Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting + 5 Carrot Cake Treats You Need To Check Out!


A year ago I made a banana cream pie, sat down at my computer and shared it with you. Why? Something inside of me screamed: do something just for you. The scream was something I couldn’t ignore. It wasn’t you should do something; the scream said you must do something. So I did. For the first time in a long time I started something just for me. I found an outlet. I love being a wife and mother. Bubba is a super supportive and loving husband. The kids are sweet and smart and funny. I have a good life. I just need more of me in this beautiful life Bubba and I created together. I have that now. In exploring food on this blog, I have explored myself. Thank you for joining me. I can’t wait to see what this year has in store.

I made a carrot cake with maple cream cheese frosting to celebrate this year. You don’t want to miss this recipe! This cake is light and perfectly moist. The frosting has a nice balance of tang and sweetness, and maple syrup adds a nice depth of flavor to the frosting. My family loved it and I bet yours will too!

cc0028cc0097I found a recipe for candied carrots in Joanne Chang’s Flour cookbook. I know, I have a bit of an obsession with her recipes. They are just so good! The candied carrots are very easy to make and adds a simple, yet elegant decoration to the cake. Oh and they taste good!


Sometimes you can’t tell if a carrot cake is a carrot cake. No need to doubt this cake, because it contains one pound of carrots!


Make this cake and share it with friends and family. Or maybe make it just for you, because sometimes something just for you is all you need.

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

cake recipe barely adapted by Baking Illustrated

frosting recipe adapted from Joanne Chang

candied carrots recipe by Joanne Chang

Serves 10-12

Ingredients for Carrot Cake:

21/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

11/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

11/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. cloves

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 pound carrots, peeled ( about 6 to 7 medium carrots)

11/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

4 large eggs

11/2 cups canola oil

Ingredients for Maple Cream Cheese Frosting:

16 ounces of cream cheese, left at room temperature for 4 hours

1 stick + 21/2 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

21/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

pinch of kosher salt

2 tbsp. pure maple syrup

Ingredients for Candied Carrots:

1 small carrot

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup water

Directions for Cake:

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan and spray. Set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

In a food processor, fitted with a shredding disk, shred the carrots. Add the carrots to the dry ingredients bowl and set aside.

Wipe out the food processor and attach a metal blade. Process the sugars for a few seconds. Add the eggs and process until well combined, about 20 seconds. Keep the machine running and add the oil. Process for another 20 seconds or until the mixture is light in color. Pour the wet mixture into a large bowl. Stir in the carrots and dry ingredients until well incorporated. No streaks of flour should remain.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The top should be golden brown and spring back when pressed in the middle with your fingertip. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

Directions for Frosting:

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the butter and continue to beat. Scrape the sides and add the sugar, maple syrup and a pinch of kosher salt. Beat until well mixed. Cover the frosting and refrigerate for a few hours so it can firm up before spreading. You can make frosting up to 5 days in advance. Be sure to store it in an air tight container.

Directions for Candied Carrots:

Peel the carrot with a vegetable peeler. Using the peeler cut length wise strips from the carrot. You will end up with about 6-10 strips.

Combine the sugar and water in small pan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the carrot strips and boil for 10 seconds. Remove from heat and let them cool completely in the syrup. The strips can be made up to 5 days in advance. Be sure to store it in an air tight container.

To Assemble:

Once cool, remove the cake from pan. Carefully slice the cake into two layers. Spoon half of the frosting on to the bottom layer. Place the top layer on top and press down gently. Spoon a cup of the frosting on the cake and spread over the top and the sides. This is the crumb coat. Spread remaining frosting on the cake until completely covered. Decorate the cake with candied carrot strips, if using.

The cake will last in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 3 days. The cake tastes best a little cold so pull it out a couple of hours before serving. Enjoy!

5 Carrot Cake Treats You Must Check Out!

Looking to make a treat for spring brunches and showers? Try carrot cake baked donuts! Faux Martha has the recipe for you. Check out her other recipes too! They are sure to be just, as good as, these sweet little donuts.

If you love macaroons you should try Tartelette’s Carrot Cake Macaroons! They sound delicious and they are gluten-free!

I love cupcakes. In fact, I never turn one down, but I especially love carrot cake cupcakes. Honey & Jam has a recipe for Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese frosting that I need to try very soon!

Carrot Cake sandwich cookies? Yes please! Willow Bird baking has the recipe. My mouth is watering. I went for a long run today so I would not feel at all guilty about eating 1, 2 maybe 5 of these sweet treats.

I love oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and I love carrot cake. Now I can have both! Baked by Rachel has a recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Carrot Cake Cookies. Yum!



Chocolate Frosted Éclairs with Fluffy Vanilla Pastry Cream and Fresh Strawberries + 5 Éclair Recipes You Should Try!


comfort zone:

noun. a place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress

Everyone has a comfort zone. Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so, but comfort zones get a bad rap. “Experts” think if  one stays in their comfort zone for too long one might become overwhelmingly bored and fearful. Wiki How has a 4 step process, with drawings, to help you get out of this scary place. Where would we be without Wiki How? I think comfort zones serve a purpose, a good purpose. They provide respite, and who doesn’t need a little of that once in a while? In many ways I am living outside of my safe place. I feel myself stretching as a mother and wife. I see myself figuring out what’s next when my small people need me less. Yet, during this time of change and growth, I ache for a place of ease and rest. Is the grass always greener on the other side? If I found myself in a place of comfort, would I then need to shake things up a bit? Probably. I think it is my nature.

This week I channeled my energy and baked something new. I accepted Love and Olive Oil’s April food challenge and made éclairs. I find éclairs intimidating. Its made up three separate components all of which I could screw up at any moment. Also, it’s considered a pastry. Yikes! I can make cookies, brownies and blondies. Cakes? Sure. Cupcakes? Yup. Pastries? Ugh, I’m scared. Is it the pate a choux, a.k.a., the light pastry dough? Maybe it’s the pastry cream or the chocolate ganache? It seemed like too much for me, until I came across Joanne Chang’s recipe. I love her cookbook, Flour. I tried several of her recipes since I first bought the book and they were fantastic. Why not try her éclairs?


So I did! The task was easier than I anticipated and they tasted great. The pate a choux is airy and buttery. The vanilla cream is lightened with whip cream making it fluffy, not thick like a custard. Chang calls it a Tropez cream because it is often a filling for a French pastry called St. Tropez: a brioche roll is soaked in a sugar syrup and filled with this vanilla cream. Yum!


Oh and the ganache? Super easy to make and tastes so, so good! Use good quality chocolate because you will taste the difference. Add some fresh fruit like strawberries and you have a perfect dessert. Make these éclairs for Easter or Passover this month and watch your family go nuts for them!


Mine did!

Chocolate Frosted Éclairs with Vanilla Pastry Cream and Fresh Strawberries

Makes about 12

recipe from Joanne Chang Flour Cookbook


Choux Pastry

1 cup water

1 stick unsalted butter

1 tbsp. sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup plus 1 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour

4 large eggs

Vanilla Pastry Cream

slightly adapted from her original

1 cup milk (whole is best)

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar

3 tbsp. cake flour

Pinch of kosher salt

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1/2 cup heavy cream


2/3 cup semi-sweet, good quality chocolate, chopped, or chips

1/2 cup heavy cream

fresh strawberries: optional


To make the dough:

Pre-heat your oven to 400. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter, sugar, salt and water over medium heat until the butter melts. Do not let the mixture come to a boil. Add the flour and stir into the liquid until it is fully incorporated. The mixture will look stiff. Keep stirring over medium heat until it looks more like loose dough. Stir constantly for about 4 minutes.

Remove from the heat and transfer the dough to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix the dough on low-speed for about a minute to allow some of the steam to escape.

Meanwhile, whisk the 4 eggs in a separate bowl. Increase the speed to medium-low and gradually add the eggs to the dough. Turn the speed up a bit more and beat for about 20 seconds. The dough should be glossy.

Place the dough in a pastry bag fitted with a 1-inch round tip. Pipe, twelve, 5-inch-long logs onto a baking sheet about an inch apart and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325 and bake for another 30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely on pan on a wire rack. Do not fill them until they are completely cool! At this point the unfilled pastry shells can be stored in an air tight container in the freezer for 2 weeks. They can also be stored in an air tight container, at room temperature for 2 days.

To make the cream:

In a small bowl, stir together the cake flour, sugar and salt. In a separate, medium bowl whisk together the egg and egg yolk. Slowly whisk the flour/sugar mixture into the eggs. The mixture will be thick.

Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and scald the milk. (Heat until bubbles form just around the edge of the pan, but the milk is not boiling.)

Remove the milk from the heat and slowly add it to the sugar/flour mixture, whisking constantly. When the milk is fully incorporated return the mixture to the sauce pan. Over medium heat, whisk constantly and quickly for about 5 to 6 minutes or until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the cream into heat proof bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract. Cover with plastic wrap by placing it directly on the surface of the custard so a skin doesn’t form. Refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 3 days.

When you are ready to fill the éclairs, beat the heavy cream with a hand-held mixer until it is thick and holds a soft peak. Fold the cream into custard until completely combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the ganache:

Place your chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl and set aside. In a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, scald the cream. (Bubbles should form at the edge of the pan but not boil.) Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to sit for about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk the chocolate and cream together until the chocolate melts and is smooth. Cool to room temperature. The ganache can be store in air tight container, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before using.

To assemble:

Using a serrated knife, split the éclairs in half and fill the bottom half with vanilla pastry cream and sliced fresh strawberries. Dip the top half, upside down into the chocolate ganache. Place the top on the other half. If you can wait, allow them to sit for a few minutes so the chocolate can set. I couldn’t wait. Enjoy within a few hours!

5 Éclair Recipes You Should Try!

I heart these pretty raspberry eclairs from Spoon Fork Bacon. This is a perfect dessert for mother’s day or a shower!

As a kid I loved banana split sundaes, and I liked éclairs, but I never had a banana split éclair. No, really, it exists. Bakers Royal has the recipe and the photos make my mouth water!

If you like caramel you should Trissalicious recipe for salted caramel éclairs. They look incredible!

Chocolate lover? Tartelette blog has a recipe for chocolate éclairs. Just chocolate éclairs? No! Éclairs filled with chocolate pastry cream and topped with chocolate glaze and Indian praline. This recipe hails from one of the best pastry chefs in the world: Pierre Hermé.

Looking to make a dessert for two? Try mini éclairs! Dessert for Two has the recipe and be sure to check out the rest of her fantastic recipes… just for two.