Saturday, July 12

SUMMER and a Carrot Cake

Hello my lovelies! How has your summer been? I spent the first two weeks with my Dad and I came back to work, schoolwork. I thought I has gotten rid of schoolwork on the last day of school. You see, its a simple equation:

 Summer + school= error
school= work
summer=break (or no work in other words)

Therefore, school and summer do not equal anything! It's a terrible error!

Anyways, I'm taking an online p.e. class to be able to take band next schoolyear so I have that and two summer assignment from two different classes so I will say that my summer has consisted of work. But I have had loads of fun too with my friends and family :) 

Wow, I got a bit off track from what this post is supposed to be about which is Carrot Cake. Carrot Cake.....mmmmmm it's so delicious, especially with Cream Cheese Frosting. On the last week of school, my brother was graduating (I made him a cake, which is on the right ) and my aunt asked me to make her a separate cake, which was carrot cake. I had never made carrot cake before but I was excited and willing to give it a try! She loved it and I gave my dad a piece which he then proceeded to ask me if I could make another one for him on his birthday, of course I said yes!

When the time came to make the cake, I realized I had left all of my cake decorating supplies back at my house, which is 9 hours away. So I ended up with a really simple cake. Decorating the cake using a ziplock bag, a spoon and a butterknife! The good thing was that my Dad thought the cake was delicious and was very happy with it :)

Yield: One 2 layer carrot cake * recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiciton, with a few of my own little tweaks *

2 cups of light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil
6 eggs
1/2 cup of greek yogurt
4 cups of all-purpose flour
1-2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
4 cups of finely grated carrots (yes, hand grated, so this will take physical activity :( haha)
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoons of nutmeg
2-3 tablespoons of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 or 1 1/2 cups of pecan pieces (It depends on how many pecans you prefer in carrot cake)

Cream Cheese Frosting:

Two 8 oz. packs of cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons of heavy cream
3 to 4 cups of powdered sugar
3 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Buttercream Frosting:

1/2 cup of butter, softened
2 tablespoons of heavy cream
2 cups of powdered sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease two 9 inch cake pans (I like to place parchment paper on the sides and bottom of the cake pan and then grease it with soft butter)

*grating the carrots first is what I prefer to do, because it does take time*

2. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, mix together the sugar and oil.

3. Add in the yogurt and slowly add in the eggs. After everything is mixed in well, set the bowl aside.

4. In a large separate bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients.

5. Pour in the dry ingredients slowly into the wet ingredients and MANUALLY using a rubber spatula, mix the ingredients in. Add in the vanilla extract.

6. Gently fold in the grated carrots and pecans, the cake batter should be thick.

7. Evenly pour the cake batter into two 9 inch cake pans and let the cakes bake for 35-42 minutes. 

Making the Cream Cheese Frosting

8. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, mix together all of the ingredients until the frosting is at a creamy consistency (make sure that it is not runny, but a bit thick)

*I like to make a small batch of buttercream frosting to rim the first layer before filling cream cheese so that it will be stable, but it's your choice on whether you want to make it or not :) *

9. For the buttercream frosting, using a stand mixer or handmixer, cream the butter and slowly add in the powdered sugar and heavy cream. Lastly add in the vanilla extract and keep mixing until the frosting is thick and creamy. 

Now you're ready to frost!

10. Cut the cake tops and place them in a bowl to eat or use later for cake pops.

11. Place the first cake with the cut side upside down on a cake board.

12. Rim the top of the cake with the buttercream frosting and fill the rim in with cream cheese frosting.

13. Now place the other cake (with the cut side facing upside down) on top of the first cake so it looks like a sandwich with frosting in the middle. 

14. Now frost the rest of the cake however you wish and let it sit in the refrigerator until the next day and ENJOY!

Sunday, June 1

Mint Chocolate Brownies

Hello Lovelies! Long time, no see (well blog technically!) So, there's only 2 more weeks of school left, and I am so exhausted. Last week was testing week, which explains my absence for the past few weeks. It was crunch time, studying until I fell asleep! I mean, I had to pass my SOLs, or else I wouldn't pass the class. Thankfully, I passed all three of my SOLs, leaving me with 5 exams to take next week. "I'm almost done, I'm almost done " is what I keep reminding myself. Then I will be able to sleep and bask in the warm summer sun! Well last weekend, I wanted to bake something. I was done with my tests and finally had a break. But what would I bake? Well since I started baking, my friend had always wanted me to make Mint Chocolate Brownies. So I got to work, and found the perfect recipe. While I did tweak some of the ingredients, the recipe is pretty much flawless ( I adapted this recipe from your cup of cake ). Everyone loved these brownies, and my friend was overjoyed when he saw I finally made them, saying that they were very delicious. They are thick, with a fudge-like consistency. The sweet, refreshing mint filling is subtly perfect and the silky-smooth ganache melts in your mouth as you take bite after bite of these brownies.

 Bottom line: These brownies are amazing and life changing. 

I had a very fun week. On Thursday, I went over to my friend's house and she wanted me to teach her how to bake something, so I made my Chocolate Chip Cookies, which the recipe is here . She thought the cookies were very good and we had loads of fun. We also attempted to take tumblresque pictures, and failed miserably. On Friday, my brother organized a movie night with our friends, and while there was a lot of talking and playing around, we actually succeeded in watching one movie. And yesterday, I kind of accidentally crashed a wedding reception. One of my friends told me it was a party and invited me. When we arrived, I realized it was a wedding reception, and I was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt! But everyone there was really nice and I had loads of fun, plus they had sushi, which is always a plus :)

Yield: 12 to 16 delicious brownies
 1 cup of butter, melted
1/2 cup and 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder
2 cups of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla
4 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 to 3/4 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mint Filling:
2 tablespoons of softened butter
4 oz. of cream cheese
1 teaspoon of peppermint extract
1-2 drops of green food coloring (I only needed one drop of mint colored americolor food coloring)
1/4 cup of whipping cream
2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar

Chocolate Ganache:
1/3 cup of whipping cream
1 1/3 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
and lastly, 1/3 cup of butter
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees

2. Grease a 9x13 pan, you can use parchment paper, but I used plain ol' butter

3. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar

4. Add in the cocoa powder and mix in well

5. Slowly add in the eggs, one at a time, until they are well incorporated

6. Pour in the flour, salt, and vanilla

7. Keep mixing the batter until everything is well mixed and smooth

8. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips

9. Pour the batter into the pan, making sure it is even

10. Bake the brownies for 25-27 minutes

11. Once the brownies have finished baking, let them cool on a cooling rack for 20-30 minutes.

Start the Mint Filling:

12. When the brownies are cooled, using a stand mixer or hand mixer, mix the cream cheese and butter together

13. Slowly pour in the powdered sugar and whipping cream

14. Lastly, add in the peppermint extract and food coloring, until the filling is at a creamy and fluffy consistency

15. Spread the filling over the brownies, and let it refrigerate for 5 minutes in the freezer and 20 minutes in the refrigerator

Start the Chocolate Ganache:

16. In a microwave proof bowl, add in all the ingredients

17. Microwave for a minute and stir, then microwave for 30 seconds, making sure each time you whisk the ganache until everything is silky (It took only 2 minutes of microwave time in total)

18. Pour the ganache on top of the brownies and move the pan to evenly spread the delicious ganache!

19. Refrigerate for 45 minutes to an hour
20. Cut the brownies into squares, and ENJOY!!!!! :)

Monday, May 5

Vanilla Meringues with a Chocoalte Swirl

Well hello there lovelies. I hope that you have had an amazing day! Now I usually like to share a story before I describe how delicious my new concoction was, but today I am going to switch things up. These Meringues are light, which leave a very satisfactory feeling, not an over-full feeling. They are also so simple and cheap to make, and so exquisitely beautiful. Each bite is like a cloud, soft and airy but so sweet. Not an overwhelming sweet, but the kind that will leave you with a small smile forming. The slightly bitter chocolate taste comes last and it is not only a surprising taste, but a delightful one that reels you in to grab another meringue. 

*I adapted this recipe from Hummingbird High, and as per usual I tweaked a few things*

Now on to the story part; I have been completely and utterly obsessed with Vlogbrothers on YouTube. I have personally invested hours just watching their videos which are both very funny, and educating. Just about two days ago, I widened my list of YouTube channels causing me to spend most of this morning watching Connor Franta videos! I can't stop! They are just too funny and slightly relate able. I have even pondered the idea of making a YouTube channel myself and vlogging about my baking and maybe even putting up some tutorials. Tell me; would you watch them? Feel free to email me your opinions :)
Earlier this week, I was emailed by a company called Baking Deco. They sell a vast selection of baking supplies, which can be found here: . I really want to order some of their supplies and try them out myself! Hopefully I will be able to do that soon :)

Yield: 14-16 beautiful meringues

3 egg whites
4 oz. of bittersweet or dark chocoalte
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1. Pre-heat the oven to 275 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. 

2. On the stove top, melt the chocolate. (I filled a sauce pan with water and placed a heatproof bowl on top to melt the chocolate. Make sure the pan is on high heat so the water may boil before adding the bowl on top) Once the chocolate is melted, set it aside to cool.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and powdered sugar. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, whisk the egg whites together until soft peaks form.    
4. Slowly pour in the sugar mixture, vanilla extract and vinegar until everything is well incorporated.

5. Keep whisking until the mixture is glossy and has stiff peaks.

6.Slowly pour the chocolate in but do not mix it, so the meringues can have a marbled effect.

7. Pipe the meringues onto the baking sheet (1 meringue= 1 tablespoon) If you do not have anything to pipe them with, then you can use a spoon to drop them onto the baking sheet.

8. Bake the meringues for 50 minutes in the pre-heated oven.

9. Once the meringues have finished baking, carefully place them on a cooling rack and let them cool for 5 minutes.

Sunday, May 4

Sunday Shenanigans: A Cook-Out

Hello Lovelies! My gosh has it been some time. But I'm back, well rested, and with only a little bit more than a month until school ends, I am starting to relax. My neighborhood had organized a cook-out for today and I volunteered to bake. Originally, I had the cookie-making job but I ended up baking cookies, a cookie cake (Yes, it is a square cookie. I wanted to diminish the regular and slightly overused idea of a round cookie cake. The recipe for the cookie cake and the chocolate chip cookies are on this website here and here ) Vanilla Meringues with a Chocolate Swirl. 
*The Meringue recipe will be up tomorrow.*

I should probably fill you in on what has been happening for the past month. Well, Spring Break came and went fairly quick, but it was very blissful and I was able to catch up on my sleep. The next three weeks were a blur; tests, progress report cards, and projects. Everything has seemed to calm down, but its more like a tension. I know that at one point. the calm will subside and the bustling business of exams and SOLs will take place. I keep reminding myself that school is almost over. It's the only thing that is keeping me together because by now I am tired of work and ready for the warm, lazy summer breeze and for countless days spent swimming.......

Sunday, March 30

Cinnamon Roll Cake

 Hello lovelies! So this week has been exhausting. Why do you ask? Oh just because I had school on Saturday. Yes that's right, I said Saturday. All of the snow days we had caused many days out of school, so our school board is making the days we missed on certain Saturdays. So I dressed in the bumtastic way that I usually looked on Saturday and sadly trudged my way into class. I was so tired that I ended up falling asleep on the couch at 8 at night! I slept a total of 14 hours today. Of course, I had tons of energy when I woke up, so I decided that with all the time I had, I should bake something. But what? I didn't have a lot of ingredients so naturally anything too complex would be out of the question. Plus I had been looking at recipes over Pinterest and fell upon this one. I found this recipe at Sallys Baking Addiction, but I did tweak a few things. This Cinnamon Roll Cake is so amazingly-outstandingly-outrageously-fantastically delicious. The cinnamon-sugar taste is just so perfect together. The roll is fluffy on the inside and the glaze just seals up the perfection of this roll. I love to eat it when it is warm :) My mom absolutely loved this cake and had a piece with a cup of coffee. This is a perfect breakfast meal, just stick it in the microwave and heat it up!

I mean look at this beautiful cake :) Doesn't it look so scrumptious?

Yield: One Delicious Cinnamon Roll Cake

2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons of instant dry yeast
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup of milk (I used 1% milk)
3 tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 large egg

1/4 cup of granulated sugar ( plus 1 tablespoon)
1 1/2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
1/4 cup of butter
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 to 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar

 1. In a large bowl (or the mixing bowl you will use), whisk together 2 1/4 cups of the flour, active dry yeast, and the granulated sugar.

2.  In a separate bowl, heat the water, milk and butter together in the microwave until the butter is thoroughly melted (3-4 minutes).

3.Add in the hot mixture into the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, mix the ingredients together.

4. Add in the egg, vanilla, and the 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour. Mix until the dough is soft and sticky
(If you have a stand mixer, you may use the dough-hook attachment)

5. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.

 6. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 3-4 minutes and form it into a ball.

 7. Coat a bowl with cooking spray (like Pam) and place the ball of dough inside of the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap.

8. Turn the oven off and place the bowl into the oven while it cools down. Let the dough rise for 30 minutes.

 9. Once the dough has finished rising, on a lightly floured surface, roll it out into a 15x12 inch rectangle.

 Make the filling:

10. Soften the butter in the microwave for 20 seconds.

11. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract together.

12. Spread the butter over the dough.

13. Now spread the sugar-cinnamon-vanilla mixture on top of the butter. (You can use your hands when doing this but be careful, this does get pretty messy!)

 14. Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough into six 2 inch wide strips.

15. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. I used a 9 inch pie plate to place the cinnamon roll in. Basically, I wound the first strip and kept winding the other strips after that. As you can see, the cinnamon roll starts getting bigger...

                ...and bigger 

Until the roll is now huge! It wont touch the plate yet because the dough will double its size while its rising. So coat the sides of the plate with cooking spray and cover the top with plastic wrap.
 16. Turn the oven off and place the plate into the oven for 90 minutes. 

17. The roll will double in size and look like the picture above!
18. Once the roll has finished rising, take it out of the oven and remove the plastic wrap.

19. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and once it is done pre-heating, bake the cinnamon roll for 32-35 minutes. (After 15 minutes, cover the roll with aluminum foil and let it keep baking. In the last 5 minutes, I uncovered the cinnamon roll and let it brown more)

20, Once the Cinnamon Roll Cake has finished baking, let it cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack.

21. Make the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract.

22. Spread the glaze over the Cake and ENJOY! :)

Monday, March 17

St.Patrick's Day: Irish Soda Bread with Raisins

Happy St.Patrick's Day! I hope you all wore green today.  Let me tell you, when I was in Elementary School, pinches were delivered for those who didn't wear green. You would see those unfortunate kids fast walking through the halls with their heads down, trying to avoid any eye contact that could lead to a pinch. But since then, I have not experienced any pinching during Middle School and right now, High School. But I did try to make some kind of effort by wearing green socks, although no one could actually see them. So something that I absolutely love is Irish Soda Bread. I always get them at Farm Fresh, and the sweetness of the bread mixed with raisins is just so delicious! Just slather some honey on top and you're good to go!

 I wanted to make something Irish themed because of today, so I picked Irish Soda Bread. This bread that I made was not as sweet as in grocery stores, but has more of a hardy taste and so so so soft to chew. I have to say this was very delicious bread! It wasn't an overpowering taste, and the raisins just added just enough sweetness. The crust of the bread was just perfectly baked while the inside was just so moist and fluffy. It only took me less than 20 minutes to make, and 40 minutes to bake. The bread is actually very simple and if you let it sit for a few hours, the taste is so rich! This bread could be used to make sandwiches, or just spread some strawberry jelly like I did today and enjoy!

*The whole recipe is from A Cozy Kitchen, the only tweak I did was take out the whiskey, the recipe needed no real tweaks because it was so good!*

Yield: One Delicious Irish Soda Bread

3 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of butter, grated
1 1/2 cups of buttermilk 
 3/4 cup of raisins
 1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper

2. In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients.

3. Grate the butter and quickly mix it into the bowl until the butter is in little bits. Mix in the raisins.

4. Make a well in the center of the bowl, and pour in the buttermilk.

 5. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, mix the ingredients together until you form it into a ball.

 6. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough into a disk that is about 1 1/2- 2 inches thick. Do not over-knead or else the dough will get too hard.

 7. Place the dough on the baking sheet. 

8. Using a knife, cut an x on the top of the dough.

9. Lightly brush buttermilk over the top and sides of the bread dough.

10. Bake the bread for 40-45 minutes.

 11. When the bread has finished baking, place it on a cooling rack.

12. Let the bread cool for at least 2 hours or more, to let the flavors soak in.

13. Enjoy the bread!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)