Mini Carrot Cakes Three Ways: Trifle, Truffle, and Petit Fours (and a Bonus Recipe!)

 

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Happy Hump Day!

I definitely made these carrot cakes weeks ago, and I am certainly late in posting this recipe; however, my film editor and I made the video in a timely manner, and I am excited to announce that we are beginning to shoot videos to correlate with the blog from today onwards…exciting!

Heres the video!

I’ve always loved carrot cake; I had a terrible craving a few weeks ago, but I didn’t necessarily want to make an entire two-three layered cake for myself (although that would probably go quickly, without fail). I am a fan of mini desserts; they’re whimsical, fun, and they don’t make the diet conscious too jealous. 🙂

I decided to show you three ways of making mini carrot cakes because I couldn’t personally decide what I wanted to make. You don’t need to make three batches, either. All from one recipe you have three different desserts! If you have a favorite style, feel free to just make all petit fours or all trifles. It’s all up to you!

So…what’s the difference among the three?

Trifle: Layering cake and alternating with cream/frosting. This is great when you have a cake crumble/fall apart, but you want to make it look like it was intentionally “deconstructed.” Put it in a shot glass or martini glass to show that it’s all ready for the party.

Truffle: Similar to the aforementioned situation, you could have a crumbly cake and bind it back together with some frosting/cream and shape it into a fun ball. Truffles sound fancier than cake pop, but who are we fooling? Feel free to coat these in white chocolate (like the petit four below) to keep its shape and give it a sweeter edge.

Petit Four: Ah, the creme of the creme. The small, tiny, perfect bite of layered cake.  You can make it with the cream cheese frosting alone, or you may coat it in white chocolate on top to go for the sweetest level of deliciousness. I make round and square . Note: Round is easiest for pouring frosting and is the traditional “carrot cake shape.” Square can be done with or without the petit four cutter, but wastes much less cake than its circular counterpart.

If you are making these for entertaining, you may want to offer some choice for your guests. Also, it’s to show you how you can use one baking sheet pan to make a multitude of desserts. I can foresee this recipe coming into extreme popularity around Easter. For some people, they forget the sheer brilliance a carrot can bring to a dessert. I guess the fluffy bunnies serve as a reminder. 🙂

Hopefully, making this recipe will inspire you to make your other favorite cake recipes in a similar manner: a small, thin layer on a baking sheet. I first learned this when I made Seven Layer (Rainbow) cookies over Christmas. I had a similar revelation when I made Almond Petit Fours with Apricot Jam for my friend’s baby’s first birthday. Making tiny cakes are now becoming quite the pastime for me! Any recipe that has similar measurements that I am mentioning below will work! I think I might do a chocolate cake with raspberry mousse and chocolate ganache petit four for Valentine’s Day! Decadent bites are the best!

If you are fine with square cuts, you don’t necessarily need to order a petit four cutter; however, I find using my round and square petit four cutter has come in handy. I ordered mine on Amazon.

Alright, Doc…here we go!

Carrot Cake Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ÂĽ teaspoon salt
  • ÂĽ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup of sour cream
  • ÂĽ cup  canola oil
  • ½ cup  sugar
  • ½ cup (100gr) brown sugar, light or dark
  • 1 cup  of finely grated carrots (preferably using a Microplane)

Optional, but recommended…

  • 4 ounces of chopped pecans (or you can also use walnuts, if you like!)
  • White chocolate candy coating (Microwavable tray, if possible)** (only if you want to have a candy coating for the truffle or petit four)

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 8oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • ÂĽ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

**P.S: You will have leftover icing, and you will not have a problem finding uses for it. Make some cinnamon rolls, or do what I did the next day…I made “Cinnamon Roll(ed) French Toast). So. Good. (I will post the “bonus” recipe) at the bottom.

First, make the cake!

  1. Take everything out that you need and grate your carrots before you begin! It’s quite the arm workout. 🙂 All ingredients should be at room temperature for this recipe. While you’re prepping, pre-heat your oven.
  2. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 375°F . Line 17x11in baking sheet with a parchment paper and spray cooking spray all over the parchment paper and on the sides. If you don’t have parchment paper, you can survive–just make sure you use enough cooking spray to get the cake out! It’s very thin!
  3. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, mix together eggs, sour cream, oil, sugar and brown sugar until well combined. You may also add some vanilla extract here, about one teaspoon. Add flour mixture and mix just until combined. Don’t overmix at this point. Fold in grated carrots from bottom to top.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet and tap a few times to get rid of bubbles. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and inserted toothpick comes out clean. It took me about 15 minutes.
  6. Make the frosting while the cake is cooling. Beat butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until fluffy for 1 minute. Add powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for a minute. Then increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Transfer into a piping bag with plain round tip, if desired. If you don’t have a pastry bag, put your filling inside of a ziplock baggie. Squeeze it to a corner and using a scissor, clip a very small tip.

***To make all three desserts, I use a butter knife around the edge and slice vertically into three even pieces. I allocate one third of the cake to each dessert. Even if you’re only making the petit four, for example, you still want to slice the cake into thirds as you want layers of cake. This prevents you having to bake another sheet pan’s worth! You’ll be stacking one on top of the other.

Directions for Each Dessert

Trifle: In a given glass (martini or shot preferable), cut out and/or crumble carrot cake on the bottom. On top of this layer, add your cream cheese frosting. Alternate frosting and cake until you reached the very top.

Truffle: Scoop out 2-3 tablespoons of cake. Starting with a tablespoon of cream cheese frosting, put a dollop in your hands with the cake and roll into a ball like you would a meatball. Put in the freezer once rolled. Microwave the white chocolate. Stir every minute or so. Once properly melted, dip the truffle (or cake pop) into the tray and coat entirely. Let the truffle’s coating harden on a piece of parchment paper. To speed up the process, you may put the truffles inside a refrigerator.

Petit Fours: Cut out your petit fours using your round and/or square petit four cutter. If you don’t have one, you may use a ruler and cut squares by making elongated cuts diagonally.  Place the cutout cake layers on wire rack. Pipe a heaping tablespoon of frosting on half of the cake squares/ circles. Put another matching cake on top. If going for less sweetness/tradition, put some cream cheese filling on top,  using an offset spatula lightly spread the frosting and sprinkle optional pecans.

Alternative approach (if you are short on time/impatient)…put cream cheese frosting on whole layer of cake (remember, you cut your cake into three?) without cutting it into smaller pieces. Place a whole third of cake on top and press down. Put in the freezer for a few minutes to seal together. Using your petit four cutters/knife (if you’re cutting by hand), cut out your small cakes.

If you would like to candy coat your petit fours, make sure you freeze the cut cakes first. Melt your microwavable white chocolate tray in one minute alternates, stirring each minute for proper melting consistency. Once hot and melted, dip your cake and use a spoon to cover the entire mini cake with coating.Let the petit four’s coating harden on a piece of parchment paper. To speed up the process, you may put the truffles inside a refrigerator. Before it hardens completely, sprinkle on pecans, if desired. If you do not do it while it’s hot, it will not stick!

Enjoy!

Bonus Recipe: Cinnamon Roll(ed) French Toast (Recipe inspired by Scrambled Chefs)

 

16194903_727584080734383_6643892865896689340_n.jpgIngredients

  • 12 slices of white bread, crusts removed
  • butter for greasing the pan (or you can use cooking spray)
Cream Cheese Topping
  • Use your leftover cream cheese icing from above!
Cinnamon Filling
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp cinnamon powder
Egg Mixture
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon (add more if you want!)
  • 1 teaspoon of white sugar
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
  • ÂĽ cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients to make cinnamon filling. At this time, take out your leftover cream cheese frosting and make sure it’s room temperature.
  2. Prepare the egg mixture by slightly beating the egg and adding milk to it. Mix well. Add cinnamon and sugar as directed.
  3. Combine white sugar and cinnamon powder in a plate and set aside.
  4. Remove crusts from the white bread slices and with the help of a rolling pin, roll up the bread flat.
  5. Spread ½ to ¾ tbsp worth of cinnamon filling onto the bread and roll up. You do not need anything to help this stick together as the filling will do that for you. Roll it up tightly!
  6. In a non-stick pan, heat a little butter on a low to medium heat. Dip the roll ups into the egg mixture and place on the frying pan.  Let excess dredge before placing in the pan. Don’t overcrowd the pan. I made about 6 at once (they look like tiny eggrolls, but man are they filling!)
  7. Keep turning the french toast every 30 to 45 seconds or until slightly golden brown on one side.
  8. Remove from pan when every side is down and immediately put them in the coating mixture prepared early. Roll it around while it’s hot so it sticks.
  9. Serve with cream cheese glaze as a topping or for dipping.
  10. Serve immediately for the sweetest breakfast/dessert! 🙂

Blueberry Zucchini Cake with Lemon Buttercream

Blueberryzucchini

 

Happy Saturday!

I haven’t blogged again a while. Life has been changing so fast for me lately; I can barely keep up! Moving, new employment opportunities, and an upcoming wedding is enough to stall my recipes.  I just had my bachelorette party last night, and even though I am exhausted, I am not only making this cake, but I am also writing about it. If I can make this cake on only a few hours sleep, know that you can too. This is easy and delicious. Zucchini cake is perfect for summer baking as zucchini is plentiful and in season!

My future mother-in-law told me about this recipe. A woman from her church made this Blueberry Zucchini Cake, and she told me that it was a huge hit. I do believe in the power in numbers; that is, if you bring a dish or eat a dish at a potluck and almost everyone is coming back for seconds, that means that it’s a dish worth recreating yourself. She wanted the recipe, and the woman from her church gave it to her; here’s the original recipe.

If you love zucchini bread, you will love this cake. Zucchini has a lot of water, and thus, it makes for incredibly moist baked goods. I also think the inclusion of oil in this recipe also helps assure you that you’ll have a good bite. In addition, the amount of flour and eggs makes this cake dense, but I think it works well. Lemon and blueberry are always a great marriage; the perfect balance of sweet and tart. I was a little alarmed when I saw that there is four cups of powdered sugar for the icing, but it makes a firm icing that I think is necessary for the texture of the cake, and the sugar isn’t as overpowering as one may think.

Lastly, this zucchini cake made me remember why I love a food processor. My mother-in-law and I made this cake using the food processor for two purposes: 1.) to shred the zucchini quickly and evenly, and 2.) to whip up the lemon buttercream. If you do not have a food processor, go get one immediately. It’s a very underused kitchen tool that I think needs to be brought out more than once in a great while. It makes the prep work of cooking and baking such a breeze!

P.S If you make too much zucchini, freeze it in a ziplock bag. You could make my favorite zucchini fritters, too. They’re latka style and tasty!

Zucchini Cake

    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
    • 2 1/4 cups sugar
    • 2 cups shredded zucchini (depending on the size of your zucchini, you will need 1-2 pieces of zucchini)
    • 3 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1 pint blueberries (tossed in 1 tsp flour so they don’t sink down into your cake!)
Lemon Buttercream
  • 1 cup butter, (2 sticks, 8 ounces) at room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • juice of one lemon (buy two just in case you don’t have enough juice)

Directions

  1. Set oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease and flour a 9×13 baking pan. Preferably, use a dark pan (but if you only have glass, it’s okay; just watch your edges!
  3. You will make your cake first; while your cake is cooling in the refrigerator, then you make your icing!
  4. Prep your ingredients. Cut a zucchini in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut off the ends of the zucchini and discard. Slice your zucchini halves into smaller pieces to throw into your food processor. Use the shredding attachment until you get two cups. Do not drain the liquid.
  5. Once you have shredded your zucchini, beat the eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar until well blended. Fold in the zucchini.
  6. Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to combine. Slowly add it to the wet mixture, mixing just enough to blend. I add about 1/3 of the flour at a time, sometimes 1/4 of the flour. DO NOT OVERMIX! IT WILL BE CHEWY OTHERWISE!
  7. Fold in the blueberries, and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 50 minutes, just until the top is turning golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it. Cool on a rack. You may need to cook the cake more
  8. To make the frosting, put the softened butter into the bowl of a food processor and process until creamy. Add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, processing till smooth after each addition. After the second cup of sugar, add in the lemon juice. Scrape down the sides of the machine as necessary. Adjust the texture by adding a little more lemon or a little more sugar depending on your taste.
  9. Frost the cooled cake and store in the refrigerator.
  10. Enjoy with company; it’s your new easy to make and eat potluck dessert. 🙂

 

Blueberry Crumb Cake with Streusel Topping

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Happy Friday! It seems to be that everyone I know is experiencing some sort of insane weather, so this might be the perfect recipe if you’re stuck inside like many of us are! I would also save this for a “rainy/snowy/icy day” because there are a lot of dishes involved (sorry), but not really any more fuss than that. I love recipes that involve one mixing bowl, but generally speaking, this rarely happens because of the importance of having wet and dry ingredients separated. What adds another “bowl” to your dish load is the cream cheese layer, which should justify the elbow grease!

I am not really one for rules, but with baking, I have to conform. Separate dry and wet ingredients, level when you measure (make sure your cup and a half is actually a cup and a half), and make sure that your butter and eggs are actually room temperature (for as long as possible–the longer they are authentically room temperature, the better the flavor!) Of course these rules are not only applicable to this baked good, but all of them. All the rules stress me out in baking, but the results are usually always perfect. Predictability is rather comforting.

Speaking of predictability, I had to improvise an oven situation for today because I used a new oven cleaner in my main oven, and when I turned it on, the solution did not come off as I thought it did and started to smoke and smell chemical-laden. Blah. I think I’ll stick to my old ways of oven cleaning. I figured that NH3 (ammonia) at 350 degrees would not really make my cake so delicious, so I turned on my toaster oven and pulled out the racks to make way for my crumb cake. I couldn’t believe that I had enough room in there to put in my springform pan! I was scared it wouldn’t cook evenly (what if my Black and Decker isn’t the right temperature?), but it all worked out fine. The recipe is infallible.

Going back to this cake in particular, it is technically a “coffee cake,” which is very misleading because there is no coffee in it. However, coffee is the perfect compliment, and if you’re a coffee lover, make sure you have your java ready to go. I like calling it a crumb cake because of the streusel topping. Normally, when I eat streusel topping, it’s overly sweet and overpowering. This cake and topping is not excessive in its sugar content which I think makes it great to eat any time of day (particularly, breakfast). There are blueberries in it which makes it antioxidant-filled and less guilty. So yes, even resolutionists can eat this cake with moderate ease.

Let’s get started!

The Usual Suspects

You’ll basically need a stick of butter, three eggs (one of which will be divided by egg yolk and egg white), sour cream,  cream cheese bar or Neufchâtel, vanilla extract, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, vanilla, blueberries (fresh or frozen). You have most of these within your pantry and refridgerator, and here’s a fun tip: get blueberries at the dollar store (yes, I have and they’re great for baking!)

Filling:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese-softened (if you’re feeling healthy like me (ha), you can use Neufchâtel cheese because there is less fat and no taste compromise)
  • ÂĽ cup sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)**(if frozen, please coat those suckers with flour so they don’t sink! Also, do not defrost blueberries!)
Cake Layer:
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ÂĽ teaspoon salt
  • 5.5 Tablespoons unsalted butter- softened at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Âľ cup sour cream
Streusel layer:
  • â…“ cup sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter-chilled and cubed (very, very cold!)
Start Your Engines 
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 8 or 9 inch springform pan; you may use parchment paper if you have it, but if you butter the bottom enough, you won’t need it. Make sure you grease the sides of the springform pan!
  2. Filling: Mix together the cream cheese/Neufchâtel and sugar on medium-low speed until creamy. Add egg white towards the end of the process; mix on low just to combine. (Please save the egg yolk from this for the cake batter!) You may add vanilla in here, if you wish (but it’s not necessary.) If you don’t have another mixer bowl, wash it out and put mixture aside in a separate bowl.
  3. Cake: In a bowl, begin your dry ingredients. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and set aside. With an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar on medium-low speed until fluffy. Slowly add egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Slowly mix in the flour mixture alternating with the sour cream carefully. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Next, spread the cream cheese filling on top.  Coat blueberries (if frozen) in flour, and shake off excess (make sure it looks like they’re covered). Arrange blueberries onto cream cheese filling on top. You may add more than a cup of blueberries, if you wish. You could alternatively make a blueberry jam and spread it on for a twist, but the whole blueberries here are just fine.
  4. Streusel: Combine sugar, flour and chilled cubed butter in a bowl. Stir with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly. I personally use my hand as I think the heat transfer and a gentle hand makes this process easier (I scrunch my hand and lightly use my thumb against my ring, middle, and pointer finger to crumble.) Make sure the streusel is in pea-sized crumbs. Sprinkle the streusel on top of blueberries.
  5. All together: Bake for 40-45 minutes until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack.  Once cooled, run a thin knife (butter knife) around the cake and loose ring of springform pan (if you buttered enough, this won’t be necessary.) Store in the refrigerator as it tastes better chilled. Serve with a cup of coffee, duh.