Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

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Carrot cake is one of my guilty pleasures. I personally am not a huge fan of dessert, which is kinda weird I must admit. I rarely crave chocolate or sweets. I’m more of a salt girl, as I tend to crave cheeses or salty chips, crackers and dips. However, there is something special about this carrot cake that keeps me coming back for more.

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The first time I tried this cake, it automatically became the best carrot cake I had ever had. My mom made it one Sunday morning, and since that day I can’t go back to other recipes. This one is just too good! The pineapples really add a special something to the taste, keeping it moist and giving it a flavour kick. Also, the icing is to die for! Super simple, but also incredibly smooth and creamy. This carrot cake recipe is a keeper!

Ingredients:

(Adapted from Canadian Living)

– 1 cup all-purpose flour

– 1 cup whole wheat flour

– 2 tsp baking powder

– 1 tsp baking soda

– 2 tsp cinnamon

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 1/2 tsp nutmeg

– 1/2 cup granulated sugar

– 3/4 cup brown sugar

– 3 eggs

– 1/2 cup vegetable oil

– 2 cups grated carrot

– 1 cup canned crushed pineapple, drained

– 1 tsp vanilla

– 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Icing:

– 1 package low fat cream cheese (250g)

– 1/4 cup butter, softened

– 1/2 tsp vanilla

– 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

1. Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, in a bowl.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs with the sugars, oil, and vanilla until fully incorporated.

3. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just moistened.

4. Add in the carrots, pineapple, and walnuts.

5. Spread mixture into a 9X13 in. greased pan and bake for 40 minutes at 350°F.

Icing:

1. Add room temperature cream cheese to a mixer with the butter. Mix until smooth.

2. Add in the vanilla and a small amount of icing sugar at a time until desired consistency is obtained.

* Wait till the cake is cooled before icing. If the carrot cake is not served right after icing, make sure to keep the cake refrigarated. It should last around 5 days in the refridgerator.

Pumpkin Muffin Tops

Muffins are one of the tastiest and simplest baked goods that you can let yourself get creative with. Whenever I make myself a good batch of muffins I find that the most delicious part is the top. As summer slowly changes into fall and the temperature gently drops, I seem to find myself in the kitchen more often. With it being fall and all, I decided to explore cooking with pumpkin! I found a great little recipe for pumpkin cookies but decided to adapt it to make muffin tops.

This recipe creates moist, extremely fluffy muffin tops with the distinct flavor of pumpkin and cinnamon. These delicious treats are simple and easy to make, with their distinct fall flavors and sweet glaze.

Pumpkin Muffin Tops

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp baking power
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Crushed walnuts (optional, but delicious)

Sweet glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp butter

Directions

– Preheat the oven to 350.

– In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars together until creamy.

– Stir pumpkin puree, egg and vanilla into mixture until well incorporated.

– In a separate bowl, mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt). Slowly stir flour mixture into wet ingredients until blended (if you decide to use walnuts, add them right at the end).

– Drop tablespoon portions of muffin top mixture onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

– Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let these bad boys cool on a metal rack while you prepare the sweet glaze.

– GLAZE: Melt the butter then add milk, vanilla and confectioner’s sugar. Stir until well blended then drizzle over the delicious, festive muffin tops. ENJOY!

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Rustic Apple Pie

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There is nothing like the smell of fresh apple pie straight out of the oven. This yummy smell reminds me of the first time I attempted to bake this delicious treat. When I was very young, I made my first apple pie from scratch. It was my mom who first showed me how to dice the apples, roll out the dough, and bake this glorious pie but let me tell you, I am now the pie crust master.

The recipe below is the same one I have been following since I was 10 years old. It’s from a very old edition of a Betty Crocker cookbook that my mom has now passed down to me (I think the publishing date is from the early 1970’s) where the finishing result is far superior than any other pie recipe that I’ve previously baked. The end result is a flaky, delicious crust with a flavorful burst of apple filling.

Ingredients:

Pie Crust

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 4-5 tablespoons of cold water

Filling

  • 7-8 McIntosh apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of butter

Directions:

Filling

Begin by peeling and coring the apples, then dicing into cubes.

Place the apples in a medium sized bowl and toss with flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt till all the apples are well coated.

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While you are making the pie crust, the apples will have time to marinate in their delicious spice coating.

Pie Crust

Combine the flour and salt in a medium size bowl and add the shortening. Using two knives, cut the shortening into the flour until the mixture is about the size of small peas. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the dough forms a ball.

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Split the dough into two equal portions. Wrap one portion in cellophane and place it in the fridge. Sprinkle a dusting of flour across a work surface and proceed to roll out the second portion of dough to form a 10-inch circle.

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Carefully transfer the rolled dough into a pie plate. A handy trick that will keep the dough from tearing is to roll it back up around the rolling pin, then transfer and unroll over the pie plate. Using your fingers, push the dough firmly into the pie plate so no air remains underneath and trim any excess dough from the sides.

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Add the apple filling and top with bits of butter.

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Repeat the same process for the second portion of dough, rolling it out and transferring it directly on top of the apple filling. Again, use your fingers and pinch the dough along the rim to form a seal. Trim any excess dough.

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Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, use a knife to cut 3 slits into the top of the pie allowing the steam to escape while baking. Cover the crust of the pie with a small amount of aluminum foil for the first 35 minutes of baking to ensure that it doesn’t burn.

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Cook the apple pie for 45-50 minutes and remove the aluminum foil from the crust for the last 15 minutes. Let the pie cool and serve with some delicious ice cream for dessert!