Carrot Cake

slice of carrot cakeI wanted to make My Wonderful Husband a treat for our anniversary. I was waiting for a delivery so I had to figure out something from what I had on hand. I came up with carrot cake. I bought a 10 pound bag of carrots at Costco a couple of weeks ago. Time to finish those things off! The rest of the ingredients are staples at our house.

This carrot cake is moist but not oily and lightly spiced (which is what my husband prefers). It’s nice to detect the flavors of the ingredients and not be overwhelmed with spices. It’s carrot cake, not spice cake, after all.  The cake is flavored with carrots, golden raisins and pineapple and topped with cream cheese frosting.

This recipe adapted from Carrot and Pineapple Cake by Ina Garten.

Ingredients for Cake:

2 c. sugar

1 ½ c. vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 ½ c. flour

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. baking soda

1 ½ tsp kosher salt

1 c. golden raisins

3 c. shredded carrots

¾ c. chopped pineapple (canned is fine)

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting

12 oz. cream cheese softened

2 sticks butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla

1 lb. powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350°

1. Using a stand mixer beat sugar, vegetable oil and eggs until well combined and lighter yellow in color. Add vanilla.

2. In a separate bowl mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

3. Mix dry ingredients into egg mixture.

4. Add raisins, carrots and pineapple, mixing on low speed until combined.

5. Prepare two 9 inch round cake pans by lightly coating with non-stick spray, lining with waxed paper or parchment and spray again.

6. Bake at 350° for 45 -55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

7. Allow to cool in pans 5 minutes, the transfer to cooling racks.

8. Once the cakes are completely cooled whip together the butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Once combined add the powdered sugar and mix well.

9. Frost and assemble the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve, and refrigerate leftover cake – if there is any!!



coconut cupcakes scratch recipe

Coconut Cupcakes

To go along with the tropical tiki themed birthday party I chose coconut cupcakes for the dessert. I received the Barefoot Contessa cookbook for Christmas and have been wanting to try the coconut cupcake recipe for a while.

They did not disappoint!

The cupcakes were dense and moist. The cream cheese frosting was divine!  I will certainly make this recipe again – maybe with a little crushed pineapple in the batter next time. This recipe is easy to make, but it does take a little time. Be sure your butter, eggs and cream cheese are at room temperature for best results.

The recipe indicates that you should fill the baking cups full – yes really – the cake is dense and does not rise very much, so filling full is necessary. And if you make a full batch of frosting there will be a lot leftover. Use it as a dip for some strawberries!

Recipe from Barefoot Contessa Cookbook:


  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

For the frosting:

  • 1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.