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If you've never had the time to bake a cake from scratch, you might want to try making a carrot cake. Your measurements don't have to be perfect and it always comes out moist. Best of all, it is as simple as adding the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and pouring the batter into a pan. This leaves more time for the fun task of decorating the cake.
Ontario grown carrots are available nearly year round but I associate this cake with fall. I make it every November for my partner Andrew's birthday. I try to get creative with presents and activities but really, what he wants is this cake. He likes it without pineapple and definitely without any shredded coconut on top. The apple sauce is one of my tweaks. I like how it prevents greasiness and as a bonus, it cuts 151 calories from each serving. You won't miss them.
Makes 12 slices
1 cup raisins
1/4 to 1/2 cup dark rum
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1/4 veg. oil
3 cups shredded carrot
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ginger
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 x13 inch pan and set it aside. Place raisins in a small bowl and add enough rum to just cover them. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes until the raisins are rehydrated and have absorbed most of the rum.
In a bowl or with the paddle attachment in a mixer, combine the wet ingredients (eggs, applesauce, sugar, oil, carrots and vanilla). Add in the raisins and any unabsorbed rum.
In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Fold the dry mixture into the wet until just combined; do not over-stir.
Pour into the prepared pan/pans and bake until set in the middle, approx. 30-40 minutes. Wait until the cake is completely cool before frosting it.
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 packages of cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 drops of lemon extract
1 1/2 to 2 cups of icing sugar, to taste
Cream the butter until soft. Add the cream cheese, salt, and lemon extract until combined. Gradually sift 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar into the frosting as you stir. Increase the sugar to taste.
Makes 12 carrots that can be made ahead and kept in the fridge
2/3 of a 7 ounce package of marzipan
Red, yellow and green food colouring
You will also need:
Toothpicks for adding details
Slice 1/3 of the marzipan tube off and wrap it up for another use. Cut about 2 cm of the remaining tube, wrap it in saran wrap and set it aside.
Put on gloves. Add one drop of red and two drops of yellow food colouring to the remaining marzipan. Knead the colour into the marzipan and repeat the process until it is bright enough. Divide it into 12 balls and shape them into carrots. Put them on a piece wax paper.
Knead drops of green food colouring, a single drop at a time, into the smaller piece of marzipan you set aside. When it reaches the desired colour, divide it by 12 and shape into carrot leaves. Simply squish the leaves against the carrots to attach them.