Amy’s Carrot Cake

Amy’s Carrot Cake PhotoThe Dos and Don’ts of Carrot Cake
I’m making a carrot cake this weekend for Easter. While it may not be the most innovative choice for an Easter dessert, it is a family tradition. So…

The hardest thing about making a carrot cake for my extended family is that there are a number of rules one needs to follow in order to make it edible for everyone. First off, it better not have any raisins. To the younger members of our family raisins—in any way shape or form—are a horror that cannot be suffered no matter the recipe. I have no idea what event occurred in their early childhoods to foment such a visceral reaction to this particular dried fruit. But, to them, raisins are the very definition of eeew.

To be fair, I have my own issues. For example, you will never see pineapple in my carrot cake. I love pineapple and will happily devour a perfectly ripe one in a single sitting. But, there is something about adding it to a carrot cake that just doesn’t work for me. Also, I will always use pecans instead of walnuts. Doesn’t matter what I am making. Pecans are better than walnuts. There. I said it.

Lastly, I gotta add some coconut. True, it may not be traditional but the added flavor makes it non-negotiable.

When all is said and done, after everyone’s rules have been followed, you are left with a truly classic Eastern celebration dessert, Amy’s Carrot Cake. Let’s be honest though, while the cake does actually matter, its most important purpose, really, is to serve as the vehicle for cream cheese frosting consumption.

Amy’s Carrot Cake
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

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Turtle Swirl Cheesecake

Turtle Swirl CheesecakeThe Great Cream Cheese Shortage of 2021
So, apparently, there is a cream cheese shortage? Word on the street is that the shortage is so bad that Kraft, the makers of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, is offering a $20 digital reward for those who are willing to forgo their usual holiday cheesecakes or brownies for something else.

I haven’t noticed an issue myself. Every time I have been in the cream cheese section of any store there is no sign of a problem. But, I am not someone who normally will make cheesecake for Christmas. So, my cream cheese anxiety isn’t high.

I don’t make cheesecakes very often. Not sure why. That is except that cheesecakes are diva-like in their creation. They require more effort and attention than other desserts. And, then there is the fact that they are not easy on the waistline.

My husband loves cheesecake and laments the fact that I don’t make it very often. I did, however, make this Turtle Swirl Cheesecake for him years ago for his birthday dinner. I must admit this is probably my favorite cheesecake—which is surprising considering my real favorite is a well-made plain cheesecake. I like ‘em simple.

If you are a holiday cheesecake enthusiast, definitely give this version a try. It is a showstopper and would be at home on any holiday table. And, may we all get through this latest pandemic set back together…

Turtle Swirl Cheesecake Recipe
Adapted from Epicurious
Yields 12 servings

This cheesecake needs to be chilled overnight, so begin the recipe the day before. Read more…

Mocha Pound Cake

Mocha Pound CakeLet Them Eat Cake
There you sit. You have your turkey and gravy. You have your stuffing and your mountain of mashed potatoes. The cranberry sauce sings its siren song to you from the middle of the table. Your mouth is watering in anticipation of the feeding frenzy that is about to commence. (Step aside Joey Chestnut.)

The little voice inside your head reminds you to save room for dessert. But, you know that dessert consists mainly of pies. You are not really a fan of pumpkin pie or any kind of pie. The accompanying vanilla ice cream is always good but lacks a certain wow factor. What do you do? Leave room for the ice cream or go big on the yams?

To me, the Thanksgiving feast isn’t complete unless there is a pecan pie at the end of it. Some have the same intense feelings towards pumpkin pie. For my dad, it’s a mince pie. One of my relatives, though, is the ice cream guy. The reason? He just doesn’t like pie. Any pie. (I know. Freak of nature.) It got me thinking about what would be an appropriate cake for Thanksgiving.

My daughter suggested a carrot cake which makes a lot of sense given the spices. But, she was adamant that there be no raisins. (There is a serious raisin aversion amongst my children). I figured anything harvest-y would work well. A spicy cake with hazelnut frosting is very autumnal, or even this Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting would be lovely.

But, what about getting away from the flavors of pumpkin and other pies? You could just go crazy with a double chocolate cake. You can never go wrong with a chocolate cake. This Mocha Pound Cake recipe works particularly well for a couple of reasons. It is a bundt cake which makes it easy especially when oven space is at a premium. And, it contains coffee which is always necessary to battle the snoozies after you have stuffed yourself…

Mocha Pound Cake Recipe
Adapted from King Arthur Baking Read more…

Apple Bourbon Cake

Apple Bourbon CakeOctober Fest
Last weekend some friends hosted their annual Oktoberfest celebration. It was perfect. The weather was crisp and fall-like. The beer flowed and many pretzels were consumed. There were tasty brats and my favorite bockwurst. There may also have been lederhosen but it’s a visual that I’m trying to ignore.

I was in charge of bringing a dessert. But, what does one bring to a beer party? Chocolate seemed wrong. So, I figured a harvest-y flavor like apples would pair nicely. And, since the group was mostly adults, I knew something boozy would also work well. I went with this Apple Bourbon Cake, and it didn’t disappoint.

Don’t be afraid of the bourbon glaze. The flavor is not as overpowering as you might think. Some lightly sweetened whipped cream is a must, though…

Apple Bourbon Cake Recipe
Adapted from Melissa Clark, NY Time Cooking
Yields 10 to 12 servings Read more…