Want to know an easy way for the family to get in all of their daily servings of veggies? Just bake this delicious Carrot Cake from Gimme Some Oven!

My boyfriend’s birthday was this past week and I asked him what kind of cake he wanted me to bake and he decided on Carrot Cake.  I have a good, simple recipe for carrot cake but there isn’t much spice to it so I was browsing around for a good carrot cake recipe…you know; really moist with a lot of carrots and a little spice.  I came across a great recipe from Gimme Some Oven.  It was just perfect!  First of all there’s a whole pound of carrots in this recipe, so depending on how much you eat you could probably get in your daily requirement of veggies!  Hey, I can totally justify eating this delicious cake and not feel guilty at all!  And the cream cheese icing…a dairy serving! Bonus!! 🙂  

Oh my goodness!  This cake was so good!  The whole family loved it.  Wes said it was the best Birthday Cake he’s had all year.  I told him that was not a compliment, but he insists it was.  Whatever, it was pretty darn good and when the 11 year old and 14 year tell you how good it is and nearly lick the plate clean then you know it’s good!  Too bad I didn’t take a photo before they (ok, we) tore into!

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake Ingredients:
    • 1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 6 eggs
    • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
    • 3 1/4 cups flour
    • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
    • 2 tsp. baking soda
    • 2 tsp. salt
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
    • pinch of ground cloves
    • 1 lb. finely-grated fresh carrots
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
  • 3 (8 oz.) bricks cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 cups powdered sugar (more if needed to thicken)

How To:

Make The Carrot Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Or two 9-inch round baking pans.

In the bowl of a large stand mixer, mix together oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined and smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, and mix until smooth.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and cloves) until combined. Add the dry ingredient mixture to the mixing bowl, and beat on medium-speed until just combined, scraping down the pan at least once to be sure that everything is well mixed. Then fold in the grated carrots by hand, and stir until combined.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. Then bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Remove pans and let them cool on a wire rack until the cakes reach room temperature.

Then remove them and use a large knife to level off the tops of the cakes so they are level and even.

Layer the cakes with the cream cheese frosting, and then frost the outside of the cake as you desire. Serve that day or store, covered, for up to 4 days.

Make The Cream Cheese Frosting:

Using an electric mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter on medium speed for 1 minute or until smooth with no lumps remaining. Add in vanilla extract and salt, and continue mixing until combined. Lower speed to medium-low and gradually add in powdered sugar. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until combined.

If frosting is too thick, you can add in a teaspoon or two of water. If it is too thin, you can add in more powdered sugar.

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Peanut Butter Cups

The boys making Peanut Butter Cups

The boys making Peanut Butter Cups

What’s better than eating a peanut butter cup? Making them yourself!!  This recipe is so easy the kids made them with very little help from me. Seriously, all I did was set out the ingredients and clean up when they were finished.

I found this recipe on Hoosier Homemade.  It looked simple and yummy.  I love peanut butter and chocolate and I can’t wait to eat one. Right now they’re in the fridge and I can hear them calling me! I did eat a little bit of the peanut butter mixture that was left over, it was so good!  Perfect peanut butter taste with just the right amount of sweetness.

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter, divided in half
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips or Milk Chocolate chips
  • 4 Milk Chocolate Candy Bars (1.55 ounces each), coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Fill mini muffin tins with mini paper liners.  I just lined the muffin liners up on a baking sheet and it worked fine.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup peanut butter, butter and confectioners sugar and salt until smooth, set aside.
  3. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips, candy bars and remaining peanut butter, stir until smooth.
  4. Pour a teaspoonful or so of chocolate mixture into paper liners.
  5. Top each with a teaspoonful of peanut butter mixture.  We rolled it in a little ball and flattened it some then put it in the paper liner.
  6. Spoon chocolate mixture over  to cover the peanut butter mixture.
  7. Refrigerate until set.

You could also use dark chocolate morsels if you wanted.  After we had them all made I thought we should’ve added an Oreo cookie to some of them.  There are so many things you can do with this simple recipe; use crunchy peanut butter, put pretzels in it, add a whole peanut to the top…you get the point.

Now I’m going to peek and see if they’re ready to eat yet!

UPDATE:  We tore into these last night.  These Homemade Peanut Butter Cups are by far better than any store bought brand.  If you are one of my family members, these will be in your goodie bag this Christmas!

Mocha Cupcakes

Last week I whipped up a batch of Mocha Cupcakes with a mocha ganache filling and mocha buttercream icing. YUMMY

They certainly did not last long around here…coffee and chocolate are two things we love! I even took some to my CASA training and gave them out to the ladies I volunteer with. BTW, if you’re interested in volunteering or donating to a wonderful organization that helps children and families involved in the court system check out CASA.

These cupcakes were well received by everyone but be warned…they are very rich!! I will probably leave out the ganache filling when I make them again.

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The chocolate cake recipe is from the Jan/Feb 2012 edition of Food Network Magazine.

Ingredients for Chocolate Cake:

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

3 large eggs, at room temperature

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat over to 350 degrees and line cupcake pan with liners.

Whisk cocoa powder and 1 1/2 cups of boiling water in a medium bowl until smooth. Set aside.

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Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, vegetable oil, sour cream and vanilla and beat with a mixer on medium speed until smooth.

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Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in cocoa mixture in a steady stream until just combined, then finish mixing with rubber spatula.

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Divide the batter between 24 lined cupcake tins. Bake 15-17 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Ganache Ingredients:              

8 1/2 oz semi or bittersweet chocolate

2/3 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp butter, room temp

2 tsp instant coffee granules  (more or less depending on how strong you want it)

Ganache Method: 

Chop the chocolate and place in heatproof bowl and add instant coffee granules. Heat the cream until simmering and pour over chocolate. Let this sit for a minute, then stir until smooth.  Add butter and stir until combined.

Set aside to cool.

While the ganache is cooling, use an apple corer or pairing knife to cut the centers out of the cupcakes.  

Once ganache has cooled, spoon into a piping bag or ziplock bag and cut off the end.  Squeeze the ganache into the holes and fill to the top.

Frosting Ingredients:

6 cups powdered sugar (I know, That’s a lot!!)

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

1 (about 1 ounce) shot of espresso, cooled (you can also use strong brewed coffee)

Frosting Method:

Whisk butter in bowl of electric mixer until fluffy. Slowly add powered sugar a few tablespoons at a time.

Once the frosting looks thick enough, drizzle the espresso in and whip to combine it.

If the frosting is too thin add more powdered sugar.

You do not have to use all of the powdered sugar, just add enough for it to be thick enough to spread. I ended up using all of the powdered sugar and more because I didn’t let my espresso cool enough (Remember I told y’all I’m very impatient at times).

Ice the cupcakes and decorate with a chocolate covered espresso bean!