Peach Carrot Cake – Carrot Cake with a Delightful New Twist!

Peach Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Blackberry Garnish

Oh how I love Carrot Cake! I think not so much for the carrot part, but more for that decadent, fail proof cream cheese frosting part. For me, the cake is a medium just to get to the frosting! Is that awful??? SNS? Same goes for Hummingbird Cake…but I digress…just look at this beautiful Carrot Cake!

Peach Carrot Cake...slice of heaven

Easter is a little over a week away and millions of folks around the world will celebrate this holy holiday by “brunching and lunching” with family and friends.  My hunch is that Carrot Cake will make its share of appearances at dessert tables far and wide.  If Carrot Cake is one of your favorites like it is mine,  then you will definitely want to add this new twist on a traditional dessert to your Pinterest board.  It just so happens that my blog’s namesake, the glorious peach,  is the added ingredient that creates such a delightful new riff on a classic cake.  The peach notes in the cake are subtle…the perfect balance of fruit and spice.  I decorate my Peach Carrot Cake in the naked fashion, not to overwhelm the cake with too much of that beautiful cream cheese frosting.  Believe me… it’s hard for an icing addict like myself to admit, but this cake is so good it doesn’t need frosting!!!  Trust me on this one and keep the frosting layers thin.  I also love the rustic elegance the cake renders…especially with the addition of peaches and blackberries.  So earthy and beautiful…like spring and summer wrapped into one!  Peach Carrot Cake

PEACH CARROT CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING & CARAMELIZED PEACHES

Makes one 6-inch cake; Serves 8 – 10

Ingredients for the Cake:

  1.  3/4 cup salted butter
  2. 3 large eggs
  3. 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  4. 1/3 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar, firmly packed
  5. 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  7. 2 tsp baking powder
  8. 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  9. 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  10. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  11. 1 3/4 cups grated carrots
  12. 1 can of peach halves in juice (2/3 cup of peach pure will be used in the cake, save the rest for the filling)

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1.  3/4 cup softened butter
  2. 7 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  3. 3/4 – 1 cup powdered sugar
  4. 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

For the Filling:

  1.  Remaining Peach Puree Peach Carrot Cake with Peach Glaze and Blackberries

Caramelized Peaches:

  1.  3 – 4 fresh peaches (you may also use frozen peaches, thawed)
  2. 3 tbsp butter
  3. 3 tbsp light brown sugar, loosely packed
  4. Fresh Blackberries

Cake Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Line with parchment and butter sides of two 6-inch cake pans
  • Melt the butter and leave to cool.
  • Beat eggs and sugars until fluffy and lighter in color and texture, about 3 minutes.  Add melted butter and vanilla and beat until combined.
  • Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a bowl, then stir into the batter until just smooth.
  • Peel and grate the carrots.  Put the peaches (without the juice) in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
  • Add grated carrots and 2/3 cup of the peach puree to the batter and stir until combined.  Divide the batter between the two cake pans.
  • Bake for about 40 – 43 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • Beat butter until pale and fluffy.  Add cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until just smooth.
  • Put the bowl in the fridge while you cut the cake.

Assembly:

  • Cut both cake layers in half with a serrated knife so you end up with four cake layers.
  • Put the first cake layer on a cake board or directly onto a plate or cake stand.  Spread a layer of frosting on the first layer, then spread a layer of peach puree over. Repeat this until you’ve used up all layers.
  • Spread a thin layer of frosting all over the cake and put in the fridge while you prepare the topping.

Caramelized Peaches:

  • Slice the fresh peaches.  Heat the butter over medium heat in a non-reactive skillet. Add brown sugar and swirl with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts.
  • Add the peach slices and caramelize for 2 -3 minutes.  Let cool completely, then put them on top of the cake with the blackberries.

***Cake recipe credit:  Award winning baker, writer and blogger, Linda Lomelino               ***Peach Carrot Cake Photo Credits:  Robyn Rodehaver

Looking for other great cake ideas for Easter (or anytime!)???  Try this one from Peach and the Willow!  Click HERE for recipe!Mandarin Orange Pound Cake

Everyone Enjoy and Happy Easter! He is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!  Love ~ Sabrina

 

Lemon Ricotta Cake with Strawberry Frosting and Balsamic Strawberries

Balsamic Strawberries and Pomgranates.jpgAre you feeling it like I’m feeling it…seeing it like I’m seeing it???   The warmth of the sun, the pop of greens, the new melodies of the song birds???  Spring, albeit too early, is bursting all around us!  From tree blossoms to grass weeds…the signs are everywhere!  Soon…crates of Strawberries will be showing up from Plant City, Florida to satisfy our strawberry indulgences and vices.  And although a nasty freeze will surely make an unwelcome appearance before it’s all said and done…we can still be excited about Spring’s beautiful, life renewing arrival.  Continue reading

Tea (or Champagne!) Party 101 and 3 Must Have Tea Cookie Recipes

 

hearts-and-kyss

Tea  Champagne Party 101.  Start with three really good cookie recipes, a few bottles of champagne and some of your best girlies!  Done!  It’s that easy!  You’ve made a party.

But seriously…with a little pre-planning, you can throw the most heavenly tea champagne party that’s ever been.  The pay off is so worth the effort!   Like with any party, once you’ve determined what you’re celebrating…birthday, engagement, baby shower, etc…you can then settle into some details.  My planning/brainstorming looked something like this:

Tea Party…Around Valentines Day…A “Gal”entines Day Affair…Marie Antoinette Style…One Year Blog Anniversary…around 8 – 10 ladies…all in shades of blush Continue reading

Sweet Lavender For a Sweet Mom ~ A Fragrant and Tasty Gift

Lavender Shortbread Cookie and Lavender Plant Gift Idea

A Lavender Themed Gift Basket is not only a unique and tasty gift idea for your mom this Mother’s Day, it can also be used for birthdays, housewarmings, retirements, thank you’s or any moment in life that deserves celebrating.  My mom loves shortbread, so shortbread sprinkled with Lavender buds should really pique her interest!!!!

As the years ramble by, I reflect more and more on the love and generosity my parents have always shown to us kids.  Their care and concern extend far beyond the years that we shared within the safe confines of our childhood home and this love remains steadfast today.  Mother’s Day is a time of reflection for me…and gratitude, of course.  As mamas go…I KNOW I have it good…the best!   I always try to find the perfect words to write or speak that will convey this to her.  For me, they always fall short.  Suffice it to say…although I am grown and  now a mother myself, my mom will always be THE MAMA BEAR.  We all know it…it’s all good.  So I celebrate her today and every day…for being loving, strong, compassionate, smart, tough, funny, blunt and beautiful.

If your mom is like mine, she already has EVERYTHING!  Not just a little bit of everything but a lot of everything!  So for many of us, finding the perfect token of our love and appreciation is not easy!  A Lavender Gift Basket is thoughtful and handmade (which she will love!)…even if you sneak and buy the cookies from a local bakery, a Lavender Themed Gift Basket is an unexpected treat!!!  My basket includes a potted Lavender Plant and homemade Lavender Shortbread cookies, but you could also take the theme further and include a Lavender Bath Bar or Body Scrub.  I love everything about this…and so will she!

A Lavender Themed Gift

The gift basket starts with none other than the basket!  You probably have one hiding in a closet right now that needs to be put to good use.  I liked how this one was lined with a linen cloth and outfitted with a chalkboard tag.  The fragrant and beautiful lavender is a potted plant I bought from my neighborhood grocery (Publix for me…but all big grocery stores seem to carry them).  Next, Lavender Shortbread gets lovingly stacked into a cone that I made out of brown kraft paper, then wrapped again in cellophane and finished with a pretty ribbon.  A personal sticker lets the recipient know what kind of treat they are receiving!  (Let’s face it, you don’t see Lavender Shortbread every day!)  For those that love this idea but have no time to bake shortbread, I have learned that The Nashville Cookie Bar bakes Lavender and Lemon Shortbread Cookies and I’m sure they would love to oblige.  You will find their website here.

The homemade Lavender Shortbread I baked is from a recipe found in a favorite cookbook that my mom gave to me.  Check out the following inscription.   It came on a random March day (no holiday involved…So my mom) with the following super sweet message…

To My Darling Daughter Sabrina  ~  Given to you by your mama on 3 – 14- 12.  May the sweetest lady in the world bring deliciousness to all who surround her table for the delectable treats she will create from this fabulous book.  If you do’t send some lavender shortbread my way, I must take this book back.  Much love to one who I love so very much.  Your Mom…Mama

If that’s not a hint…I don’t know what is!!!   Now…to be completely honest…I’ve never made these cookies for my  mom!  I gasp just thinking about the travesty!  The cookies and gift basket shown in these photographs went to a dear friend on her birthday.  So I have some splainin’ to do.  However, I can vouch for the deliciousness of these lavender shortbread cookies as the unique and most unexpected addition of the lavender is a perfect pairing with a cup of hot coffee or tea.  A cookie with floral notes?  Yes and yes!!!

Lavender Shortbread Cookie Dough
Lavender Shortbread Cookie Dough…just before they are popped into a 350 Degree Oven
Lavender Shortbread Cookies
Fresh from the oven, lightly golden, with flecks of lavender and glistening with dusting sugar
Lavender Shortbread Cookies on Pedastal
You know I had to keep a few for my family to enjoy.  How pretty they look sitting atop a white pedestal dish.

LAVENDER SHORTBREAD

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temp
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried lavender (I bought mine from William-Sonoma)
  • About 1/4 cup granulated sugar for dusting (I love using the white decorating sugar, also from William-Sonoma)
  1. Line two cookie sheets with parchment.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), beat the butter, vanilla, and salt on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.  Turn the speed down to low, add the confectioners’ sugar, and beat until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the flour in thirds, beating until just incorporated. Sprinkle in the lavender and mix until just combined, being careful not to overmix.
  3. Take out paddle attachment and finish by mixing by hand to insure that the dough is thoroughly mixed.  The lavender should be evenly distributed throughout the dough.
  4. Use a small ice cream scoop to form the cookies, about 1 rounded tablespoon each, and place on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving 1 inch between the cookies to allow for spreading.
  5. Flatten each cookie with the palm of your hand or a cookie stamp dusted with granulated sugar.  Dust the tops of cookies with sugar.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 3 hours, before baking.
  6. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 8 – 10 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until the edges are lightly golden.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.  Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.

Variation:  Lemon Shortbread:  Substitute the grated zest of a 2 lemons for the lavender and 2 teaspoons extract for the vanilla extract.

Recipe courtesy of “The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook” by Cheryl and Griffith Day, Published by Artisan.

Lavender Shortbread Cookie
Hello Gorgeous!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful mama’s out there!!!!!  You are special every day of the year!!!!