Best Carrot Cake

This is my family’s favorite cake that we make at least once a year. This year it was for my 25th birthday. Anyone who claims they do not like carrot cake because it’s “healthy,” has not tasted this cake.

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The recipe is an old xeroxed page from somebody else’s cookbook, so unfortunately I can’t give proper credit. However, there is a blurb at the bottom of the page, which says:

Grace Meadows from Taylorville, Illinois was a finalist in the “Bake-A-Cake” category of the Blue Ribbon Culinary Contest at the Illinois State Fair, Springfield, Illinois.

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as my family does!

Directions:

Makes 8 to 10 servings

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups brown sugar

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp salt

3 cups grated carrot

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts

Cream Cheese Icing (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Beat eggs and oil in a small bowl. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. Add egg mixture; mix well. Stir in carrots and pecans. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack. Spread with Cream Cheese Icing.

Cream Cheese Icing: Combine 1 box (16 ounces) powdered sugar, 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened, 1/2 cup margarine, softened and 1 teaspoon vanilla in medium bowl. Beat until smooth.

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Spiced Pumpkin Bread

The season of bulky scarves, pumpkin spice lattes, and colorful leaves is upon us. Happy fall folks!

Now that it’s officially pumpkin season, here’s one of my favorites – spiced pumpkin bread!

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1/2 c honey, maple syrup, or agave

1/4th c brown sugar

1/2 c coconut oil

2 eggs

1/4th c almond milk (or milk of choice)

1/4th c apple sauce

1 c pumpkin purée

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cloves

1 tsp baking soda

2 c whole wheat flour

Pecans or walnuts (optional)

Sprinkle oats on top (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the coconut oil then immediately mix it with the honey, sugar, and eggs. The coconut oil will begin to solidify so stir in other ingredients right away. If clumps of coconut oil begin to appear, place in warm place (for instance, on top of the oven). Then add in the almond milk, pumpkin purée, apple sauce, and vanilla.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients together (nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and flour) then combine it with the coconut oil mixture.
  4. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan (9″ x 5″ x 2 1/2″). Sprinkle a few oats and cinnamon on top. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean, around 35 minutes.
  5. Let cool and serve with pumpkin butter from TJ’s.

Spiced Persimmon Bread

This is a variation of James Beard’s Amazing Persimmon bread recipe. It was my first time baking with persimmons and I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. The persimmons paired with the spices and nuts make it an ideal bread for fall and winter. Use very ripe and soft Hachiya persimmons. Once the persimmons are mushy, you can simply peel off the skin and mash them with a fork. No food processor or blender necessary.

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Ingredients:

3 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup honey

1/4 cup apple sauce

3/4  cup coconut oil

3 eggs

1/4 cup cognac

1 tsp salt

11/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp ginger

2 cups persimmon purée

1 ½ to 2 cups walnuts or pecans

1 ½ to 2 cups raisins or diced fruits (apricots, dates, or cranberries)

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and spices. Set aside.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, honey, apple sauce, coconut oil, and eggs.
  3. Peel and purée the persimmons (note: I like to leave some whole persimmon pieces in mine). Mix in the cognac. Then add to the second mixture with the wet ingredients.
  4. Combine the two mixtures then fold in nuts and dried fruit.
  5. Transfer the batter into a well-greased bread dish.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Allow the bread to cool before serving.

Guilt-Free Banana Bread (v +gf)

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Ingredients

3 tablespoons stevia (alternatively use 1/2 cup maple syrup or agave)

2 ½ cups gluten-free flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

5 ripe medium bananas

1 egg

1/3 cup almond milk

½ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice

optional

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)

* To make this recipe vegan, substitute 3 tablespoons of water + 1 tablespoon flaxseed for the egg.

Directions

In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. In another bowl, mash the bananas, and then add the egg, almond milk, and OJ. Mix well.

Combine the two mixtures together then fold in walnuts and raisins. Pour the batter into a well-greased baking pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees F until a toothpick comes out clean.

Take out and place on a wire rack to cool. Wait until the bread has cooled completely before cutting.

Berry Banana Bread

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Ingredients:

1 ½ c whole-wheat flour

½ c oats

½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

½ c butter (I used earth balance)

½ c brown sugar

½ c honey

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

2 bananas (mashed)

1 c fresh berries

Directions:

  1. Mix the flour, oats, salt, and baking soda together.
  2. In another bowl combine the butter, brown sugar, honey, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. Combine the two bowls together thoroughly then mix in mashed bananas and berries.
  4. Pour mixture into a well- greased baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.

Pumpkin Oat Muffins

‘Tis the season for PUMPKIN! Here is an easy and delicious recipe for pumpkin oat muffins. Happy fall everyone!

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Ingredients:

1 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup honey (maple syrup or agave work too)

2 eggs

1 cup pumpkin purée

1/4th soy milk (or milk of choice)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 ½ cup whole-wheat flour

½ cup oats (plus more for garnishing)

Recipe makes 12 muffins

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the coconut oil then immediately mix it with the maple syrup, eggs, pumpkin purée, soy milk, vanilla, and almond extract. The coconut oil will begin to harden again so it needs to be stirred in with the other ingredients right away.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients together (baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, flour and oats) then combine it with the coconut oil mixture.
  4. Divide the batter between the twelve muffin tins. Sprinkle a few oats on top of each muffin. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, around 20 minutes.
  5. Let cool and serve with pumpkin butter from TJ’s.