The rustic texture of this coconut blood orange cake is highlighted by a simple glaze made with blood orange pieces and zest!…Read More
Cakes & Cupcakes
Diana Henry’s recipe for lemon lavender cake calls for dried lavender buds to be whizzed with sugar in the food processor, while yogurt and olive oil add fat and moisture. I’ve got some useful tips on baking substitutions, ideas for using dried lavender, and information about cake soaks if you decide to make her recipe.
Toffee Apple Upside Down Cake With Chai Spices is a recipe you need as cooler temperatures set in! SweeTango apples combine with the peppery bite of homemade chai spice, and the nuttiness of spelt flour come to make an apple cake recipe perfect to enjoy with a cup of hot tea.
This post was sponsored by SweeTango Apples, however all views and opinions are my own. I will never endorse anything I don’t use or love! Thank you for supporting brands that help make kellyneil.com possible.
This post was first published on September 30, 2018 and was last updated July 28, 2019.
Ok, ok – I know that’s a bold statement but REALLY, I MEAN IT.
I’ve been looking for the perfect carrot cake recipe for so long.
I’ve tried my mum’s recipe, Sean’s mum’s recipe, my friend Phil’s mum’s recipe and guess what? My versions never taste as good as theirs.
Last month, I was asked to photograph a few cakes, at the Hammonds Plains home of Seahorse Sweets owner Jody Waugh, for the current winter issue of East Coast Living Magazine. I arrived on a Saturday morning to find Jody about to start baking a carrot cake while her business partner-husband Keith sat in the dining room meticulously hand-painting teeny tiny Minnie Mouse decorations for a gorgeous, bright pink, little girl’s birthday cake.
After our shoot, Jody looked at East Coast Living’s editor, Suzanne Rent, and I and asked, ‘Would either of you like a piece of carrot cake?’. Suzanne and I glanced at each other in a ‘what kind of question is that?!?’ kind of way and both offered a resounding ‘YES PLEASE!’.
And that is the exact moment that the best carrot cake I have ever had entered my mouth for the first time.
Light – fluffy – moist (no oil!) – spicy – lots of frosting that’s not too sweet.
When the winter issue of East Coast Living arrived in my mailbox I was thrilled to see Jody’s recipe for carrot cake inside. I knew exactly when I was going to make it.
Sunday December 8 – Sean’s birthday.
You see, carrot cake is Sean’s FAVOURITE and he always has one, in one form or another, on his birthday.
I knew Jody’s cake would be the one this year.
And guess what? He LOVED it. And so did I.
I am serious when I say this is theBEST CARROT CAKE RECIPE EVER!!!
I contacted Jody and asked if I could post her recipe and she said yes and so I am pleased to share with you:
Seahorse Sweets’ Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting aka The Best Carrot Cake Ever
1 C butter, melted
2 C sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 C flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 C crushed pineapple (include some juice)
2 C grated carrots
preheat oven to 350º – grease three 8-inch round cake tins with butter and line with parchment
beat eggs, melted butter, sugar and vanilla until fluffy
sift flour, cinnamon, cardamom, baking soda and salt – add to wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated
fold crushed pineapple and grated carrot into batter (I also added 250g of chopped walnuts)
divide batter between three cake tins and bake 25 minutes – check center with a toothpick – if still sticky, continue to bake checking every couple of minutes
cool in tins
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
2 C unsalted butter, room temp (I used salted and still added the 1 tsp of salt and it was fine)
2 blocks cream cheese, room temp
1 tsp clear vanilla (I used regular brown vanilla)
1 tsp salt
8 C icing sugar (aka powdered sugar – aka confectioner’s sugar), sifted
beat butter, cream cheese, vanilla and salt until light and fluffy
add icing sugar to butter mixture (if using a stand mixer add all at one – if using a hand mixer, add one cup at a time
Please note – this recipe make a three layer 8-inch round cake and a ton of frosting. If you like less frosting, I would consider halving the cream cheese recipe
A huge gigantic super duper thank you to Jody and Keith at Seahorse Sweets for letting me share ‘the best carrot cake recipe ever’ with you!!!Read More
After spending the last two weeks developing and cooking savoury dishes, yesterday I heard the call of flour, butter, sugar, eggs and… olive oil?!?
I was going to make these because a) they look amazing and b) my friend Carlo keeps asking me to make them, but, seeing as I had no whipping cream in the house (a highly unusual occurrence) I had to work with what I had.
I used this recipe from the Food Network for the cake and I added one teaspoon of freshly crushed cardamom seeds. I filled mini Martha Stewart cupcake liners 3/4 full with cake batter and baked for 10 minutes at 350.
Now, many of you know I use Nanny Burke’s Buttercream as my go to, but I felt like trying something different yesterday, and besides, who doesn’t love Sweetapolita?!? (If you don’t know Sweetapolita, go there, right now. She is amazing!!!) I used her recipe for Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting and I added one teaspoon of Orange Blossom Water which I bought at the Mid-East Food Centre on the corner of North and Agricola. Oh my it was good.
My piping skills still need work, but I still thought these were cute, and far too tasty, not to share.
I finally found the perfect vanilla frosting recipe for cupcakes and it’s all thanks to my friend’s Cape Breton grandmother. Nanny Burke’s Buttercream is now my go-to, classic American-style vanilla frosting recipe!
Nanny Burke’s Buttercream is the BEST
You may remember my attempt at making pink peppercorn cupcakes with vanilla frosting. They looked ok but the frosting had as much flavour as a of a jar of Vaseline (and the texture to match). Recently, I made bacon and baileys cupcakes – a play on my social media handle @baconandbaileys. I baked coffee-flavoured cupcakes and topped them with Baileys frosting and candied bacon. I used what I thought was a decent buttercream recipe but it turned out to be so sweet I couldn’t eat it!
Nanny Burke’s Vanilla Frosting Recipe To The Rescue
When I told a friend about my frosting fiasco she said, “Oh – you need Nanny Burke’s Buttercream recipe!” She emailed her grandmother in Cape Breton and Nanny Burke graciously shared her recipe with me. Nanny Burke said that, over the last 50 years, she’s tried a TON of vanilla frosting recipes and this one is by far the best and easiest.
Cupcake Baking Tip
On a side note, here’s a weird and interesting cupcake baking tip that I discovered when I was making my cupcakes for Nanny Burke’s Buttercream. I used Ina Garten’s recipe for Coconut Cupcakes and baked the first dozen at 350ºF until golden, about 22 minutes. While they were in the oven I had another look at the recipe and realized that I was supposed to bake them at 325ºF. I reduced the temperature in a panic for the second batch and here’s what happened:
Does The Cupcake Baking Tip Work?
This cupcake baking tip was just a random fluke that happened to me, however, hundreds of people on Pinterest swear it works! Did it work for you? Let me know in the comments below!
Nanny Burke's Buttercream
- 2 cups butter
- 4 cups icing sugar sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Place everything in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low until sugar and butter are combined. Increase speed of mixer and mix 2-3 minutes.
Halving the recipe also works and frosting freezes well.
Icing sugar is also called confectioner's sugar or powdered sugar.
This post was originally published on April 5, 2011 and was updated on June 19, 2019.Read More
Yesterday was one of those days when it seemed like it was never going to stop raining, so I knew I wanted to make something that would be the exact opposite of a gloomy grey February day. Now, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but over the last year or so, I’ve developed a love for pink – and pink is DEFINITELY the opposite of grey and gloomy.
I searched through my pantry to see what I had on hand that could be turned into something special – and here’s what I came up with.
Pink Peppercorn Cupcakes topped with Pink Vanilla Bean Buttercream
I thought Pink Peppercorns would add a really interesting flavour to a basic vanilla cupcake recipe. You see, Pink Peppercorns aren’t peppercorns at all – they’re actually the dried berries of a bush called Baies Rose. They have a light peppery taste that borders on sweet with a hint of rose (sometimes, Sean will roll the edges of beef tenderloins in crushed Pink Peppercorns before grilling – this is a fantastic addition of flavour to a steak that you should try if you haven’t). I thought, ‘Why not try them with something sweet?’.
I’ve never actually baked cupcakes before (which a few of my friends found surprising) so of course I turned to the Queen of Baking, Ms. Martha Stewart for a basic Vanilla Cupcake Recipe:
Whisk 3 Cups Flour, 1.5 tsp Baking Powder and 3/4 tsp Salt together in a large bowl
Cream 12 Tbsp (1.5 sticks) room temp Butter with 1.5 Cups Sugar 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy
Add 4 eggs – one at a time until well mixed
Add 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Need 1.25 Cup Milk
To Butter, Sugar, Egg mixture – Add flour, milk, flour, milk, slowly until both are gone – beginning and ending with flour
Add 2 Tbsp Pink Peppercorns (I smashed mine in a Ziploc Baggie with a rolling pin)
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until tops spring back
The cupcakes were super easy and VERY tasty. I also used Martha’s Vanilla Bean Buttercream Recipe – I added 2 drops of red food colouring to give a warm pink glow:
Beat 2 Cups room temp Unsalted Butter until creamy
Slowly add 3.5 Cups Icing Sugar
Add pinch of Salt, 1 Vanilla Bean, scraped and 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Slowly add 0.25 Cups Milk then food colouring – continue on med/low speed until smooth and creamy
Ok so here’s the thing. Decorating cupcakes is harder than I thought it would be!! Here’s a pic of the rest of the batch so you can see more of my attempts. The Buttercream was light and subtle and tasted like it was fresh from a professional bakery however, I decided next time I bake cupcakes, I’m going to make Frosting a la Ms. Betty Crocker instead. I LOVE frosting!!
If you love cupcakes then DEFINITELY use the recipe I’ve posted – you could swap out the Pink Peppercorns – lemon, lime or orange zest would be wonderful – or, you could leave the recipe as is, straight-up Vanilla and then go for flavour with your icing.
Thank goodness for pretty pink cupcakes in the middle of February.Read More