Carrot Cake with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting
from Crystal Williams
- 2-3/4 c. chopped walnuts (3/4 c. for the cake)
- 2-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground allspice
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1-1/2 c. sugar
- ½ c. packed light brown sugar
- 1-1/4 c. vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- ½ c. smooth applesauce
- Finely grated zest of 1 orange
- 2 c. grated carrots (about 4 medium)
- 1 4-inch piece ginger
- 1 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
- ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 – 8 oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3 c. confectioners’ sugar sifted
Serves 8 to 10
Make the cake:
- Preheat oven 350 degrees.
- Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted; about 5 minutes. Let cool, then finely chop.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt into a medium bowl.
- Beat the granulated sugar, brown sugar and vegetable oil in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium high and add the eggs, one at a time; beat until light and smooth, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low; add the applesauce, orange zest and vanilla and beat until just smooth. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Add the carrots and ¾ cup walnuts and beat until just combined.
- Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool 10 minutes in the pans, then remove to the rack to cool completely; remove the parchment. (Cakes can be made a day ahead; let cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap.)
Make the frosting:
- Peel the ginger and grate onto a piece a piece of cheesecloth. Wrap in the cheesecloth and squeeze the juice into a small bowl (you should get about 1 tablespoon). Add the orange juice and vanilla.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in the juice mixture. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar. Increase the speed to high and beat until smooth, about 2 more minutes.
- Place 1 cake layer on a plate. Spread with 1 cup frosting, then top with the second cake layer. Cover the top and sides with the remaining frosting. Press the remaining walnuts into the sides of the cake.
- Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
Butternut Squash Soup with Tortellini
from Jill Siegmund
- 2 lbs butternut squash
- 2 14-oz. cans vegetable broth
- Pinch ground red pepper
- 1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
- 1 9-oz. package refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
- 1 Tbsp. molasses
- Peel squash. Halve lengthwise. Remove seeds and discard. Cut squash into ¾ inch pieces.
- In a large saucepan combine ½ cup water, squash, vegetable broth and red pepper. Cook, covered, over medium heat for 20 minutes or until squash is tender.
- Transfer one-fourth of the squash mixture to a blender container or food processor bowl. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Repeat with remaining portions, one at a time, until all the mixture is blended. Or blend the whole batch with an immersion blender.
- Return blended mixture to the saucepan. Bring just to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add butter; stir until just melted.
- Meanwhile, prepare the ravioli according to package directions; drain. Ladle hot soup into bowls. Divide cooked ravioli among the bowls. Drizzle with molasses.
Makes 5 side-dish servings (about 6 ½ cups)