Baby Shower Dessert Party

March 20, 2011

Recently, I hosted a dessert theme baby shower for a friend and co-worker. After a lot of discussions on theme and menu, we agreed on having a dessert and drink shower for a small group of her co-workers. There were only two desserts that she requested: carrot cake or cupcakes and lemon bars; and  I was basically left to go with the rest of the menu. I wanted to take more pictures of the party; but really ran out of time but here are a few pictures of the desserts I made. I thought that this was really a fun idea for a baby shower.

In addition to the desserts I listed below, her family made dessert crostini with ricotta spread, sliced strawberries and balsamic vinegar glaze and baked brie with apricot jelly, sugar cookies and Italian fried cookies (I have no recipes for those).  For drinks, we had coffee, iced tea, cold soft drinks, and bottled water.

Here are the desserts I made:

Carrot Cupcakes and Cream Cheese Frosting with Royal Icing Yellow and Purple Pansies


Chocolate Truffles

S’mores Pops (recipe coming up soon, I promise–these were divine!)

Lemon Bars (No pictures)

Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipster (No pictures)

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies (No pictures)


Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

October 3, 2009

I know, I know. I just posted this carrot cupcakes recipe literally two weeks ago, and here I am with another variation of carrot cake recipe. But, I do have a very special reason for it. One of the part-time students who works in my office was turning 21! Not only that she’s just a very sweet girl, she is also one of Charlotte’s fave people because she comes over and stays with Charlotte when Red and I are out of town. When I told her that I wanted to bake her a cake, she said that she really didn’t want to trouble me –but I insisted that I wanted to make her a cake. When I asked her what type of cake, she wanted a carrot cake! Sure enough, that’s what I did.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try this cake or take a picture of this cake after it was sliced because I was on my way out of the door. But Red did receive a generous slice from the birthday girl, and he liked the cake. He thought that the cake texture was more crumbly than the cupcakes, but he enjoyed his slice. The only issue that I had with this frosting was that I was hoping that this version of the frosting would be firm enough to be piped, but it wasn’t. Therefore I left the top of the cake plain and coated the side with toasted chopped pecans.

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Adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
1 pound carrots (8 to 10 medium carrots), peeled and shredded on a box grater or in a food processor (about 2 3/4 cups)
2 cups pecans (1 cup finely chopped for batter, 1 cup coarsely chopped for decorating sides of cake)

Directions
Bake the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter (2) 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg.

Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat 3 minutes. Add vanilla, water, and carrots. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture, then finely chopped pecans.

Scrape batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cakes to loosen, and turn out cakes onto rack. Turn right side up, and let cool completely.

Using a serrated knife, trim rounded top of 2 cakes. Place one trimmed cake, cut side up, on a serving platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake. Top with second trimmed cake, cut side down. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake. Top with remaining cake. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides. Gently press coarsely chopped pecans onto sides of cake. Refrigerate 1 hour (or up to 1 day, covered) before serving.

Cream Cheese Frosting (from Wilton)
24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until creamy. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, and beat until fluffy and smooth.


Carrot Cupcakes with Cream-Cheese Frosting

September 19, 2009

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I came home from a work trip a couple of weeks ago to find a 5-lb bag of baby carrots in my refrigerator.  It looked like Red had gone out to Sam’s Club and decided that he wanted to have some baby carrots for snack and pick up this large bag of carrots. I don’t normally like munching on carrots (I know, I know… I should find a way to at least enjoy them since they’re healthy), so I knew that I had to find a way to use up.

Since Red’s birthday is this month, it was his turn to bring in treats during his office’s birthday treat day.  I thought it would be appropriate for me to make these carrot cupcakes to take advantage of the ingredient that I already had in hand. I have only made carrot cake once before, back in college. And I can’t even remember which recipe I use, so I decided to use this Martha Stewart’s recipe which I found on her Martha Stewart Cupcakes book.

I didn’t make any modifications to this recipe, the only thing that I didn’t have was cloves, but I left everything else alone. I thought this recipe was a good classic carrot cake recipe. Since it’s not very sweet, the un-frosted version of this cupcakes would be good as breakfast, and the sweet cream cheese frosting would make a sophisticated dessert. In the future, I may add walnut or pecan as variation.

I have been having fun with my new cake decorating kit which I purchased recently for my Wilton class, so I decided to use one of the larger tips to pipe the frosting on the cupcakes. The frosting was a little bit too soft for more elaborate decoration, so I just piped it with the star tip. Not only that they brought this ordinary dessert to another level, it was a lot less messy too in my opinion! I also tried to tint the frosting with “orange” color, but it came out yellow… uh-oh! They were still delicious and happily consumed by the co-workers at work!

Adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes
1 pound carrots, finely grated
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions
Make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line mini muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together carrots, eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla-bean seeds, and raisins. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Stir flour mixture into carrot mixture until well combined.

Divide batter among liners, filling 3/4 full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 23 to 28 minutes, rotating tins halfway through. Transfer tins to racks to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from tins; let cool completely.

Make frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter with 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar. Continue to beat while adding remaining sugar 1/4 cup at a time. Add vanilla, and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Yield~ 2 dozen standard size cupcakes.