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Posts Tagged ‘cream-cheese frosting’

After all of my travels last year throughout the world, I must say I was interested to find in Canada some of the basis of many meals and cooking techniques I also found in other places. I also grew more aware of what foods are available in Canada, and what exactly Canadian food is. If this is not a Canadian recipe, then I do not know what is!

As I cooked the first batch of dried blueberry pancakes smothered in maple syrup for my village in The Gambia, I realized I’d shared a true Canadian flavour with my hosts. Maple syrup.

This recipe draws on inspiration from the Joy of Cooking’s classic sponge cake recipe. I love the recipe as it is delicious while also being totally dairy-free and also oil-free, which makes it a crowd pleaser as long as no one has trouble with gluten or wheat.

I invented the icing, inspired by a rich but complementary cream cheese base, and made unique with pecan butter and maple extract.

I hope you like these as much as Catherine and all my friends did – they sure disappeared fast! It was such a pleasure to finally bake something for Catherine as we are in the same city for just about a month! I think we should take advantage of proximity while we can.

Ingredients – 12 cupcakes

3/4 cups plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsp baking powder, sifted
1/4 tsp salt

3 egg yolks (save the whites in the fridge, they will be used in a few minutes!)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup amber (or any other you have) maple syrup
1/4 cup boiling water
1 tsp maple extract (optional)

3 egg whites

Ingredients – maple pecan cream cheese frosting

2/3 cup pecans

1 cup cream cheese, room temperature
1/8 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup icing sugar
1 Tsp maple extract
pinch salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. To make the cupcakes, sift all dry ingredients together in a small bowl. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks for about a minute, until they begin to thicken. Gradually add in the sugar and maple syrup, and beat for a further 3 minutes on high. Add in the extract, and then beat in the boiling water.

Gradually incorporate the dry ingredients. You can do so with a beater on low or with a whisk (my preference). Using clean beaters and a chilled bowl, beat the egg whites into medium-firm peaks.

Carefully incorporate one quarter of the egg whites into the batter with a rubber spatula, and then add the remainder when it is light and airy. Do not over-mix.

Spoon the mixture into the cupcake liners, filling them to 3/4. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes depending on your oven, until a toothpick poked into the middle of the cupcake comes out clean.

To make the pecan cream cheese maple icing, start with making the pecan butter. If you have a food processor or blender, place the nuts inside and allow them to be processed until they become coarse pecan butter. Add in the cream cheese and butter, and continue to mix until everything is smooth. Add in the sugar and extract, and continue to pulse.

If you do not have a food processor, just buy some pecan butter and mix it in with the other ingredients in a bowl using a fork and then a wooden spoon once it is broken up.

If the icing is too runny, add a bit of icing sugar, or refrigerate! You can garnish the iced cupcakes with pecan halves if you like!

-Sitelle

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My grandmother’s carrot cake is to die for.  Moist and beautifully textured with nuts and coconut, it is unsurprising that our family often requests this cake for birthdays.  I only discovered a few weeks ago that her secret is to follow Silverpalate‘s carrot cake recipe.  Written by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, their recipes are classic, perfect for special occasions.

About 18 months ago, I made a bet with my friend Leslie.  We agreed that the loser would have to bake the other their favourite cake.  I promptly lost the bet, and ever since we have jokingly agreed that I better remit sooner rather than later.  Last night, I finally had the chance to pay out my debt, so I decided to cook the most sumptuous carrot cake I had tasted, this Silverpalate recipe.

This cake spares no frills (and is sadly not for a calorie-watching individual), decently filled with walnuts, coconut, and pineapple.  Surprisingly there is less carrots than coconut!  The cream-cheese frosting is smooth and tangy, a beautiful complement to the spiced carrot cake.  Leslie decided that this cake was more than worth the cake – although she is now threatening that due to the 18 month delay in remittance, I owe her a second carrot cake from the interest!

 

Carrot Cake

(10 to 12 slices)

 

Ingredients:

CAKE

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cup canola oil

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups shelled walnuts, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut

1 1/3 cups puréed cooked carrots

3/4 cups drained crushed pineapple

 

CREAM-CHEESE FROSTING

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

6 tablespoons sweet butter, at room temperature

3 cups icing sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two 9-inch layer cake pans lined with wax paper.

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl.  Add oil, eggs and vanilla.  Beat well.  Fold in walnuts, cocount, carrots and pineapple.

Pour batter into prepared pans.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until edges have pulled away from sides and cake tester comes out clean.  Cool on a cake rack for 3 hours.

Meanwhile, cream together cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl.  Slowly sift in icing sugar and continue beaing until fully incorporated and frosting is smooth.  Stir in vanilla.

Fill cake and frost sides with cream-cheese frosting.  Dust top with icing sugar.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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