State Fair

State Fair
State Fair Ribbons

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hummingbird Carrot Cake, Lying Tooth-picks, and Accidental Granola

I had the good fortune to eat the Shrimp Shack in Fort Myers this winter. 
The fish was good, but the hush puppies (best I've had) and hummingbird cake were OOTW!   I wanted the recipe for the cake BAD!!!!
I called the Shrimp Shack and found out it would cost about $50 to ship a whole cake to Minnesota.  Hmm...I did consider it. I liked it that much.  Well, some sense kicked in (my bank statement actually) so I decided to make one myself.  

My go-to site is Cookie Madness to see what Anna has in her recipe box. Sure enough, she posted a hummingbird cake recipe.  

I baked mine in a 9 x 13 pan.  I did not let it bake long enough. At 42 minutes I took it out-the toothpick was clean.  Did you know toothpicks can lie?  The whole center caved in a bit after it cooled. I cut just the outside of the cake all the way around and ended up with 3 bread loaf pan shaped pieces.  

And what did I do with the underdone center?  Well, I made lemonade out of lemons.  I cut the raw-ish cake into bite-size pieces, threw them on a baking sheet, and let them dry out in a 300 degree oven for about 30 minutes-maybe longer ( I was not timing it exactly).  I stirred them a couple times. 
They were crispy, tasty, a bit like granola since they had fruit and nuts in them, and I didn't waste all those delicious ingredients.  I can mix them in yogurt or cereal.  

Yes, they look like hamburger or stuffing. Oh well.  They taste better than they look.

Here is Anna's Hummingbird Cake turned into a carrot cake with a few of my changes:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil

1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1.5 cup chopped toasted pecans --divided use!
2 cups mashed bananas  (it took 4 or 5 medium to make 2 cups)
1 cup shredded carrots   (I might add 1.5 cups next time)
Cream Cheese Frosting-my adaptation of Anna's recipe below.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray (2) 9-inch round cake pans or a 9 x 13 pan with flour-added cooking spray or rub with shortening and dust with flour.
Stir flour, soda, salt, sugar and cinnamon together in a large mixing bowl.  Set aside.  Add eggs, mashed bananas, and oil into another mixing bowl and mix well together by hand.  Then add that wet mix to the dry, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not beat.) 
Stir in pineapple and 1 cup pecans-**save the 1/2 cup for topping. 
Pour batter into cake pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes (in a 9 x 13 bake at least 45 minutes) or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks (I left the cake in my 9 x 13 pan).
Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake; sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped pecans on top. Store in refrigerator.
16 servings

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
8 tablespoons (8 oz) salted butter at room temperature
1.5 cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon orange extract or one teaspoon vanilla. 
(add 1/8 teaspoon salt if using unsalted butter)

Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until light and fluffy. Beat in extract. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

No Need To Knead

For some reason I was in the mood for baking bread the other day (Maybe because I live in Minnesota and the weather keeps me cooped up in the house.) 
I discovered no-knead bread a while back when looking for a dairy free, egg free, iodized salt free recipe. I am not on the dairy free, egg free and iodized salt free diet now so I can have eggs, butter, milk, and regular salt. I also get to have the extra 10 pounds they put on me (of course it's not MY fault!)  I tweaked a no- knead whole wheat bread recipe I found on the King Arthur's website.  They claim it is so easy you can do it with one hand tied behind your back. Apparently the King Arthur official blogger for this bread did just that.  Another piece of information I found out is that King Arthur's baking hotline does work-even on the weekends there is a baker staff member waiting to answer your questions.  I was impressed!   So, without further delay, here is the recipe for KA no-knead whole wheat bread.

For me it came out perfect! Sliced easily even when warm (yup, couldn't wait.) You need a stand mixer with the paddle attachment for this recipe. Changes I made because I didn't have orange juice or powdered milk or enough whole wheat flour: Substituted 1 cup bread flour for 1 one cup WW. Used 1 cup of 1% milk instead of 1 cup water. Used 1 teaspoon lemon juice and added milk to equal 1/4 cup. I mixed all dry ing. together in my KitchenAid mixing bowl. I mixed 3 T of molasses into the cold milk and then heated it to luke warm in the micro.