Posts Tagged With: Dessert

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – An Easter Tradition

I’ve already mentioned how important food was to my family growing up. I associate food with memories from my childhood, especially the holidays. When I got married I decided that I wanted to make food a part of our holiday family traditions. What better way to celebrate Easter than with carrot cake! I find it difficult to eat carrot cake out at restaurants because most include raisins, which I despise. I love making carrot cake at home because it’s raisin-free, but if you like them, then add about 1/2 cup to the recipe below. Besides omitting the raisins and substituting a few lower calorie ingredients, this is the exact same recipe from The Bon Appétit Cookbook (2006). Watch out because this recipe is smack your momma good!

2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
3 c. finely grated carrots (about 1 pound)
1/2 c. chopped pecans

4 c. powdered sugar
2 8-ounce packages Neufchatel cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. (1 stick) margarine, room temperature
4 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease three 9-inch cake pans with margarine. Line bottom of pans with waxed paper. Grease wax paper. (*Note: I tried omitting the wax paper one year with disastrous results. I could barely get the cake out and had to do reconstructive surgery with the icing. It still tasted great, but it was not a pretty sight. Take the extra few minutes and use the wax paper. You’ll thank me when you’re trying to get the sticky carrot cake out!)

Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and vegetable oil until combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Slowly add to the sugar oil mixture until just combined. Stir in carrots and pecans.

Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean and cakes begin to pull away from sides of pan, about 45 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks, remove wax paper, and cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat all ingredients until smooth and creamy using an electric mixer.

Place each layer of cake on a plate or cake stand. Frost the first layer before stacking the next. Once all layers are frosted, frost the sides. Run water over an offset spatula and shake off the excess water. Use the wet offset spatula to apply pressure to the sides and smooth the frosting. Add decorative swirls or additional nuts as a garnish. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’m big on taste and not appearance so I didn’t do anything fancy to the outside. The taste more than makes up for the lack of adornment! Refrigerate and enjoy.

Triple-Layer Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

What are some of your Easter traditions?

Categories: Cooking | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t like Oreos?

I had the fortunate experience of being raised by an excellent cook. My mom was known for her kitchen as friends and family clamored for an invite. I’m not even exaggerating. There was a pastor who praised my mom’s cooking from the pulpit. I will never forget the saying, “Yummy, yummy in my tummy. We love mummy.” He was one fried chicken loving Brit.

When my mom married my dad, she only knew how to cook Italian food so my Granny took her under her wing and taught her everything she knew about Southern cooking. It’s for that reason that my Italian mother can make some mean fried chicken. Basically, I grew up on fried food and pasta. My Mom was a creature of habit in the kitchen. Why mess with a good thing? The only new recipes that were made in our house were handed over from family and friends after trying them first at their homes.

In this way my Mom has stifled my kitchen creativity (sorry, Mom). I love to get recipes from family and friends that I have sampled. Otherwise, I’m reluctant to branch out in the kitchen if a new recipe doesn’t sound like a bona fide winner, which I like to refer to as “smack your momma good”. *Make a mental note of that phrase. It will reappear and when it does, you’ll want to make those recipes yourself.

While I am branching out more these days by cooking new cuisines, such as Indian, and using new foods, like bok choy, you will see a lot of recipes on here from my family and friends. I like to pay tribute where tribute is due, but I will denote any changes that I’ve made. With that in mind, let’s get to my first recipe from my sister.

A little back story before I get to the recipe. I know what you’re thinking, if this is the back story, what the heck were the last four paragraphs? An intro, my friend. Ever heard the saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach?” Well, that saying is definitely true for my husband. Jeremy has a huge sweet tooth. He likes to have dessert every night. With a new baby around, I don’t exactly have the time to bake up goodies from scratch, but I can make the time for a no bake dessert. Pudding-based desserts are perfect for summer as they are best served cold. Below you will find the recipe for a No Bake Oreo Dessert. Yum!

All you need are these five ingredients: milk, instant vanilla pudding mix (substitute chocolate if you like), margarine, Oreos, and Cool Whip.

First, prepare the vanilla pudding according to the package directions.

Second, melt about 2 tablespoons of margarine in a 9 x 13 pan. Use more if you plan to use more cookies to form a thicker crust.

Third, use a food processor to grind a third of the Oreos into fine crumbs. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan with the margarine to form a crust.

Next grind another third of the Oreos into bits. Mix the bits into the pudding. Pour the Oreo pudding mixture over the crust and smooth it out. Top with Cool Whip.

Grind the remaining third of Oreos into chunks. Sprinkle them on top of the Cool Whip. Refrigerate until ready to devour.

I like to use the food processor to play with the texture of the Oreos. It adds a little crunch, which I enjoy. I’m not much on making food look pretty, but the color of the vanilla pudding with the cookies mixed in bothered me a little. It turned an unappetizing tannish color. I think the only way to remedy this is to sprinkle the cookies on top of the pudding instead of mixing them in or to make the pudding from scratch as the store-bought pudding mix has a slight yellow tint to it. Since I’m trying to save time, I think I’ll opt for sprinkling next go round.

Categories: Cooking | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: