Monday, May 26, 2008

The best carrot cake!

This is the best carrot cake I have ever tasted. I have had plenty of carrot cake over the years...but nothing has ever come close to this. I have absolutely no idea where I found the recipe either... was clipped from a calendar put out by some food product from the look of the picture on the back.

One of our little traditions is that each of us bakes the other's birthday cake. I always order carrot cake when it comes to mine. Mr. BumbleVee likes chocolate for his. I have tried many different chocolates over the years...but for my carrot cake.... he will always know exactly which recipe to use. He makes the best carrot cake !!

Nutty Carrot Cake
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 cups shredded carrots
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt (there is plenty for me with just the salty butter)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped nuts (we use walnuts...sometimes toasted)

........(we also like to toss in some raisins....and add some other spices too.... a smidge of Ginger, teensy "sprink" of Nutmeg and a bit of All Spice) all optional and to your own taste of course. Once you make it... you can decide which spices might enhance the flavour for your own palate.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well blended. Add carrots and vanilla;mix well. Add combined dry ingredients alternately with milk..mixing well after each addition. Stir in nuts. Pour batter into a greased 9 inch tube pan or 9 X 13 inch cake pan.

Bake at 350 F (180 C ) for 55 to 60 minutes for tube pan Only 45 to 50 minutes for 9 X 13 pan. Test with toothpick for done-ness. Cool cake completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Icing
1 125 gram pkg cream cheese
1 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups sifted icing sugar (test every so often to determine how much to suit your own taste)

Combine softened cream cheese and several large spoonfuls of icing sugar; stir til well blended. (If you didn't sift the sugar there may be lumps..) Add vanilla, blend well; add more icing sugar .... add a tiny bit of the milk alternately with icing sugar making sure it does not get too runny. Barely a dribble of milk and you have to add another cup of sugar.. ... I prefer to maintain the cream cheesy taste and don't add nearly the amount of icing sugar or milk the recipe calls for. Check every so often to see how it tastes. Wait til cake is completely cool before frosting.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Maria's Crème Brûlée

Wik says Crème Brûlée is French for "burnt cream".... but, really.... it won't come to that if you pay attention .....

2 cups heavy cream (we used whipping cream)
1/2 vanilla bean, split
3 eggs (we used large)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp. Sugar in the Raw (natural cane sugar)

Preheat oven to 250 F. In saucepan, heat heavy cream and vanilla bean (stir gently during heating) until just boiling.
Remove from heat, and remove bean from cream, scraping seeds back in. In medium bowl whisk together eggs and granulated sugar. Slowly ladle in 1 cup of hot cream while continuing to whisk, until sugar is dissolved. Slowly whisk in remaining cream.
Evenly divide mixture into six 6 oz. custard cups. Place cups in baking pan. Pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of cups. Bake 1 hour 15 min., or until custard has set. Remove from baking pan. Let cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Heat broiler. Sprinkle Sugar in the Raw over custard.

Sprinkle as much or as little sugar on top as you like. If you sprinkle all the way to the edges it eliminates any burned areas of custard. Broil 2" from heat until sugar melts and bubbles, being careful not to burn.

If you have a torch you could also flame the top to melt and brown the sugar.... use caution.
The guys wanted to do the manly thing and torch it for us... so out came the plumbers helper torch... however, on this day, it was not very helpful...they absolutely could not keep it lit. Too funny... maybe it was almost empty or something, because this particular torch has seen plenty of service and has never been a problem to light.

We finally had to resort to the broiler of the oven.....

Heat the broiler before putting under ... that way you don't have to leave it very long and it should just melt and get brown and bubble without burning or cooking the custard anymore.

This was my first attempt at this dessert and quite honestly?? Thanks to Maria... it was fun and easy to make; a delicate treat of wonderful flavour. You will definitely impress family and friends .....

Monday, May 5, 2008


UPDATE ::::::::::::::::::::::::

Well.... according to this guy I have been totally sucked in .... by false advertising. It is just another Teflon pan.... sigh......

I was going on about it exactly as they hoped I would... and looking like a fool I suppose. Oh, well, live and learn.... so far I have no scratches because I do use plastic or wood utensils with all my pots and pans anyway. is in perfect condition... and I do love the way it cooks a perfect egg for Mr. BumbleVee...... another big SIGH................. but... if a somewhat cheaper, nice Teflon is your choice.... go for it. Otherwise, use some oil and fry things up in Stainless or cast iron.....

Here is my original gushing about my fancy pan.................if you can believe this guy..don't believe me. But. who to believe anymore at all seems to be the big question....

Finally~~~~~~ a pan that is everything they say it is and more!! (apparently ...not so)

One thing that irks me is false advertising. (So, now I am really pissed) If I had found this pan more than a few weeks ago, I never would have splurged on my fancy stainless steel pans last year. I would have bought several sizes and types of this instead. But, I didn't ... so, the next best thing is to tell others about it. It may not stop you from buying fancy stainless may stop you from spending money every year or two on a new non-stick pan. You know how quickly they wear out. How soon they become scratched and rough...even with careful use.... plastic spatulas..etc.... we know it is not safe to use them when it happens..but most of us continue to do so.

So.... this is the answer. A true non stick pan that is not Teflon coated... but, instead, is made from diamond crystals. Diamonds are naturally non-porous and apparently have intrinsic non-stick properties. They say you can even use metal utensils...but I won't do that to my lovely pan...just in case.....

I went back to the store 3 times.. pored over the material several times.... was still doubtful.... but, finally, spent the $135 and bought my pan. It seems a bit expensive...but think about it. As many pans as I have already been through .... as many more as I will have to buy in the coming years.... this is a bargain. We don't eat out. I like to cook and I do cook... every day. I use my pans a lot. I want durable and long lasting.... Swiss Diamond carries a lifetime warranty against cracking,blistering or peeling. It claims "a cooking surface with unequaled non-stick release and effortless clean up that lasts for a lifetime." Alright.

I LOVE this pan!! It is all they claim. It is more than I expected. I still can't believe that I can make a perfect easy over egg with absolutely no butter.... yep... it does that. I tried it just to see if it worked .... ... although, for a superb tasting egg, let's face it... a teensy bit of butter is a must. But, if you are trying to cut back on fats?... this is the pan for you. With lovely stainless?... use plenty of oil and low heat and basically say a prayer for "slightly less sticking". Today I browned totally lean turkey meatballs... with no oil at all. They browned beautifully... nothing stuck to the pan! Who can believe that? I was dancing around the kitchen congratulating myself on finding this amazing pan. It left some nice brown bits too (for use as a bit of gravy) when I turned them...but absolutely nothing stuck.... how is it possible to finally get nicely brown without sticking?.... I am stunned every time I use this pan.

After the first few times I used it I went back to the store to tell them how ecstatic I was with my purchase. They said.... "told ya" ..... they had already related to me that they had had their own for several years...and loved them. Of course, I was skeptical... after all they are in business to make money.

A treat for anybody who cooks. It works... cleans up like a dream... is everything you could possibly want for a non-stick pan. I wish they would send me one for all this advertising...haahhahahha.... there are lots of different shapes and sizes... so far...I only have one. Not for long.

(((Swiss Diamond, I have changed my mind..... don't send me anything that is just a bunch of false advertising and marketing hype.... and....thanks for an expensive nothing.)) I'll be going back to the store with a copy of the information and showing it to them for sure......