Thursday, April 17, 2014

Chocolate Almond Carrot Cake

by Darla

Chocolate Almond Carrot Cake by BakingdomI really wanted to make a cute cake for Easter this year, but I wanted something new…something different and decadent.

For me, decadent almost always requires chocolate. It’s how my brain works.

What’s something quintessentially ‘Easter’ that would be better than ever with chocolate added?

Duh. Carrot cake. Seriously, it just got so much better. I also added almonds, instead of more traditional pecans or walnuts. Happy cake.

Chocolate Almond Carrot Cake with Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue by BakingdomI knew right away that this cake wasn’t going to have the traditional cream cheese frosting that you always see on carrot cakes either. I mean, sure, it would’ve been delicious, but I wanted something lighter and unique. I settled pretty quickly on doing a lovely Swiss meringue frosting, but I gave it a twist by using brown sugar and adding almond extract. The silky, lightly sweet frosting was the perfect compliment to the rich chocolate cake.

I decorated the bottom tier of this cake by using a basic star tip and piping simple loop-de-loops horizontally around the cake. Easy peasy. I found that the best method for this was to do the bottom row of loops first, then do the top row and work your way down, to layer the loops slightly over each other.

Chocolate Almond Easter Carrot Cake by BakingomAnd thanks to Wonderelle, my cake went into cuteness overload with these sweet Love Bunnies. I mean, really, can you even handle the cute? The gorgeous mint green cake stand, and glitzy gold glitter server (and matching knife) are also Wonderelle pieces. Everything you need for a beautiful Easter dessert table in one gorgeous little shop!

Wonderelle Goodies from BakingdomI seriously love all of the pieces I’ve gotten from Wonderelle. They’re all very useful and functional, while still being pretty enough to keep out and display, rather than hiding away in a cabinet. The little set of cupcake stands are a particular favorite. I’m actually using them all around my home to display sweet items (like mini Lalaloopsy dolls in my office).

Wonderelle Display from BakingdomAnd just look how ridiculously cute the Ice Cream Waffle Glass is with pretty straws in it. Fuhgedduhboutit.

Almond Chocolate Carrot Cake by BakingdomAll the spicy goodness of carrot cake, made richer and more decadent with a big shot of cocoa. It doesn’t get much better, friends. Oh wait…then there’s light and lovely brown sugar Swiss meringue buttercream, spiked with almond flavoring.

If you’re not an almond fan, or you have friends or family with a nut allergy, this recipe is still completely wonderful without the almonds and extract. Just replace the almond extract with vanilla extract, and have a happy day! :)

Thank you to Wonderelle for helping my Easter be sweeter and sparklier! After you make the cake, scroll down to enter for a chance to win $200 of your very own to spend at Wonderelle.com!

*Take note that the frosting in this recipe, since it is made with brown sugar, has a darker ivory or tan color. The bottom color on the pink and orange tier is what the frosting looks like without food coloring added. This is important to remember wham adding color, as you won’t achieve the same bright colors you will if you make the frosting with white sugar.

Chocolate Almond Carrot Cake
with Brown Sugar Almond Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Makes 2 8-inch round layers

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 125ml) hot coffee or hot water
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 cups (about 254g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (50g) cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (about 1/2 pound) peeled and shredded carrots
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1/4 cup (about 64g) brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 cup chopped almonds

FOR THE FROSTING
5 large egg whites
1 cup (255g) brown sugar, packed
pinch of salt
2 cups (4 sticks or about 450g) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 2 tablespoon chunks
1 teaspoon (5ml) almond extract (or vanilla extract)

Food coloring, optional

 

To make the cake: In a medium bowl, or a two cup measuring cup, add the semi-sweet chocolate to the hot coffee or water and let sit 4 to 5 minutes. Stir until all the chocolate is melted and thoroughly mixed into the water. Set aside until cooled to room temperature.

Once the cocoa/coffee mixture has cooled, preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 C). Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans (or spray with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper).

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the sugar, brown sugar, and oil; mix well. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Once combined, beat well for 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture is throughly combined and light in color. Stir in the carrots until evenly distributed.

Sprinkle 1/3 of the flour mixture over the bowl and mix until just combined. Add 1/2 of the chocolate mixture, mixing again until just combined. Repeat with reamining flour and chocolate mixtures, ending with flour. Mix only until flour is just incorporated. Do not over mix. Stir in the almonds until evenly distributed.

Pour the batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (baking times may be slightly longer, depending on the pan you use). Place the pan on a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting and serving.

 

To make the frosting: In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, set over a pot of simmering water, combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt. Heat the mixture, whisking often, until it reaches 160 degrees and the sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat and whisk on medium high speed until stiff peaks form, about 8-10 minutes. The mixture should also be room temperature, at this point.

With the mixer on medium speed, add the butter, 1 piece at a time, and beat until incorporated before adding another piece. Continue to beat until thick and smooth (if it looks curdled or soupy, just keep beating it until smooth again, another 3 minutes or so). Stir in the almond until incorporated.

Add food coloring, as desired.

 

Recipes by Darla

Wonderelle Giveaway from BakingdomAnd the winner is…

Comment-282…comment #282!

SophieCongratulations, Sophie! I hope you get the cake stand and the mini stands! Splurge! :)

**Whaddaya think? Wanna chance to win $200 to spend at Wonderelle?**

It’s easy! Just visit Wonderelle’s shop, browse around a bit, then return here and answer the following question in the comment section below:

“What will buy from Wonderelle if you win?”

 Personally, I’m completely smitten with the gilded Ice Cream Waffle Glass. Shiny!

Contest ends Monday, April 21st, 2014 at 11:59pm PST, and you’re automatically entered to win when you comment!

Want an extra chance to win? Just follow @Bakingdom on twitter and tweet, “I want to win a $200 gift card to @wonderelleshop from @bakingdom! http://t.co/3mwNBL5kyx” Once you’ve tweeted, return here and leave a comment saying you shared the tweet. Be sure to leave this as a separate comment; each comment is an entry.

For another entry, visit Wonderelle’s Facebook page, and ‘Like’ them. Afterwards, come back here and leave another comment, saying you ‘Liked’ their page.

That’s three opportunities to enter! 

This giveaway is open to international readers.

The winner will be chosen randomly at www.random.org and announced Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014.

I will contact the winner, so don’t forget to add your email in the email section!

**Comments are moderated, so if you’ve never commented before, it will take some time for your comment to appear!**

Good luck with the giveaway!

xo,
Darla

*This is a sponsored giveaway, but my opinions of the products are my own.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Espresso Cookie Butter Rice Crispy Treats

by Darla

Espresso Cookie Butter Rice Crispy Treats from BakingdomCan we talk about the 90s for a second?

I’ve been rewatching some of my favorite 90s shows on Netflix recently, and it’s been pretty awesome.

Let’s bring back chunky heels, please? I don’t even care how un-graceful they look, those things were bitchin’. Easy to walk in, but you’ve still got an awesome extra three or four inches of height – what’s not to love? Except on sandals. That’s never cute. Big, chunky Mary Janes, though… Who’s in?

High-waisted jeans, on the other hand… I heard they’re on their way back in, y’all, and I just can’t get excited about it. I know some people are stoked about this, but jeans up to my ribcage don’t do me any favors. Maybe it’s because I’m petite (i.e. short), maybe it’s because I have a short-ish torso – I don’t know what it is, but high waists are not my friends. Can we all just agree to make the mid-rise universal, and move on?

I’m gonna go ahead and add bare midriffs to the list of no-thank-yous, while I’m at it. Un;ess you’re at the beach or a nightclub or the gym. I have a theory that bare midriffs came in because shirts were all short, since waistlines were all high, and as the waistlines dropped, it took a while for shirt hemlines to catch up. Now that they have, let’s keep it that way.

Let’s get flare leg jeans back, though, because seriously, those chunky MJs are perf with ‘em.

OH. Also CK One, flannels, and basically every outfit from Clueless.

I really don’t think that’s too much to ask.

None of this has anything to do with the best crispy treats in all of history, so just make them and enjoy. ;)

Chopped Speculoos CookiesI decided that as delicious as these are with cookie butter added, mixing cookies in never hurts. Seriously, cookies only help. Ever.

I chopped the cookies coarsely, because I wanted them to add lots of crunch and cookieness.

Mixed Speculoos and CerealI also stirred them into the cereal before adding it all to the melty marshmallow goodness, so that I could be sure the cookies were even;y distributed.

Gooey Espresso Cookie Butter Rice Crispy Treats from BakingdomOkay, so these are ooey gooey amazingness. I added extra marshmallows to the mix because the cookie butter can cause the mixture to be a smidgen on the dry side.

Espresso Biscoff Rice Crispy TreatsI think my very favorite thing about this recipe is the espresso. It adds this lovely darkness, a slight bitterness, to the sweet and spicy marshmallow-y cinnamon deliciousness of the treats. These are crisp and crunchy, thanks to the cookies, but still chewy and wonderful, like you expect from crispy treats. I’ve made them three times this week. I wish I could say I was exaggerating, but I’m not, and I don’t regret a single batch. Not one.

Go make them…you won’t regret it either!

Enjoy!

For more coffee-laced goodness, swing by and check out my friend Tina’s Coffee House Cupcakes. Because coffee in cupcakes is always right. Always.

Espresso Cookie Butter Rice Crispy Treats
Makes one 9×13-inch pan

Ingredients

10 to 12 speculoos cookies, chopped coarsely
6 cups crisp rice cereal (such as Rice Krispies)
1/4 cup butter (unsalted or salted are both delicious)
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
12 ounces marshmallows
1/2 cup cookie butter (crunchy or smooth, such as Biscoff)

Lightly coat a 9×13-inch pan in cooking spray or melted butter; set aside.

In a large bowl, combined the chopped cookies and cereal; set aside.

Combine the butter and espresso in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, stir in the marshmallows. Stir constantly until the marshmallows are completely melted. Add the cookie butter and stir until just combine (the mixture can still be streaky). Stir in the cereal mixture until it is evenly coated with the melted marshmallows. Once combined, press the mixture into the prepared pan(s). Allow to cool completely before serving.

Recipe by Darla

Espresso Speculoos Rice Crispy Treats from Bakingdom

{ 8 comments }

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