I got it (carrot cake) from my momma

Growing up my mom would make carrot cake on every birthday. Now, I make it on a Tuesday.

I live for this stuff.

I eat it for breakfast…lunch..dinner. Dessert. Every minute of every day.
Jam packed with carrots, this oil based cake is as good as it gets. Not too sweet, perfect amount of moisture, and the oh so comforting spices.

And then that delicately tart cream cheese frosting.

I am in heaven.

(Like Winnie the little polar bear, here in the snow.)

I won’t give the exact recipe because to me, it’s worth like 800 million trips around the world…..but I can give some advice.

Cut the sugar in almost 1/2. Add extra cinnamon & allspice.

And use EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA carrots 

Save time by shredding carrots in the food processor…

And shred wayyyy more than you think you’ll need (usually I double it)

Perfect.

4 eggs.

Eggs meet oil

{Eggs + oil} meet dry ingredients

Mix until like this

Add carrots

Yum

Now divide it up

Bakey bakey

Time to makey some frostey

Butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, & a touch of milk.

Magic

Now frost her up

The sloppier….The better.

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Cake Cake Cake

In honor of Valentine’s Day and my ever-expanding waistline, my sister and I made a cake. Like a huge cake. Cake cake cake cake……and it’s not even anyone’s birthday.

To start this bad boy, first bake THE cake. Here I cheated and used a mix, whatever.  Winnie was mad about this. Or did she just want to come back into the warm house?? You tell me.

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Next, make a basic pastry cream.  If you have a whole vanilla bean, use it. Those black flecks are gold.

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For a sturdy and delicious piping frosting, make Italian Meringue Buttercream.  Sounds intimidating I know, but it is really not.  We made a 1/2 recipe here.

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FEW TIPS: When boiling the sugar syrup, use a wet pastry brush to get rid of any sugar crystals on the side of the pan. Keep a close eye on the temperature of the hot sugar mixture because it goes through various heating spurts. Also, when pouring the hot sugar mixture into the whipped egg whites, try and avoid the sides of the bowl. You want a steady stream aimed at the¬†moving center of your mixer. That way you won’t get little chunks of hardened sugar. (Believe me, I have had it happen before)

Flavorings: Salt and vanilla extract are your friends.

Coloring: Food coloring is your friend.

Once everything is nice and cool…..it’s ASSEMBLY TIME!

Cut the cakes in half, layer on fresh raspberry jam….

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GIVE HER¬†a¬†good ole’ blob of pastry cream…

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A top.

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Perfect. Time to give her a crumb coat of buttercream….

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Repeat for next layer. We did a tiered cake here, so there was a second, smaller layer. Refrigerate uncovered, until hardened. (roughly 1 hour)

Cover with another layer of buttercream… if you don’t love my sloppy, handmade look, you can smooth out seams by running your spatula under hot water.

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THEN decorate your heart out.

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Because we are clearly both obsessed with hearts, my¬†sister made these awesome chocolate covered peanut butter and jelly bites. Aren’t they cute together?? (like me and Stephen Merchant??!!?)

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Serve it up…

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What do you think???

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Cake Cake Cake…..

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The ULTIMATE Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

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I was going for the rustic, homemade look here… right?? (keep telling yourself that)

I hate¬†fake strawberry frosting… honestly, it makes me¬†sick to my stomach.¬† So when I came across this little trick, I almost peed my pants in excitement. Seriously guys, this is SOOO simple and it’s¬†a guaranteed¬†crowd-pleaser. Go ahead¬†and¬†make it tonight… you¬†can thank me later.

Here is what you need:

  • 2 cups¬†frozen whole strawberries
  • Basic cream cheese frosting¬†(I am a brand snob so I swear by Philadelphia.. but do whatever you want here)

1) Place frozen strawberries in a microwave safe bowl, cover, and zap in the microwave for about 5 minutes… or until the berries are soft and juices are released.

2)  Then grab your most trusted fine-mesh sieve, and put it over a decent sized saucepan. Press the strawberries thru, until you release as much juice as physically possible (try and get like 3/4 cup). Set the reserved strawberry solids aside.

3)¬† Now comes the fun part when you will really get your¬†home smelling like a jam¬†kitchen…. Bring juice to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally for about 7 minutes, until the juice is syrupy and reduced by almost a third!

4) Let the mixture cool while you make your favorite basic cream cheese frosting.

5) With your mixer on low, add the reserved strawberry solids and reduced juice mixture until you get your desired consistency and taste. I love extra strawberry tang, so I almost always use all the juice, extra vanilla, a slight touch of fresh lemon juice (if too sweet), and salt. Remember salt is your hidden best friend when baking!

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Top with freshly sliced strawberries (patted dry) and voila! Do you like?

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The result will impress even Marthahhhhhh (Stewart)

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My sister and I used the same technique on our eldest sister’s wedding cake…. I wish it had chubby cheeks that I could squeeze.