13 April 2015

Beth's Gluten Free Carrot Cake

I sent my friend, Beth Ellis a Lucinda's Wood Cake Box. Though she claimed not to be the greatest baker (great cook yes!) she said she had a recipe to try. 

Later she sent me a photo (see above) and said it looked OK, she would tell me later if it was any good. If it was she would forward the recipe. Frankly, if I had just pulled that cake out of the oven, I would have cut into it way too soon and tried it! Later, I got and e-mail stating it was wonderful -- hence the name.  So here it is.

Wonderfully Magnificent Gluten Free Carrot Cake
Makes 1 large cake
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Parchment paper and Butter for greasing the pan

3 cups All Purpose Gluten free Flour
1 Teaspoon baking powder
¾ Teaspoon baking soda
¾ Teaspoon fine sea salt
2 Teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ Teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ Teaspoon ground all spice
2 cups light brown sugar
½ cup white granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon Qia cereal or chia seeds
5 large eggs at room temperature
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 lb. carrots, trimmed and peeled and coarsely grated on the largest holes of a box grater or on the grating blade of a food processor.
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts

For the Frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. salted butter
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
4 oz. chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit inside the baking dish.  Butter the paper well then put back in the cake pan.

Measure then Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the brown sugar and white sugar and the Qia cereal or chia seeds and beat on the lowest speed to break up any lumps. Add the oil slowly while the mixer is running. Add 1 egg and continue to mix on low until smooth and incorporated. Shut off the mixer and scrape down the bowl and paddle.

Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, using a large rubber spatula to fold the mixture together until just incorporated. Fold in the carrots, along with the nuts and raisins, if using.
Pour batter into a 9 by 9 deep-dish cake pan.  Bake for 2 hours 45 minutes.

Directions For the Frosting:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter and beat on medium until smooth, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Shut off the mixer and scrape down the bowl and paddle. Add the cinnamon and vanilla.  Add the confectioners sugar 1 cup at a time and beat on low to medium speed, scraping down the bowl and paddle as necessary, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the walnuts.
Frost the cake!

Well, Beth confided that she never did frost her cake (as she is busily getting lean and mean) but I would go on and frost it as I am simply getting mean!

Thanks, Beth.

09 April 2015

Has Spring Sprung?

Lovely flowers form the yard.  Today I found my most skittish cat, Treat, noshing on something in the floor.  I found one of the flowers, carefully removed from the vase and about to become a snack.  I caught him in time and the flowers were set on a high shelf.  Treat got a different treat. 

Yes, I think it might just be Spring.

05 April 2015

Happy Easter

It was almost warm enough to eat outside.  But quite windy.  
There were the obligatory deviled eggs.

We made Bloody Mary aspic eggs with ramp pesto and chevre .

And cornbread eggs topped with a spread of country ham and pickled okra.

03 April 2015

Chocolate Pound Cake

As you know, from my post about my Southern sojourn, I returned with Cruze Buttermilk. I had one thing on my mind -- pound cake. The very first thing I remember being cooked for me in the old wood cheese box was chocolate poundcake.

Six years ago, the New York Times published Cheri Cruze's recipe for Buttermilk Poundcake.  My friend, Anne, used her baking box to make one.

One rainy afternoon, I found my mother's old recipe box and rooted around until I came across my old recipe. It was on a piece of crumbling paper, written in my big, loopy juvenile hand. One the back was the recipe for 7 Minute Frosting, the usual frosting my great aunts used on this cake.  It had been violently scratched out and replaced with a 4 Minute Chocolate Frosting.
I started out, convinced that I had everything I needed, until I reached for the sugar jar and found it empty.  I am not a big cookie maker.  All the cookies I make and therefore eat revolve around the chocolate chip/chunk/peanut butter combination.  Since most of those recipes call for a combination of white and brown sugar, I keep a jar of premixed sugar.  That saved the cake.

When I got ready for the ganache (in lieu of 4 Minute Chocolate Frosting) I realized there was no sweet milk. There was a can of evaporated milk leftover from Thanksgiving pie making.  I was a bit skimpy on the ganache.  I really like it to be a thick covering of chocolate and this batch was a little slim.

This recipe has a scant 1/2 cup of cocoa, so the cake is not overtly chocolate. Which is why I like a thick gaunach on the top!  But it is quite good. Pound cake, like fruit cake needs to be cooked low and slow. The nice thing about pound cake is that it will keep for quite some time if you store it in an air-tight cake tin. Here is the recipe.  Be sure to check you larder BEFORE you crack all the eggs to make sure you have everything you need.

While I cooked this in my Wood Cake Box, the low oven is recommend even if you use a a Bundt pan or angle food cake pan.  In a pan with a center hole, the cooking time will be about an hour and a half.  In the cake box, it can take fifteen to twenty minutes longer.

Chocolate Pound Cake

3 cups AP flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups sugar
2 sticks butter
5 eggs
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 300F.

In a medium bowl, sift the dry ingredients together.

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until bright yellow, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating till incorporated after each addition. Add the vanilla.  Alternate the buttermilk and the dry ingredients in three batches, ending with the flour.

Bake for 1 hour 45 minutes.   You want the cake to puff up and the top to crack just a bit.  A toothpick inserted in the cake should come out clean.

I think it needed another 1/4 inch of ganache!  But it was exactly as I remember it -- sans billowy white meringue icing.

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