a balanced plate with room for dessert


Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot cake. I love it in all different forms and with all different sorts of add-ins and toppings. Nuts, coconut, pineapple, cupcake or cake: I will shove it into my mouth. In fact, I love it so much that it made an appearance at our wedding:

Photo taken by Alacrity Photography

I don’t think I’ve ever had carrot cake with lemon, though. Not surprisingly, I love carrot cake with lemon, too. I love it a lot.

Let me back up a second. This whole carrot cake madness started because of a recipe swap. This swap was Blogger’s Choice. I was assigned Feed Me, Seymour. I found so many recipe on Kim’s blog it was impossible to narrow it down. I had five of her recipes open on my iPad, no joke. I finally narrowed it down to two and couldn’t go any further. So, I made both. The other recipe I picked from her blog will be coming shortly. I just couldn’t wait to share this carrot cake with you!

healthy carrot cake with lemon cream cheese frosting |

Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from Feed Me, Seymour

for the cake:
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups shredded carrots
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

for the frosting:
8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon skim milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13-inch cake pan with butter and line bottom with parchment paper. Grease parchment paper with butter. Set pan aside.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, oil, honey, and vanilla until combined. Mix in carrots and ginger.
  3. In another medium-sized bowl, whisk together white and whole wheat flours, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Pour mixture evenly into prepared cake pan. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely and slice into 36 bars.
  5. To make the glaze: combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat on medium until well combined. Pipe onto bars and serve immediately or store, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days.

Thanks to Taste of Home Cooking for organizing! Make sure to check out the other recipe swap posts!


Domo Cake

I would like to take a second and…




Ok, so this cake is (obviously) for my sister’s birthday. She came home over the weekend and we had a dinner for her at my parents’ house. I asked her about a week ago what kind of cake she wanted – fruit? chocolate? She replied “cheese”, as in cheesecake. And then said chocolate fruit. I replied “chocolate cheesecake with fruit?” She said “haha, I don’t think so” and finally ended it by telling me to make whatever I wanted.

Yes ma’am.

I set out and found the perfect, beautiful cake to make – a chocolate raspberry layer cake from Bon Appetit. At the grocery store, I had a change of heart. Why stop at a beautiful cake? I should go above and beyond and cake-ify her favorite thing in the world – Domo.

Yeah, Domo. That weird brown creature thing that is actually really, really cute –

photo from here

So, here’s my edible version of Domo. I’m going to be upfront – this cake was not a quick project. It took quite a few hours to get all the components ready, including my weird sketch of the Domo dimensions (Domensions?). 

domo sketch

I don’t regret a second of it. The look on her face was priceless. We tried to capture her excitement when she first saw the cake, but all the pictures turned out really blurry. I guess bouncing around will do that!

becca & domo cake

Plus, Domo loved it, too 🙂

domo and domo cake

My suggested timeline – set aside one night and the next day to make this cake.

The night before: Bake cake and let cool. Store in cake pan covered. Make fondant and let rest in fridge overnight.

The next day: make frosting, roll fondant, decorate cake.

domo cake

Domo Shaped Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake
cake recipe adapted from Bon Appetit and fondant from All Recipes

for the cake:
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup skim milk
2 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup canola oil
3 eggs

for the fondant:
8 ounces mini marshmallows
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound powdered sugar
red gel food coloring

for the frosting & filling:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

2/3 cup seedless raspberry jam

2 Junior Mints, for the eyes
1 teaspoon cornstarch, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons water

  1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9×13 pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper and grease well with butter. Set aside. 
  2. Mix together lemon juice and milk and let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Form a well in center.
  4. Whisk together lemon juice/milk mixture with water, oil, and eggs in a medium bowl until well combined. Pour wet ingredients into well of dry ingredients. Whisk until just blended.
  5. Divide batter evenly between the two pans. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 – 30 minutes. Cool completely and cover baking pan with plastic wrap. Set aside until the next day.
  6. For the fondant: Place marshmallows in a large microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for 1 minute. Mix in water and vanilla extract to hot marshmallows and stir until smooth.
  7. Grease mixer bowl and dough hook attachment well with shortening. Place mixture in well-greased mixing bowl. Add in powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, and knead on medium-low with dough hook until fondant is smooth. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can do this by hand. Grease hands and kneading surface thoroughly with shortening.  Knead in powdered sugar by hand 1/2 cup at a time. Once all sugar is incorporated, continue to knead for 5 – 10 minutes, or until fondant is smooth.
  8. Divide fondant in half. Form one half into a ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Spoon 1/4 teaspoon of red gel food coloring until remaining half of fondant and knead until color is well blended. Add more gel coloring as needed to reach desired color. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

The next day:

  1. For the frosting: cream butter in a mixer on medium speed. Add in powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Beat on low until just combined. Increase mixer speed to medium and add in salt, vanilla, and whipping cream and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. To shape Domo: Place 1 cake layer on serving platter, short edge facing you. Trim off 1″ from one of the long edges and set aside (blue line). Trim a 2″ piece from the enter of the bottom short edge to form the two legs (purple lines). Remove the trimmed piece and set aside. Repeat with other cake.
    domo cuts
  3. Take reserved trimmed pieces and form arms. The 1″ section (blue cuts) – 4 pieces formed the arm on the left. The 2″ piece removed for Domo’s legs (purple cuts) turned into the right arm. domo cuts arms
  4. Assemble 1 layer of the arms on the bottom layer of the cake. Spread half the raspberry jam on top. Place other layer of the cake body and arms on top and spread remaining raspberry jam on top.
  5. To frost, fit a pastry bag with a Wilton #233 tip (the grass tip) and fill with frosting. Pipe frosting on sides of the cake first, working in sections. Continue to frost the remainder of the cake.
  6. To decorate the face: Place one Junior Mint about 1.5″ from the left side of the cake and 2.5″ from the top of the cake. Repeat with the other Junior Mint for the other eye.
  7. To make the mouth: Allow fondant to come to room temperature. Combine 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water and set aside. Dust surface and hands lightly with cornstarch. Take 1/4 of the red fondant and roll to 1/16″ thick. Cut into a rectangle 4.5″ long and 3.5″ tall.
  8. Take 1/4 of the white fondant and roll out to 1/16″ thick. Cut into 8 triangles 1″ wide and 1″ tall for the teeth. Brush the back of each triangle lightly with the cornstarch-water mix and place on arrange four triangles on the top of the rectangle and four on the bottom to make the teeth. Press lightly to adhere.
  9. Move “mouth” to cake. Place in center of the cake, about 1.5″ below the eyes.
  10. Take a deep breath, step back, and enjoy the cutest cake you’ve ever made 🙂

domo cake

And don’t forget the candle. After all, it is a birthday!

domo with candle

1 Comment

Red Velvet Cake

I made this cake for Mike’s 21st birthday party. It was a huge hit and everyone thought it tasted great. I made the cake with cream cheese frosting, even though that isn’t the traditional frosting used for red velvet cake. I think next time I will make the cake with the traditional frosting though!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get great pictures of the cake after it had been cut since my camera ran out of battery, but I managed to get a few during the assembly process.

Red Velvet Batter

Red Velvet Cake

2 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 ounces red food coloring
1/2 cup unsalted butter,  room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk,  room temperature
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9 inch round baking pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. In a smaller bowl, mix together cocoa powder and food coloring until a smooth paste forms.
  3. In a large bowl with a mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs one at a time and then blend in vanilla extract and red cocoa paste. Make sure to mix thorougly, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  4. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Add in half of the buttermilk. Mix in another 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by the remainder of the buttermilk. Add the last 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix in, making sure that the batter is well incorporated.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar and baking soda. Add this to the batter and mix in thoroughly. Divide the batter equally between the two pans.
  6. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, rotating pans once during baking. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool cakes in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and place on rack to finish cooling after 10 minutes.
  8. Frost the cake with the traditional icing or cream cheese icing – recipes are included below.

Red Velvet Assembly

Cream Cheese Icing

2 packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

  1. Blend together cream cheese and butter with a mixer until smooth. Add in vanilla extract.
  2. Add powdered sugar with the mixer on low speed.
  3. Blend the frosting on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Red Velvet

Traditional Red Velvet Cake Icing

1 cup milk
5 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine milk and flour. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Cool completely.
  2. Using a mixer, blend together sugar, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  3. Stir in the flour mixture. Mix until the icing is a good spreading consistency.

Leave a comment

Mint Ice Cream Cake

Girl Scout Thin Mints, mint ice cream, hot fudge, and chocolate wafers layered into a cake – what could be better? I had several boxes of Thin Mints laying around and as much as I love them, I haven’t been able to finish them all yet. So I figured I would put them to good use. Mint ice cream is also one of my favorite flavors, so I figured that I couldn’t go wrong with this!

mint ice cream cake

Mint Ice Cream Cake

1 box of chocolate wafers (I used Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers)
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1/2 box of Thin Mints (1 roll), crushed
1/2 gallon of mint ice cream, softened enough to spread
1/2 jar of hot fudge sauce

  1. In a food processor, crush the wafers (I used about 2/3 a box for the crust). Add the butter and mix until combined. Press the wafers into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan.
  2. Carefully spread half the ice cream on top of the crust.
  3. Sprinkle the crushed Thin Mints (a food processor works fine) on top of the ice cream and drizzle the fudge on top of the Thin Mints.
  4. Spread the remaining ice cream on top of the Thin Mint layer.
  5. Freeze the cake for at least 30 minutes – you want the ice cream to harden back up.
  6. Before cutting, run a knife dipped in hot water around the edge of the pan to loosen. Cut the cake with a warm knife as well.
  7. Serve the cake with the remaining hot fudge sauce!