Thursday, April 25, 2013

Banana Nut Cake with Peanut Butter Chocolate Frosting

I made this cake for one of my students. It's his half birthday tomorrow. (I know, I know...I am a total sucker. I am aware of this. I admit this. But what can I say? I am a teacher after all.) I decided to bake him a cake instead of buying one to make it more healthy, which is how I came up with this recipe.

On a side note: Another one of my students recently requested whipped cream for her birthday. Only whipped cream. Just a can of whipped cream and nothing else. Which I got her. And which she proceeded to inhale straight out of the can within about five seconds of me handing it to her. In the process, she got whipped cream all over herself and her desk. It was an amazing and wondrous sight. Wasn't that a beautiful story?

Banana Nut Cake with Peanut Butter Chocolate Frosting


*This recipe contains nuts, wheat, and eggs.

Equipment:
  • Oven
  • Large bowls
  • Metal whisk or hand/stand mixer
  • Spatula or wooden spoon
  • Fork
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cake pan

Ingredients:

Banana Nut Cake:
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 very ripe bananas
  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cups of chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • vegetable oil spray

Peanut Butter Chocolate Frosting: (Optional)
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup of all natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup of all natural cocoa powder
  • 1 stick of softened unsalted butter

Directions:

Banana Nut Cake:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rack should be set in the middle of the oven. 
  • In a large bowl, mix together flour, flax, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Mash bananas with a fork. Bananas should be very ripe and dark.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, mashed bananas, and oil, until well-combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing slowly. Do not over mix or cake may become tough. Just stir until everything comes together.
  • Stir in the chopped pecans. Batter will be thick.
  • Spray the cake pan with vegetable oil spray. 
  • Pour the cake batter into your cake pan and spread out evenly with a spatula or spoon.
  • Bake the cake. Cooking time will depend on the cake pan you use. Approximately 25 minutes. Check cake towards the end of cooking. The cake should be golden brown and slightly firm.
  • Let the cake cool completely!
  • Note: These would make great cupcakes! I prefer to make pan cakes. Get it? Cakes baked in pans! Mostly because I'm lazy. But do what pleases YOU. You could even make muffins. But then you'd be a hippie. That made absolutely no sense.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Frosting: (Optional)
  • In a bowl, mix or whisk together peanut butter and butter, until well-combined. Butter MUST be soft or the mixture will be clumpy. 
  • Slowly whisk in the powdered sugar and cocoa. When the powdered sugar and cocoa are completely combined, whisk vigorously until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  • Spread frosting on top of the cake. 
  • Note: This is not an overly sweet frosting but it is pretty rich. And by rich, I mean insanely delicious. Like ridiculously good.

Conclusion: This cake is good. It's wholesome. It's healthy. It's great for kids. It's chocolaty and peanut buttery and banana-y. It basically tastes like your childhood. Nothing bad about that. Unless you had a bad childhood. In which case, eat this cake. It'll make you feel better. I promise.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

My fiance and I recently got an early wedding present of a KitchenAid Stand Alone Mixer! Woohoo! Isn't it beautiful??? Ooh...ahh...swoon...


I've always wanted to own one and now that I do, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. And I've been dreaming of cake recipes ever since.

The very first thing I made was a carrot cake, as requested by Tim and Steph, the wonderful friends who gave us the wonderful mixer. Yay friends!

They loved it. We loved it. Cream cheese frosting galore. 

The recipe I used was based on "Sigrid's Carrot Cake," featured on The Pioneer Woman. (Have you read that blog? A foodie must. I absolutely love it.)

Anyways, as delicious and as wonderful as that carrot cake was, it was so gosh darn rich. Rich it was so gosh darn. A little too rich for me actually.

(I had also od'ed on the sugar as I kept tasting the frosting too see if it was any good. Which it was. So so good.)

Here is the healthy-fied (is that a word?) version of the recipe. This tastes AMAZING. Truly. Every bit as delicious as the original version...but in its own healthier way. Let's get started!

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


*This recipe contains nuts, wheat, eggs, and dairy.

Equipment:
  • Oven
  • Large bowls
  • Metal whisk or hand/stand mixer
  • Spatula or wooden spoon
  • Box grater
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cake pan

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake:
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 large carrots
  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • vegetable oil spray

Cream Cheese Frosting: (Optional)
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 package of softened low fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 stick of softened unsalted butter

Directions:

Carrot Cake:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rack should be set in the middle of the oven. 
  • Set out cream cheese and butter to soften at room temperature.
  • In a bowl, mix together flour, flax, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, mix or whisk together eggs, applesauce, sugar, and oil, until well-combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing slowly. Do not over mix or cake may become tough. Just stir until everything comes together.
  • Grate 4 carrots. 4 carrots = about 4 cups of grated carrots.
  • Stir grated carrots and chopped pecans into cake batter. Batter will be very thick.
  • Spray the cake pan with vegetable oil spray. 
  • Pour the cake batter into your cake pan and spread out evenly with a spatula or spoon.
  • Bake the cake. Cooking time will depend on the cake pan you use. Approximately 25 minutes. Check cake towards the end of cooking. The cake should be golden brown and firm.
  • Let the cake cool completely!
  • Note: You DO NOT need to make the cream cheese frosting. The carrot cake is perfectly delicious on it's own or baked as muffins.

Cream Cheese Frosting: (Optional)
  • In a bowl, mix or whisk together softened cream cheese and butter until well-combined. (The cream cheese and butter MUST be soft or you will have clumps.)
  • Slowly stir in the powdered sugar. When the powdered sugar is completely combined, whisk vigorously until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  • Spread frosting on top of the cake. You only need a thin layer of frosting as it is very rich.

Conclusion: Yummy, decadent, and oh, so carrot-y! Make this cake today. It'll make you smile.