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Baked Goods

Baked Goods

Carrot Cake

There’s nothing better than cake but more cake.

Harry S Truman

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When doing research on the history of Carrot Cake we found out that many food historians believe that carrot Cake originate from such a thing as carrot pudding that was eaten by Europeans in the Middle Ages, when sugar and sweeteners were expensive, and many people used carrots as a substitute for sugar. Variations of carrot pudding evolved to include baking a crust like pumpkin pie steamed with a sauce or molded in pans as pudding with icing added on top.

Another 19th Century recipe comes from the housekeeping school of Kaiseraugust Aargau, Switzerland. According to the culinary heritage of Switzerland it is one of the most popular cakes in Switzerland, especially for birthdays of children.

The popularity of Carrot Cake was revived in the United Kingdom because of rationing during World War Two.

Carrot Cake is a cake that contains carrots mixed into the batter. Most modern carrot cakes recipe have a white cream cheese frosting. Sometimes nuts such as walnuts or pecans are added into the cake batter, as well as spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and ground mixes spice. Fruit including pineapple, raisins, and shredded coconut can also be used as a natural sweetness.

Pictured above is the original recipe card that was given to The Blade from his grandma Philipina. As you can see that recipe card has gotten great use over the years. We usually pull this carrot cake recipe out quite a few times in a year.

You will find that this cake is going to be one of your favorites after making it just one time. This carrot cake recipe is the perfect cake for any occasion or even non occasion. It’s what we call a very down home, comfort food type of desert.

Ingredients

2 cup sugar

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 1/2 cup oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups shredded coconut

2 cups shredded carrots

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup of crushed pineapple

Oven temperature 350

Baking time one hour

When we bake cakes, we love the presentation of a round layered cake. We have baked this carrot cake recipe in many different size pans from 9-inch round layer pans that is pictured above, 9 by 13 pan, cupcake pans, mini cupcake pan, small bunt cake pan, you get the idea. Pictured are our 9-inch round cake pans that have been in our family since I can remember my mom baking cakes. The bottom of the pans is removable to ensure ease of removing the baked cake rounds.

Utensils

Measuring cup for dry ingredients

Measuring cup for wet ingredients

Measuring Spoons

Wire Whisk

Box Grater

Mixing Bowl

Cooling rack

Rubber Spatula

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

We recommend gathering all your ingredients that you will need to execute a recipe.  Measure each ingredient and set them aside until the recipe calls for that ingredient. By doing this it will help keep you organized, and clean-up will be very easy.

When a recipe calls for eggs always break the eggs into an empty bowl to ensure there is no shell left behind with the broken egg that you will be putting into the recipe. Nothing worse that biting into eggshell.


A box grader makes short work of the task of grating the carrots for this cake. You could buy graded carrots in the grocery store instead of grating yourself. We tried that one time, and we did not care for the results of the cake. It seemed as if the carrots did not bake until tender, whereas when you grade the carrots yourself, you get a finer and fresher grade.

In a mixing bowl combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, shredded coconut, shredded carrots, and pecans. Mix the dry ingredients together with a whisk a fork.

In another bowl add your eggs and whisk them until broken and mixed. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla, crushed pineapple, and stir those ingredients together. When the wet ingredients are well mixed, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until the dry and wet ingredients are well incorporated.

When making a layer cake or cupcakes or any other baked cake that needs to be divided among baking vessels it is a good idea to measure or weigh out the batter for each portion. In the photo above you can see that we are using a one cup measuring cup to fill the cake pans with the carrot cake batter. This will ensure the layers will be equal sizes and balance the layers when they are stacked.

Bake the cakes in in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the rounds comes out clean. We do not grease and flour the pans for this cake due to the fact that the cake is super moist and have never had one stick the bottom or the edge of the cake pan. But if you want to be extra cautious you sure could spray the pans with food release.

Orange Cream Cheese Cake Frosting

Who doesn’t like cream cheese everything? Cream cheese frosting is the only frosting we have ever made to adorn the top, sides and the middle of this carrot cake. The orange zest that is added to the frosting gives it another flavor profile that is irresistible.

Ingredients

2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature

2 8-ounce packs of cream cheese, room temperature

2 cups of confectioners sugar sifted

2 teaspoons of grated orange zest

1 pinch of salt

We double the cream cheese frosting recipe to ensure we have plenty to cover the whole cake and a nice thick layer a frosting in between the layers of cake.

Utensils

Microplane

Hand Mixer or Stand Mixer

Rubber Spatula

Offset Spatula

 Parchment Paper

Cake Plate

Instructions

Place the butter in a mixing bowl and beat at high speed until fluffy.

Add the cream cheese to the butter and mix until fluffy.

Add the confectioners sugar and orange zest and salt and mix two to three more minutes.

Parchment Paper is a wonderful tool to use when applying frosting to a layer cake. The photo above shows how we lined the cake plate with sheets of parchment paper before applying that ice the frosting to ensure frosting would stay on the cake and not get smeared onto the cake plate. Using the parchment paper in this way will help for a perfect presentation!

The Offset Spatula offset spatula that is being used in the photos above is an awesome tool to use to put frosting on a cake. If you prefer you could use a pastry bag with a decorative tip. That would be a great way to apply the frosting to make the cakes look a bit fancier.

We highly encourage you to give this cake a try. Especially if you’re having company and don’t have time for a big fussy dessert. This carrot cake will fool everybody into thinking this it was a time intensive labor of love. This carrot cake recipe is also excellent to prepare for a potluck or making cupcakes for a bake sale. We usually make this carrot cake at Easter time and at Thanksgiving time to bring to our family potluck, it’s always a huge hit. After you bake this cake let us know what you thought about it. Or if you have any questions or concerns let us know we’ll get back to you as soon as we see your message.

Enjoy!

Baked Goods

New York-Style Cheesecake

“Because you don’t live near a bakery doesn’t mean you have to go without cheesecake.”

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Hedy Lamarr

Dessert is always in season. I (Blondie) have a love for cheesecake! Especially New York-Style Cheesecake. As you follow our blog you will soon catch on to the fact that I have a big passion for cake, cheesecake, cookies, pie, pudding, and brownies. Yes, I have a big, sweet tooth. I also love to know the history behind the food with which I have become obsessed. When I worked as a manager of a couple different restaurants, I held what we called “pre-shift” for all of our servers and bartenders to attend every evening just before service time to go over the features we were offering our guests that evening. The chef (the Blade) and I would educate them on anything about those offerings that they may not be familiar with as far as preparation techniques, ingredients, wine pairings and history or origin of the offerings that we were featuring. In doing so it helped the servers talk to their guests about what they were trying to sell them and if the item had a great story that they could relay to their guests, even better!

You ask; “What is the difference between a New York-Style Cheesecake as opposed to a cheesecake that does not have the word New York in it?

New York style cheesecake is different from other cheesecakes mainly because of its heavy and very dense texture. Heavy cream or sour cream, cream cheese, and egg yolks cause these signature characteristics of this classic cheesecake along with some different baking techniques such as the high starting temperature of the oven that the cheesecake is placed in to get a golden-brown crust then the oven temperature is lowered which allows for an even bake. The classic New York style cheesecake traditionally is served with no fruit, chocolate, or caramel on the top or along the side. I love a fruit topping for this type of cheesecake especially blueberries due to the lemon in the cheesecake. Lemon and blueberries go hand in hand with their flavor profile.

By the 1900s New Yorkers were in love. Virtually every restaurant had its own version of the cheesecake on their menu. Arnold Rubin is best known for his signature sandwiches. He is also credited for creating the New York- Style Cheesecake. Arnold Rubin was born in Germany and came to America when he was young. (1883-1970) The story goes that Ruben was invited to a dinner party where the hostess served a cheese pie. Allegedly he’s so intrigued by this dish that he experimented with the recipe until he came up with the beloved New York-Style Cheesecake.

Now that you have the back story of this fabulous dessert it’s time to get one in the oven, so you are able to sit down in a few hours and enjoy a nice slice of New Your-Style Cheesecake and tell the story that you just learned about what you are serving to your family and or guests.

Ingredients for the Crust

1 1/2 cups Graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

Ingredients for the Cheesecake

Five 8-ounce packages of softened cream cheese

5 eggs

2 egg yolks

1 and 3/4 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Zest from 1 lemon

This tool, a microplane will make short work of zesting any citrus fruit you need in any recipe. All professional kitchens have these in many different sizes.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Mix Graham cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup of white sugar, and the melted butter together.

Press mixture into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. We have found a 9″ Springform pan is the best size to use when making the New-York Style Cheesecake. The

We like to ensure all of the ingredients of the cheesecake is at room temperature before mixing.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, eggs, and egg yolks, mix until smooth.

 Add the remaining 1 ¾ cap of white sugar, the flour, heavy cream and lemon zest.

Blend until smooth.

Remember to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl to ensure the batter is mixed well.

Poor cream cheese batter into prepared pan.

Place the unbaked cheesecake on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and place in a preheated oven.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

Then turn oven temperature down to 200 degrees and continue baking for one hour or until the filling is set.

Cheesecakes can be a little tricky and a little intimidating when trying to determine when they are done. The rule of thumb for doneness of a cheesecake is to jiggle the pan. If the cheesecake looks nearly set and the center slightly jiggles it is done.

Remove from oven and use a sharp knife to run along the cheesecake and the inside of the pan to help release the cheesecake from the pan to prevent cracking the top of the cheesecake as it cools.

Utensils

All of these utensils will help you execute the making of this cheesecake.

·      Measuring cup for dry ingredients

·      Measuring cup for wet ingredients

·      Measuring spoons

·      Micro plane

·      Parchment paper

·      Mixing bowls

·      Cooling rack

·      Knife

·    Sheet pan

·      9-inch Spring form pan

·     Rubber spatula

·      Stand mixer or hand mixer

·     Food processor

We love getting comments from people that have taken the time to read our blog! We would love to answer any questions you may have or even just toss around different recipes and techniques you may have for us to try. We love learning and meeting new people with the same food and drink passion that we have!

Enjoy the New York-Style Cheesecake!

Baked Goods

Orange Scones

We can’t wait two weeks for Susie and Dale to come back from their Florida trip with the oranges that I requested they pick up for us to get started with some good citrus recipes. I was lucky enough to find some nice navel oranges at the local grocery store.

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Citrus fruits are in full season right now. I feel that I must take advantage of the oranges while they are so tasty. Let’s face it, other times of the year it’s real hit or miss trying to find awesome tasting oranges or grapefruit in our local grocery stores. The list of the many recipes with oranges being a main flavor profile in them is endless. One of my personal favorites to make most any time of the year is Orange Scones. Kinda like eating sunshine!

Ingredients for Scones

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • zest of two medium oranges
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon of orange extract

Instructions

Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine sugar and orange zest; I used a micro plane to zest the orange. This kitchen tool makes short work of this important task. Mix the sugar and the zest with your fingertips until the sugar is moistened and fragrant.

Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix until combined.

Grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater; use your fingers to work in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

In a small bowl, whisk the sour cream, orange extract, and egg until smooth.

Using a fork, stir sour cream mixture into flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands to press the dough against the bowl into a ball. The dough will be sticky first, but as you press, the dough will come together.

Place on a lightly floured surface and pat into a 7-inch circle about 3/4-inch thick.

Use a sharp knife to cut into 8 triangles: place on prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.

Bake until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes.

Cool for at least 10 minutes before applying the orange glaze.

Ingredients for Orange Glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • orange zest of one large orange

Instructions for Orange Glaze

In a medium bowl, prepare the glaze by mixing together the melted butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and orange juice.

Whisk until smooth.

Dip the top of the scones into the glaze and allow the glaze to harden for about a half hour.

I dip my scones twice!

Some History and Tidbits

Modern day scones consist of a base of flour and baking powder and are baked in an oven. In researching the history of the scone, I read that they were tracked back to the year of 1513 and were baked on a griddle and the main ingredient was oats. I assumed that scones originated in England, but I was wrong, they originate from Scotland.

I have had scones three different ways. The first time I had a scone was at a coffee shop where the mother of the owner of the coffee shop made homemade scones almost every morning. At first, I was not sure if I liked the scone, but I found it was a great pairing with an espresso. It was like a blue berry biscuit with a drizzle of powdered sugar on the top of it. A few years went by until I experienced my next scone which was at a tea house for a Christmas tea with family. At the tea house we were served a variety of different flavored scones some with icing some without. The scones were accompanied with clotted cream and lemon curd. I have fallen in love with the Orange Scones that are featured in this recipe post. Enjoy!

Utensils

Measuring cup for dry ingredients

Measuring cup for wet ingredients

Measuring spoons

Micro plain

Parchment paper

 box grater

Mixing bowls

Cooling rack

Knife

Sheet pan

Liquid measuring cups are usually glass or plastic with a handle. They allow you to pour a liquid into the cup and bring it even with a measure measurement line without spilling. Next slide dry measuring cups, on the other hand, hold the exact amount of ingredient and should be leveled off with a flat edge.

Using the right type of measuring cup can determine the outcome of the recipe you’re making.

We hope you will make these scones, and when you do, leave us a message about how you feel this page was laid out for the ease or not so easy to follow and execute making these scones. Most of the recipes that we will be sharing with you on this blog we have made so many times and consider them to be all time favorites!