Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spiced Carrot Cake

Needless to introduce this classic Easter/Spring cake!
Altough I must say, my recipe concentrates the sweetness and a punch of cinnamon into the batter and has a rich vanilla, not so sweet frosting to it. The sweetened condensed milk and large pieces of grated carrots gives this cake a delicious texture and a rich flavor like no other carrot cake you've ever tried.

Feeling like making it? You'll need:

for the cake:

4 eggs

1 cup light brown sugar

1 can sweetened condensed milk

¾ cup oil

2 Tbsp of sour cream

1 ½ cups all purpose flour, unbleached

½ cup corn starch

3 cups grated carrots

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup chopped pecans (save 2 T or so for decorating)

Frosting & filling:

2X8 oz cream cheese

3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract

6 Tbsp butter, softened

For the cake:

Beat at medium speed the eggs with the condensed milk, sugar, oil and sour cream until creamy and homogeneous, about 4 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk the dry ingredients: flour, corn starch, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda.

Turn mixer off and incorporate the dry mixture into the cream. Fold in carrots and pecans.

Bake in preheated oven @350 degrees F using 2 X 9” spring form pans sprayed with PAM baking or coated with butter and flour, distributing the batter evenly into each one.

Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Don’t over bake it! Make sure you keep an eye on your cake around 35 minutes and take it out of the oven as soon as it dries. The 350 temperature is also very important so the cake does not form a crusty edge.

For the filling, just mix the cold cream cheese with softened butter until smooth. Incorporate vanilla and sugar little by little, reducing the speed of the blender during each addition so your kitchen isn’t all dusty!

You can cut each layer of the cake in half and make a really tall cake with 3 layers of filling or you can simply put one layer of filling. The first option is always my favorite because the cake gets a lot more moist. I also added ½ cup of 2% milk “seasoned” with 1T of sugar and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, spreading a few tablespoons at a time in all the layers of the cake. I added 2/3 of the batter to one pan and 1/3 to another, baked them separately because the times were going to be different, then I cut the larger cake in half and made 2 layers of filling and topping.

The amount of frosting is enough for a naked cake. If you want to decorate or cover the entire thing, make another ½ recipe of the cream cheese frosting.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sweet Corn & Chicken Breast Savory Triffle

The combination of chicken breast and creamy sweet corn is a typical brazilian comfort food. This triffle combines both things in one pyrex. Pulling these elements together, a nice layer of short pasta (I chose elbows). Perfect for a weekend meal or a quick weeknight dinner!

Ingredients (4 large portions!)

2 lbs of chicken tenderloins or strips
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 T tomato paste
1 small white onion
1 can of cream of chicken
1 can of milk
1 can sweet corn with the liquid
2 T all purpose flour
2 T butter
1 brick of cream cheese (8oz)
chives to taste
S&P to taste
Grated parmesan or your favorite cheese to broil
1/2 - 1 box of elbows (or any other short pasta)

>> Season the tenderloins with paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder and tomato paste. Pan fry them until golden brown in a heavy bottom pan using just a little bit of oil or spray. Set them aside.

>> In the same pan, sweat the chopped onion in the butter. Add the flour and mix. Incorporate the liquid from the corn can until a smooth cream is formed (no lumps of flour in the pieces of onions). Add the corn, the soup, cream cheese and the milk. Season with more salt and pepper if desired and chop a bunch of chives. Let it simmer stirring occasionally in medium heat, about 10 minutes.
Cook the pasta acccording to packaging instructions.

>> In a medium rectangular pyrex, make a chicken tenderloin layer, cover with a layer of pasta and top everything with the cream of corn. Add the cheese on top and take it to the oven to finish cooking and to broil. About 30 minutes @ 380F. Broil on high for 4 minutes.

>> Let it cool for 10 minutes so the cream develops some consistency and isn't too liquid.

Serve with wilted spinach or a nice lettuce salad for a homemade touch!


Note: For a spicy twist, grate 4 oz (1/2 block) of white cheddar chipotle cheese. YUMMY!!!