into cookies and cakes, but I still searched! I knew someone, somewhere had to have used fuyu persimmons in a cake. Then I found this recipe and I thought I can make this better! And that is exactly what I did! I kept the same methods, but exchanged some of the ingredients to incorporate the orange into the cake. I also used coconut palm sugar in place of the normal refined sugar and there isn’t one person in this world who would know the difference! Oh, and I used half whole wheat flour/half white flour just because I ran out of white flour, but that isn’t necessary. Just know that it works if you want to do that!

Take a look at that texture! Diced persimmons, chopped walnuts, and raisins. Delicious.

Take a look at that texture! Diced persimmons, chopped walnuts, and raisins. Delicious.

Persimmon Spice Cake

2 teaspoons baking soda

3 cups (about 6 persimmons) peeled, diced fuyu persimmon (or puree if you prefer to not have fruit chunks)

1/2 cup softened butter

1 2/3 cups coconut palm sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

zest from half an orange

2 cups unbleached, unbromated flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup rasins 

Orange Glaze

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

zest from half an orange

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a bundt pan.

Mix baking soda and persimmons in a small bowl and set aside. Beat sugar and butter together until mixed, then add eggs, orange juice, vanilla, & zest and beat until fluffy, about 2 – 3 minutes on high.  Fold persimmon mixture into egg mixture. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cloves, cinnamon, & nutmeg. Mix into egg mixture just until combined, then fold in walnuts and raisins.

Pour mixture into bundt pan and smooth out with a spoon.  Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. Meanwhile, whisk confectioner’s sugar, orange juice, and zest together in a small bowl.

When the cake is done, cool in the pan for 10 minutes or so, then turn out onto a platter and pour glaze all over.

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This is a great fall cake! Next time I end up with persimmons, I am going to puree them to see how that works.

Persimmon Spice Cake with Orange Glaze

Persimmon Spice Cake with Orange Glaze

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Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cake

I wish I could blame my chocolate-peanut butter addiction on pregnancy, but alas, I have been plagued with it all the days of my life! I love salty/sweet combinations in my dessert, just like I love sweet/savory combinations in my dinner entrees.  

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This recipe is a good balance of sweet and salty, especially with the addition of salted, roasted peanuts crumbled on top! The frosting is a peanut butter cream cheese frosting. Yum! You will definitely need a big glass of milk to wash a piece of this down. 

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I used a basic chocolate cake recipe, so if you have one that works for you, then use it! If not, keep this one handy!

Chocolate Cake

1 3/4 cup flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1/2 cup neutral tasting oil (I normally use grape seed, but you can use canola or vegetable)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup of freshly brewed coffee (you won’t taste it!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8- or 9-inch baking pans by spraying with baking spray or greasing with shortening, then flouring.  Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine the wet ingredients, then, with the mixer set on low, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Add the 1 cup of coffee and mix until just combined, scraping to bowl to make sure you got it all. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until cake is done (test with a butter knife or toothpick).

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

8oz softened cream cheese

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

1 tablespoons milk

handful of salted peanuts, chopped

In your standing mixer, mix peanut butter and cream cheese on high for about 3-5 minutes.  Turn the mixer off {or don’t and see what happens} and add the sugar, one cup at a time. Add the vanilla and milk. Taste and feel the frosting to make sure it’s the consistency of normal cake frosting. If it’s a little dry, add another tablespoon of milk. If it’s a little wet, add another cup of sugar. I sprinkled my cake with a tiny bit of cocoa powder and a handful of salted peanuts. 

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Enjoy!

Bored at 8am on Thursday

Oh, it’s Thursday!! That means I am another week along in my pregnancy.  Today I am 24 weeks pregnant, so roughly 16 weeks until I get to meet my Sweet Boy.

I was pretty bored this morning.  I was supposed to be reading my assigned readings for the week, but I couldn’t stop thinking of this amazing looking carrot cake that I stumbled upon yesterday.  I know I have made a carrot cake before, but that one was kind of healthy.  This one is just regular ol’ fattening carrot cake. I loved the idea of frosting only in the middle so much that I decided to make one this morning just like it! Well, not just like it. I used a basic carrot cake recipe (which I love) and then just a basic cream cheese frosting recipe. The recipe on her blog just seemed too long and I know the recipe I use never fails. And here is the finished product:

It looks like a lot of frosting in the middle, I know, but I had to make up for no frosting on the top or sides!

 

It tastes just as good as it looks! I baked it for a few minutes too long, but it still turned out amazing. I haven’t baked in my little Japanese oven in about 4 months so I had forgotten the little tweaks I have to make. Anyway, it is homework time for me since I decided to waste to morning making carrot cake. Have a great day, everyone!

Carrot Cake Recipe

4 eggs, beaten

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 cups finely shredded carrot (lightly packed)

3/4 cups cooking oil

*optional* 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted

1. Allow eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease two 9 inch round cake pans.

2. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and baking soda; set aside.

3. In another bowl combine eggs, carrot, and oil.  Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Stir until combined. Pour batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until cake is done. Cool then frost. Yay!

Cream Cheese Frosting recipe:

8oz. whipped cream cheese (or regular. I use whipped because I like the fluffiness it produces)

1/2 butter, softened

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

3-6 cups powdered sugar (depending on the consistency you want. 3 1/2 cups gave me the thickness I needed)

1. beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in powdered sugar one cup at a time until desired consistency is reached.

 

(Much) Better-For-You Carrot Cake

I have been craving something sweet since I left Kentucky.  You see, Sam and I do not keep sweet stuff in the house for our own protection.  We eat fruits and, for very special occasions maybe craisins or spoonfuls of peanut butter, for dessert.  Sometimes I may sneak a bowl of (yard mulch) cereal in the middle of the night. Other than those few things and the container of sugar I have in my pantry, no sweets in this house! So I decided to take my favorite dessert (carrot cake) and find a recipe that used better-for-you ingredients.  Lemme tell you that there were tons of “healthy” carrot cake recipes, and I spend a whole day searching for the perfect one.  The recipe that I found only used 3/4 cups of sugar while most used the same amount, so I don’t know how they could call their recipes “healthy”. This recipe uses grated apples and raisins to add some sweetness, and holy cow, it is so good.

You will need:

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup of vegetable oil

4 eggs

2 cups of whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 cups grated carrots

1 1/2 cups grated, peeled apples

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup walnuts

The apples and raisins provide most of the sweetness in this cake. I read that you could also use pineapple instead of apples.

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease pan of your choosing. I used to 9 inch round pans, but you could use a bunt pan, cupcake pan, whatever…

2. Mix sugar, eggs, and vegetable oil together until mixture has thickened slightly (about 2 or 3 minutes of medium speed).

3. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add flour mixture to egg mixture a little at a time using a low speed setting.

4. Add carrots, apples, raisins and walnuts to the mixture. Just kind of fold them in until everything looks evenly mixed.

The mixture will be pretty thick. Just spread it evenly in the pan with at spoonula or scraper. Try not to eat any yet, it has raw eggs in it!

5. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until done (insert toothpick in center and see if it comes out clean!)

I had to cook one cake at a time. My Japanese oven only fits one 9 inch pan. =(

Now, you can’t have carrot cake without cream cheese icing, right? So I had to give in and get the regular Philadelphia cream cheese (whipped). However, I did not used 4 or 5 cups of powdered sugar for the icing. Instead I used honey.

Icing:

8oz whipped cream cheese

about 1/4-1/2 cup honey. You can taste after adding 1/4 cup and if it’s not sweet enough, add more.

1 teaspoon vanilla.

Mix together and chill until ready to ice the cake.

I added more walnuts..what can I say, I love nuts. (eh, Sarah?)

This cake turned out to be so yummy! I loved all of the fruits and carrots throughout the cake. It made for a really nice texture. The Honey-cream cheese icing went perfect, couldn’t even tell it wasn’t the normal cream cheese icing.

Well, I need to start dinner soon. Sam and I are having chicken enchiladas, cilantro-lime rice, and margaritas.  After dinner,  we are playing guitar hero and watching Dinner for Schmucks. It’s going to be a lovely night!

Blueberry Lemon Buckle & Winter Sangria

I have had a craving for a strange combination for a couple of weeks now: blueberry and lemon. I don’t really like the two by themselves, but together? Wow. The tangy lemon mixed with the warm blueberries, all packed into a buttery cake with a buttery crumbly topping. Mmmmmmmmm, it’s so good.

Robert and Debbie left today for the Mayo Clinic to try to figure out what is going on with Robert (my father-in-law), so I was pretty lonely.  Sarah (my BFFF) has been with me all day. We made winter sangria and this cake, then watched Dinner For Schmucks, which is a very funny movie if you love Steve Carell like we do. Here is the pretty sangria we made:

It’s been a great day, and to top it off, my husband gets home in an hour! I am very excited to see him again! I finally get to cook dinner for him again (and Sarah, too).  So, on to the Blueberry Lemon Buckle:

Crumb Topping:

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

Zest of 1 lemon

1/4 cup (1/2 stick butter) at room temperature

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Add butter, using a fork, piece by piece and mix until butter is reduced to the size of peas. Loosely cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator.

Cake:

6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the pan

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3/4 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar, divided

Zest of 1 lemon

2 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, divided

Crumb topping, chilled

Juice of 2 lemons (about 6 tablespoons)

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan.

2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter, three-fourths cup sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

4. Stir the flour mixture into the bowl, a third at a time, alternating with the buttermilk, until both the flour mixture and buttermilk are evenly incorporated into the batter. Gently fold 1 cup of the blueberries into the batter.

5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and distribute the remaining blueberries evenly over the top of the batter. Remove the crumb topping from the freezer and sprinkle it over the berries.

6. Bake the cake until it is lightly golden and firm on top, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through for even baking.

If you like, you can make a lemon glaze from the lemon juice (from the 2 lemons) and some sugar. Just mix 1/3 cup sugar with lemon juice in a sauce pan and heat on medium-low hear, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes.

Sarah, why didn't we get pictures of you eating this yummy cake?

The Winter Sangria recipe came from the Rachael Ray magazine. Meijer was out of pomegranates, but it was still good!

1 1/2 cups sweet red wine (or cherry juice for the non-alcholic version)

1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds

1 naval orange, halved and sliced 1 inch thick

1 granny smith apple, cored and thinly sliced into wedges

1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

3 cups seltzer

1 cup ginger ale

ice

Mix all ingredients, except seltzer and ginger ale, together. Chill for at least an hour. When ready to serve, add seltzer and ginger ale and serve over ice. Yum!

Have a great Saturday, world!

 

 

 

 

 

Coconut Cake with Almond Cream Cheese Icing

Alright, I was making this cake when the huge fight between Wall-e and Kitsune broke out (read about that here), so it’s a wonder that it made it out of the oven on time and eventually topped with icing.  I’m not sure what prompted me to make this cake, but it definitely served its purpose as a much-needed comfort food for the next few days.

You will need:

3 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)

2 cups sugar

5 large eggs (room temperature)

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract

3 cups all purpose flour, plus a little more for cake pans

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup whole milk

6-8 oz sweetened shredded coconut (the original recipe called for 4, but that wasn’t nearly enough for me)

For the frosting:

1 stick regular butter (softened)

8 oz of cream cheese (I used the whipped cream cheese to make it extra fluffy)

1 pound of powdered sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

about 1/4 cup sliced almonds and 1/4 cup shredded coconut to toast for the topping.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans, line them with parchment paper, then grease again and dust with flour.

If someone loved you enough to purchase a Kitchen Aid mixer for your wedding shower, pop on that paddle attachment and cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 4 or 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack eggs in small bowl and reduce to medium speed, then add one egg at a time to mixture. Scrap the bowl to make sure everything is getting incorporated. Add the vanilla and almond extract. The mixture will probably look curdled, so you should have no problem not licking the mixture attachments.

Don't worry if the mixture looks curdled.

In separate, medium sized bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed (unless you like flour in the face) alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk in three parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined, then fold in the coconut. Pour the batter evenly into the two pans and smooth with a knife. It should be light and fluffy.

Now the difficult part: quickly throw bowl and utensils into sink to avoid cake batter consumption.

Bake in center of oven for 45-55 minutes, until tops are brown and knife or toothpick comes out clean. Cool on baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn cakes out of pan to finish cooling.

For the frosting, place butter and whipped cream cheese into mixing bowl and mix together. Add powdered sugar, mix well. Then add almond and vanilla extract. Be careful to not bite your finger off as you test the icing.

If only I were single...

Now, you can do whatever you like with the coconut and almonds. I decided to toast them and sprinkle them on top of the cake, but if you want to mix the almonds into the frosting and sprinkle the coconut on top, or whatever. The world is your oyster. I do recommend toasting them either way, though, so you can get that yummy toasted almond and coconut taste.

Don't keep this in the oven for too long, just until you start to smell them toasting, and most of the time, you're too late then.

It didn't end up being as pretty as I had planned because we were all traumatized from the days events, but it was so good.

Now, grab a huge glass of really cold milk and enjoy!