What’s going on!
All hail fall desserts! Cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, coriander, and cloves reign supreme during this part of the year. Sweet potatoes, carrots, apples and pumpkins are some of the seasonal ingredients that allow these spices to shine in all of their delicious glory. I just love the smell of it all. Imagine standing outside your home where the air is cool and crisp. The leaves scatter in the wind and all around are signs of change. The once green trees are now warm shades of yellow, red, and orange. The leaves that have fallen are now brown, dry and crunch underfoot.The breeze that used to be unbearably hot is now refreshing and enjoyable. The sun is shining but her rays don’t burn your skin. Now picture yourself opening the front door and being greeted by the smell of cake and cinnamon. See yourself taking hot mini carrots cakes from the oven and covering them with fluffy whipped cream cheese and topping it all off with toasted walnuts. Envision using a fork to cut through the moist cake and watch the melting frosting fall down the sides of the cake as you take your first bite. Can you see it? Can you smell it? Can you taste it? It is my desire to get you there and with your baking skills and my recipes these mini carrot cakes will totally become your reality. Now come bake with me!
2 sticks margarine
3 c. sugar
1 tsp salt
4 oz. room temperature cream cheese
1 c. buttermilk
6 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
½ tsp b. soda
3 c. ap flour
4 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
2 c. chopped carrots
1 c. walnuts chopped and toasted (optional)
1 large bowl and 3 smaller ones
Measuring cups and spoons
Mini bundt cake pans
Pan release spray
Baking dish and parchment for toasting nuts
I start out with my mise en place, or mise for short. This is a term that means everything in its place. It is important to have all equipment on hand and all ingredients measured and ready to go. This will save time and frustration. Before I made organization a priority I always got to a point where my scattered brained caused me to lose focus. Now that I have found my flow and have embraced organization I work faster and more efficiently.
First things first, turn the oven to 350 degrees and spray the cake pans. While the oven is heating chop your walnuts and place in a baking dish. Once the oven has reached the desired temperature, roast the nuts until you can smell them. This won’t take long so be careful not to burn them. My mise en place consists of everything listed above. I neatly place everything I’ll need on my counter so it remains in arms reach. In the largest bowl (1) I have sugar, salt, margarine and cream cheese. In bowl number two I have combined the eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk. Bowl three holds my carrots and the fourth bowl contains the rest of the dry ingredients. Instead of adding nuts to my batter I decided to use them as a garnish, otherwise the nuts would be in the same bowl as the carrots.
Now that everything is in its place we can start baking. Begin by creaming the margarine, cream cheese, sugar and salt. Don’t forget to scrape the sides of the bowl and mix what came from the sides into the batter. This ensures that all ingredients are properly mixed. Once these ingredients have been creamed add your wet ingredients. Mix well, scrape sides and mix again. Add the dry ingredients now, being careful not to over mix the flour. At this stage I stop mixing as soon as the wet and dry ingredients have come together. Lastly fold in the carrots and nuts, if you are using nuts in the batter. Pour batter into cake pans and put your oven to good use. These mini cakes will be done when you notice the cake pulling from the sides of the pan or if you insert a toothpick in the cake and it comes out clean. Set the hot cakes on a cooling rack and allow them to cool before adding the frosting.
Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. room temp cream cheese
Vanilla to taste (tt)
½ c. chilled heavy cream
½ c. p. sugar
1 c. chopped and toasted walnuts (optional)
In a medium size mixing bowl cream the cream cheese and sugar. Once smooth pour in the heavy cream and vanilla. The cream cheese will weigh down the whipping cream so your peaks will be soft or you will see no peaks at all, however, this frosting will be lighter than your typical cream cheese frosting. Place a delicious dollop of whipped cream cheese frosting and top with toasted nuts and dessert is served. Enjoy this mini cake after dinner, or before, as an after school snack with the kids or just when the sweet urge hits. I’ll leave you to it while you love your sweet tooth. Thanks for baking with me.