Downeast Maine Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

This recipe for pumpkin bread is not my own however I did decide to add chocolate chips on my own because everything is better with chocolate! You can find this recipe all over the internet but it is one of my absolute favorites because it is moist and packed with pumpkin flavor. I also love that it makes 3 loaves which means its great to share with friends. If you’re in the mood for some festive fall flavors – this bread is for you!

Downeast Maine Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Makes 3 loaves

  • 1 (15oz) Can pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 (12oz) bag chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Stir in bag of chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
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Chocolate Peppermint Bark

IMG_1159Happy Monday! Hope you had a wonderful weekend and got all your Christmas shopping done… because Christmas is a week from Thursday, Oh My! Trying to find the perfect gift for co-workers, friends or neighbors is difficult, which is why I think food is always a safe bet! Delicious, homemade, baked with love, treats! I mean seriously, who doesn’t love a gift they can eat? Its better than an ugly pair of socks or an awkward Christmas tree ornament you’ll feel obligated to hang on your tree for the next 10 years.

After reading this hilarious article, 2014 Hater’s Guide to The Williams-Sonoma Catalog, I learned just how expensive chocolate peppermint bark is when you purchase it from the designer brand Williams Sonoma… $30 per tin!!! That’s right, I can almost fill my car with gas for the same price. Unless their bark has flecks of gold in it or it was literally made by elves in the North Pole, there is NO reason you should pay that much for candy.IMG_1147 I took it as a challenge to make an equally delicious, wait no, an even BETTER bark than WS, and I’m pretty sure this recipe takes the cake. Creamy, rich, chocolate ganache sandwiched between two layers of silky white chocolate and topped with crunchy peppermint candy. Are you drooling yet? Forget the cookies, Santa wants peppermint bark this year! Enjoy! IMG_1163

Chocolate Peppermint Bark (Makes 30-35 pieces)

Ingredients:

  • 20 ounces good white chocolate, coarsely chopped, divided
  • 15 peppermint candy canes, crushed, divided
  • 12 ounces good dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Directions:

  1. Turn a 9×12 inch baking sheet bottom side up. Cover securely with foil.
  2. Melt half of the white chocolate (I used Ghirardelli) in the top of a double boiler over just barely simmering water, stirring frequently. If you do not have a double boiler you can use a Pyrex bowl over a pot of boiling water, see picture above.
  3. Spread the white chocolate evenly on to the prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1/4-1/3 of the crushed peppermints evenly over the white chocolate. Chill until firm, about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, melt dark chocolate, heavy cream and peppermint extract together in the top of a double boiler like you did with the white chocolate. Quickly pour the dark chocolate over the chilled white chocolate layer; spread evenly. Chill until firm about 20 minutes.
  5. Finally, melt the remaining white chocolate in the double boiler, stirring frequently. Spread white chocolate over the layers of chocolate. Sprinkle with remaining peppermint pieces; chill until very firm about 1 hour. Cut or break into small pieces and serve!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

photo 4-23Happy third day of Fall! I totally planned on getting this post out on the first day of fall however, my last two weeks have been just slightly crazy with traveling and work, which has left me with little time to cook, eat or sleep for that matter!  I just returned from a week in New York City which was a blast and very busy! I got to see some friends and family between the work I was doing there. I also got to eat at some fun new restaurants! Two of my favorites were The Meatball Shop, where I stuffed my face with an espresso ice cream and chocolate chip cookie sandwich (drool) and Artichoke Basille’s with their classic artichoke pizza which was so rich and decedent I was only able to eat one piece (drool again)! If you’re in New York in the near future I highly recommend you check them out! Anyways, I got back to Utah and it was full on on FALL here.

Yellow and Orange leaves, a chill in the air and that overall feeling and smell of fall. It got me thinking I wanted some delicious pumpkin treats! I tweaked this recipe from another one I found by substituting coconut oil for butter, I was so pleased with the result! photo 5-15Rich and moist with just a hint of pumpkin and sweetness from the chocolate chips. The coconut oil gave it a wonderful texture and kept them from getting to dry! If you’d prefer to use butter you can easily substitute it back in, (if you must!) its a 1:1 ratio so you’ll use 1 cup of butter instead of oil. Coconut oil is a great vegan baking substitute and I love the flavor and texture it brings to my baked goods! Cheers to you, enjoy! photo-609

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars (click for printer friendly version)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted (put the coconut oil in the microwave for 10-15 seconds until it becomes liquid and easy to pour.
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. set aside.
  2. With a standing or hand mixer beat coconut oil and sugar on medium speed until fully incorporated. Mix in egg and vanilla. Add pumpkin puree and mix well. (if you are using butter don’t worry if the mixture looks a little curdled.)
  3. Reduce speed to low and slowly mix in dry ingredients until fully incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips with a spatula.
  4. Spread batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake the bars for 35-40 minutes or until the top and edges are brown. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with a few moist crumbs on it.
  5. This is the hardest part.. WAIT until the bars are almost fully cooled before cutting them. I obviously did not wait and they were very difficult to get out of the pan in once piece! Enjoy!

Recipe slightly adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Key Lime Pie

photo 2-43Happy hump day y’all! You’ve made it through half the work week and lets be honest you deserve a treat for working so hard! There’s pretty much no better way to treat yourself or celebrate than with pie… and more specifically deliciously tart and perfect key lime pie! Last night I was celebrating because our coed rec league softball team went undefeated in our regular season (9-0!) So we are heading into the playoffs ranked #1! We played a double header under beautiful pink Park City skies! photo-604Doesn’t get much better than that! Oh wait it does… Key Lime Pie! This is my all time favorite go to recipe that was passed on to me by a friend. I have tired many variations of key lime pies and this one hands down always wins.

It is the perfect balance of tangy and sweet, it’s so satisfying and refreshing! I have also made it a few different ways, both as a pie and as individual mini tarts! The pie version is definitely less time consuming since you’re not packing the graham cracker crust into each little individual cupcake tin, however the result of the mini tarts is quite chic! Top these little babies off with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and booyah you’re the most popular person at the party!

Key Lime Pie (Serves 8)

Ingredients For the Graham Cracker Crust
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about one sleeve of graham crackers, finely crushed)
5-6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Key Lime Filling
3 Large egg yolks
1 14oz can sweeten condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh squeezed key lime juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated key lime zest
For the Whipped Topping
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan or large cupcake pan (you may need to do a few batches with the cupcake pan if you only have one). Bake in oven for about 8-10 minutes, until golden brown (don’t allow it to get too brown).
  3. Meanwhile, In the bowl of your electric mixer (you can use a hand mixer or kitchen aide), with the whisk attachment beat the egg yolks until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Gradually add the sweeten condensed milk and beat until you have a light and fluffy mixture (4-5 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the limejuice and zest.
  4. Pour the filling into the crust and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the filling has set. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once it has completely cooled, cover and refrigerate until serving time. (Pie can be made at this point and stored in fridge over night).
  5. Just before serving, make the whipping cream. In a separate bowl, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form, add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Place mounds of whipping cream on top of the pie filling.

S’more Banana Boats

photo 1-39Hey Y’all, I hope you had a great weekend and celebrated all the wonderful fathers out there! Dads are the best aren’t they? One thing my father and I have in common, among many other things, is our love for dessert. We could both eat the largest dinner and be stuffed to the gills and somehow, find a little extra space for a piece of chocolate cake or pie. I always think a summertime camping and BBQ dessert staple are S’mores!

But its time to jazz up the classic campfire treat with a little something extra… The banana boat s’more! Don’t get me wrong, this is not replacing the traditional s’more, it is merely keeping your campfire from getting bored! Plus an added bonus, you don’t need any extra ingredients (other than the banana) from the classic s’more.

This is a really fun dessert for kids to do too since they get to eat it right out of the banana! It may not look pretty but it sure does taste amazing!!!

Ingredients:

  • 2 banana
  • 4 large marshmallows, cut into small pieces
  • 4-6 pieces of Hershey’s chocolate, Snickers or Reeses peanut buttercups
  • 2 graham crackers or Oreos, crumbled
  • Tin foil

Directions:

  1. Using a knife, make a deep lengthwise cut along the inside curve of the bananas making sure you don’t cut all the way through. Open slit to form a pocket.
  2. Fill the bananas with marshmallows, chocolate and 1/2 the graham cracker.
  3. Wrap the bananas in foil and place them on the grill, or if you have tongs, place it on the campfire for about 5-6 minutes. Carefully remove from the fire/grill.
  4. Peel back the foil and sprinkle the remaining graham cracker over the top, enjoy with a fork or spoon!

*Cooks note- Get creative with the ingredients and toppings- any kind of candy or dark chocolate you have on hand would be good. You can also use Golden Grahams cereal, cinnamon toast crunch cereal or thin mint cookies to crumble on top. I love adding peanut butter or almond butter to these as well!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

photo-591There is something about fresh pies that make me think of summer and Martha’s Vineyard. Maybe it’s because as a child my family only ate pie in the summer, or maybe it had to do with one of my favorite summer activities… going over to bake pies with my Aunt Harriet.

I loved that she would always let me steal one of the sugar coated apples out of the bowl before we’d bake the pie (or maybe I always stole it with out her noticing…?) Either way, sleepovers and pie making at Aunt Harriet’s house were the best!

My absolute favorite pie flavor is strawberry rhubarb, I love how the tartness of the rhubarb balances the sweetness of the strawberries and flaky pie crust. photo 1-38While the pie is still warm you’ve got to top it with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, so it melts into the cracks and crevices of the pie… there is nothing better! I adapted this recipe from a few of my favorites, The Black Dog, Smitten Kitchen, and my Aunt Harriet’s recipe. This week in our CSA we got 1 pound of fresh delicious strawberries and the first thing I thought of doing with them, was make a pie! Hope you enjoy!photo-594

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (Serves 6-8)

  • 3 1/2 cups (about 5-7 stalks) rhubarb, sliced into 1/2inch pieces
  • 3 1/2 cups (about 16oz) strawberries, stems removed and cut in half (quartered if the strawberries are big)
  • 1/2 granulated sugar
  • 1/2 packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup quick cooking tapioca
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream (for glaze)
  • Turbinado sugar (for crust)
  • 2 pie crusts, either homemade or store bought

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a well-floured surface, roll out half of the pie dough into a 12-inch round circle and carefully transfer it into a 9-inch pie plate.
  2. In a large bowl, combine strawberries and rhubarb. In a smaller bowl, mix together sugars, lemon juice and zest, salt and tapioca. Pour sugar mixture over the larger bowl of fruit and gently toss to coat all the fruit being careful not to mash the strawberries.
  3. Mound the filling inside the bottom pie crust and dot with small pieces of butter. Roll the second pie crust out into a circle and cut it into 1-inch strips. Weave the top pieces of pie crust together to form a lattice top (learn how to do it here!) crimp the remaining edges of the pie.
  4. Brush the crust with heavy cream (or 1 egg yolk if you prefer) and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  5. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350degrees and bake for another 40minutes, until the pie is golden and bubbly.
  6. Top with fresh vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

photo 2-18Last weekend was a great weekend. I skied, I went bowling, I ate lots of cake and I celebrated my birthday surrounded by friends! Weekends don’t get much better than that! Cake is delicious all the time, but there is something about birthday cake that is extra special! photo-553Now my usual request for birthday cake is my moms carrot cake (I posted it last year!) and I was lucky enough to enjoy some delicious carrot cake cupcakes this year, thanks to these lovely ladies above! (don’t worry I didn’t eat all the cupcakes myself)  But if its not carrot cake, I’d rather have chocolate… hands down! photo-551You won’t find a more classic cupcake than these delicious chocolate pillows. Top them with cream cheese frosting… because why would you have any other kind of frosting? And you’ve got yourself a heavenly piece of cake!

The secret inside them? Brewed coffee! Adding brewed coffee to your cake does not make it taste like coffee or mocha but rather it intensifies the chocolate flavor. This is possible because coffee has the same flavor profile as chocolate, but is less dominant than cocoa, so adding it helps your taste buds pick up on the chocolate notes. photo 5-8The end result is a super light but very chocolatey cake that’s not too rich and leaves you satisfied! Since this cake is all about the chocolate, be sure to use quality cocoa powder for both the cake and the frosting!

Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (click for printer friendly version)

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Dutched cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup good cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Brew Coffee and set aside. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line cupcake pans with cupcake tins, or for a cake coat two 9″ round pans with butter, dust with flour and line the bottom with parchment rounds.
  3. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl, stir with a hand whisk and set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer or hand mixer beat eggs and sugar until very thick. Beat in oil.
  5. Alternate adding flour and buttermilk to the egg mixture beating until well combined.
  6. Add coffee and vanilla until combined.
  7. Fill cupcake pans evenly, only filling them 1/2 way up. (same for cake pans)
  8. Bake for 20-30minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  9. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting them.

For the Frosting:

  1. With an electric mixer beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
  2. Slowly mix in powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
  3. Allow frosting to set in the fridge while the cake is in the oven.

photo-552

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups sifted powdered sugar (You can decrease this amount if you don’t care about it being as stiff for piping)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Read more at http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2008/04/my-favorite-chocolate-cream-cheese-frosting-recipe-the-cocoa-powder-makes-a-difference.html#iwF2PTlbOobDmSKl.99

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups sifted powdered sugar (You can decrease this amount if you don’t care about it being as stiff for piping)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Read more at http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2008/04/my-favorite-chocolate-cream-cheese-frosting-recipe-the-cocoa-powder-makes-a-difference.html#iwF2PTlbOobDmSKl.99

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups sifted powdered sugar (You can decrease this amount if you don’t care about it being as stiff for piping)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Read more at http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2008/04/my-favorite-chocolate-cream-cheese-frosting-recipe-the-cocoa-powder-makes-a-difference.html#iwF2PTlbOobDmSKl.99

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups sifted powdered sugar (You can decrease this amount if you don’t care about it being as stiff for piping)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Read more at http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2008/04/my-favorite-chocolate-cream-cheese-frosting-recipe-the-cocoa-powder-makes-a-difference.html#iwF2PTlbOobDmSKl.99

Chocolate Guinness Cake *Happy St. Patrick’s Day*

photo-531Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Hopefully you had a wonderful weekend and celebrated St. Paddy’s day a little early! Yesterday was a beautiful day! My mom is in town so we went skiing, then had a few apres drinks and I got my nails painted green to match my ski pants (and to feel festive!)

I was also in the mood to make a festive St. Paddy’s day dish but I am not a huge fan of corned beef and cabbage. For some reason I just can’t bring myself to eat it! So I decided to go for something I love to eat… chocolate! I saw this recipe a long time ago on Food52, but I was a little thrown off by the name of it… “Snake Bite.”

This cake is named after a traditional British drink called the Snake Bite which is the combination of beer and hard cider. Its named after the drink because there is stout in the cake and hard cider in the frosting, which makes for the most perfect combination ever! Last week I was looking for a good St. Paddy’s day dish and I realized this Guinness laced cake would be perfect!

Not to mention the cider you use for the frosting is called PERRY CIDER! Then I knew it was meant to be, I had to make it! Turns out it is so quick and easy and its totally delicious! So take that left over Guinness out of the fridge and whip up this perfect cake to celebrate!

Chocolate Guinness Cake with Hard Cider Cream Cheese Frosting: “Snake Bite”  Makes one nine-inch cake (Recipe from Food52)

For the Cake

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup good cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cups Guinness Extra Stout, at room temperature

For the Frosting

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup fermented pear cider (I like Ace’s)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a nine-inch round cake pan.
  2. Mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sour cream. Then whisk in melted butter and Guinness. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and combine with a rubber spatula. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting. Put the softened butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until creamy and well combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Slowly pour in the pear cider and mix until the frosting comes together. Let the frosting set up a bit in the refrigerator until the cake is ready to frost.
  5. When the cake is cool, transfer it to a platter. Spread the icing on top of the cake, slice and enjoy!

Chocolate Bark

Howdy friends! Its been another long break from blogging- I hate going too long with out posting something but I’ve been traveling a lot and busy getting the last of my holiday shopping finished. I was up until 1am last night wrapping my holiday gifts so I could ship them back East in time for Christmas. I thought I was so on top of things until I realized there was only one week until Christmas!

It’s not hard to believe that I love giving edible holiday gifts! Delicious holiday treats like cookies, candy and chocolates are always a welcomed gift at my house and people always appreciate a homemade gift. But lets be honest, with how busy the holidays get, finding time to bake 30 dozen cookies to give to all your friends isn’t always in the cards! Chocolate bark however only requires about 20 minutes of “cooking” and prep time before leaving it out to harden and voila… you’ve got a beautiful, homemade gift that everyone will love! I’ve always been intimidated with chocolate bark until I read this article from Food52 on how to make chocolate bark without a recipe- turns out its SO easy!

So I decided to experiment with two kinds and they both turned out great! The first bark is a classic made with dark chocolate, cherries, apricots and roasted peanuts. Feel free to swap the peanuts for almonds, cashews or pistachios or the cherries for dried cranberries or blueberries! The second bark I made was a dark chocolate and peanut butter swirl with cherries, coconut and pretzels. The salty sweet comb was to die for! Whip up a batch to bring to your holiday party this weekend, its sure to be a hit!! Enjoy!

Classic Chocolate Bark

  • 16 oz (4 bars) Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet baking bar
  • 3/4 cup chopped apricots
  • 3/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries
  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray, set aside.
  2. Melt the chopped chocolate bars in a large Pyrex bowl set over a pot of boiling water until a few large chunks still remain. Remove from heat and continue stirring until all the large chunks have melted. Using a rubber spatula, pour chocolate onto baking sheet with parchment paper and spread evenly.
  3. Generously sprinkle apricots, peanuts and cherries over the chocolate. If you prefer to add more or less of each feel free!
  4. Set aside and let the chocolate cool for at least 2 hours. Chop into 1″-2″ pieces. Serve at room temperature and Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bark

  • 8oz (2 bars) Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet baking bar
  • 8oz (2 bars) Ghirardelli semi-sweet baking bar
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup chopped pretzels
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries
  • 3/4 cup dried coconut
  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray, set aside.
  2. Melt two of the 60% chocolate bars in a large Pyrex bowl set over a pot of boiling water until almost smooth. Remove from heat and continue stirring until all the large chunks have melted. Using a rubber spatula, pour chocolate onto baking sheet with parchment paper and spread evenly.
  3. Return the bowl over the boiling pot and melt the two remaining semi-sweet chocolate bars with the 1/4 cup peanut butter until smooth. Pour this mixture on top of other chocolate mixture and swirl using a fork or spatula.
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate with pretzels, cherries and coconut.
  5. Set aside and let the chocolate cool for at least 2 hours. Chop into 1″-2″ pieces. Serve at room temperature and Enjoy!

Best Ever Birthday Carrot Cake

photo-384You know that cake you ask for every year on your birthday, the one that makes you feel special and loved and happy all at once? The kind of cake you go back for seconds, not only because its YOUR birthday but its YOUR favorite cake and its freaking delicious. This carrot cake is THAT cake for me, my mother’s best ever birthday carrot cake.

Today isn’t my birthday, (although you might have seen in my last post, Ski Boots in the Kitchen just turned 1!) but I decided I needed a little slice of heaven! Whenever I go to a restaurant and they have carrot cake on the menu, I have to try it. Let me tell you good carrot cake is hard to come by and I am usually disappointed because its not as good as PomPom’s recipe.

There are two places that know how to do it right- one of the best carrot cakes I’ve ever had is at Bol in Vail, Colorado and the second runner up is from the Deer Valley Bakery (they made my carrot cake wedding cake… can you tell yet I’m slightly obsessed?) but that’s it. If you come across a restaurant that has better carrot cake than these two places call me, I’ll fly anywhere just to try it.

Long story short, I’ve been tasting cakes made with carrot for years and this one will forever be my favorite not only because its outrageously delicious but it brings me back home and its always made with love! Happy celebrating and cake eating- Enjoy!

Best Ever Birthday Carrot Cake (click for printer friendly version)

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup honey
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup powdered milk
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 small can (8oz) crushed pineapple and juice
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans) (optional)

For the frosting:

  • 1 8oz. block of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 (1/2 cup) stick of butter at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1lb box confectioners sugar

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees
  2. Grease, flour and line with parchment paper 3, 9″ round cake pans
  3. Using a hand mixer, combine oil and honey in a bowl. Add eggs one at a time, blend in vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift flour, wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and powdered milk.
  5. Blend the sifted dry ingredients with the honey, oil and eggs. Stir in remaining ingredients (grated carrots, crushed pineapple, coconut, raisins and chopped nuts).
  6. Pour batter into the 3 prepared baking pans and bake for 25-30 minutes. Let them cool completely on racks until ready to ice.
  7. While the cake is cooling, using a hand mixer, combine cream cheese, butter, confectioners sugar and vanilla in a bowl.
  8. When cake has fully cooled, place the first layer on a cake plate, spreading a thin layer of icing between each layer of cake. Spread a thin layer of icing around the outside of the cake and place in the fridge for 1 hour. This is called a “crumb layer” this will keep all the crumbs stuck to the first layer of frosting giving you the perfect looking cake when you frost the final layer! For more directions on how to perfectly frost a cake see here. Enjoy!