Monthly Archives: January 2011

Carrot Cake

I made this cake for a friend’s party, but it smelled so good coming out of the oven I wanted to scarf it down immediately, sans frosting.  A lot of carrot cake recipes have nuts or pineapple or applesauce in them.  This recipe is simple and to the point: a delicious cake. It also makes great cupcakes (just begin checking done-ness at around 15 minutes) or can be doubled to make a large 9 x 13 x 2 rectangular cake.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, grated
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat the two eggs.  Add sugars, vanilla, and oil.  Stir to combine.
  3. Add the grated carrots to the wet mixture.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Gently stir in the flour mixture into the wet mixture.
  6. Pour the batter into a lightly greased 9 x 9 x 2″ pan.
  7. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

 

Frost with a mildly sweet cream cheese frosting, like my “Good with Everything” cream cheese frosting and enjoy!

 

 

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Filed under Bakery, Sweets

Pita Bread

Pitas seem like one of those hard to make breads, but they’re actually pretty simple to whip up.  The hardest part is mastering the art of “puffing.”  In order for the rolled flat bread to puff up, leaving you with that great pocket, the proper balance of warm oven, rested dough, and rolled consistency needs to be reached.  Out of the eight loaves made in my first attempt most puffed at least a little, two or three remained pretty flat, and only one properly puffed up like a balloon.

I devoured two loaves while they were still warm.  I can attest to the fact that they are still delicious if less than perfectly executed.  The improperly puffed breads end up more like Indian naan.

I worked from this recipe from The Fresh Loaf blog.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups water, roughly at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. Mix the flour, salt, yeast, and sugar together in a bowl.  Add the water and oil and stir to combine into a ball of dough.  Add a little more water if the dough isn’t coming together or a little more flour if it is too sticky.
  2. Knead the dough for 10 minutes.
  3. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover the surface of the dough ball in oil.  Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap.  Let it rise until doubled in bulk, approximately 90 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees as early as you can.  You want that stove nice and piping hot.  (I preheated mine for close to an hour, but my apartment was also freezing so I can’t judge if that was excessive or necessary).
  5. Punch the dough down.
  6. Place an inverted cookie sheet on the oven rack to preheat (or pizza peel or stone if you’ve got it).
  7. Divide the dough into 8 pieces.  Shape each piece into a ball and cover again with a damp towel or plastic wrap (I inverted the bowl the dough rose in over the balls).
  8. Let the 8 balls rest for 20 minutes.
  9. With a rolling pin on a lightly floured counter, roll out each dough ball to between 1/8 and 1/4 an inch think.
  10. Let the rolled dough rest for about 5 minutes before placing in the oven.  Place as many rolled pitas onto the baking pan as you can comfortably fit (I put two in the oven each go).
  11. Bake at 500 degrees. Pitas will be cooked through in 3 minutes (so set the timer and keep watch).  I cooked mine for 3.5 to 4 minutes in order for them to also be a little golden brown.
  12. While cooking loaves, roll out the next round.  After pulling out freshly baked loaves, close the oven and give it a few minutes to get back up to temperature.  You want your oven as hot as you possibly can get it to mimic the traditional brick oven cooking method.

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Bread binge

I’ve been on a bread baking binge the past few weeks.  I’ve made bagels half a dozen times, each time tweaking the recipe.  Several loaves of rye bread have passed from my dough covered hands to my oven and then into my belly.  Although none of these rye breads had caraway seeds (sacrilege I know) since I forgot to buy them at the store.  I now have seeds in hand which means I’ll have to make all of these breads again!   There’s a current backlog of recipes that I hope to post which share many of these recipes.  January’s cold in my neck of the woods so bread baking is a welcome past time that both warms the house and gives me a reason to not leave it.   Stay tuned for all the breads and baking goodness to come.

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