Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese frosting and toasted almonds

I spent a while gathering ideas for Easter dinner dessert and was originally thinking cute lil’ bunny themed cupcakes. But after seeing countless recipes for carrot cake I decided to go for it even though I’ve never made one before. I paired it with the delicious cream cheese frosting I made in an earlier post, but added less powdered sugar so it had more of a cream cheese taste! It was a big hit, everyone loved it, my mum especially took a liking to the cream cheese frosting 😛

You can either bake this in two standard cake tins and layer your cake, or just use a glass pie dish and invert your cake onto your serving platter like I did.

With a few adjustments this was easily made into a much healthier version of the original.

Healthy Carrot Cake with Delicious Cream Cheese frosting and toasted almonds

Healthy Carrot Cake with Delicious Cream Cheese frosting and toasted almonds

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese frosting and toasted almonds

  • 2 cups finely grated carrots
  • 1/2 – 1 cup toasted almond slices
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated nutmeg
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 white sugar
  • 3/4 cup apple sauce 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Grease a 9x13x2 pie pan and line bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Toast the almonds for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and they smell delicious. Let cool.
  3. Peel and finely grate the carrots and set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and set aside.
  5. With hand mixer beat the eggs until frothy (about 1 minute). Gradually add the sugar and beat until the batter is thick and light coloured (about 3-4 mins). Add apple sauce and oil in a thin steady stream, and then beat in the vanilla extract.
  6. Add the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. With a large rubber spatula fold in the grated carrots.
  7. Fill pie pan until 3/4 of the way full and bake in preheated oven for around 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
  9. After completely cooled invert cake onto serving platter and frost with cream cheese frosting. Press toasted almonds around sides of cake, or chop and sprinkle over entire cake. Refrigerate any leftovers!
Healthy Carrot Cake with Delicious Cream Cheese frosting and toasted almonds

Healthy Carrot Cake with Delicious Cream Cheese frosting and toasted almonds

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • one 8 oz. bar cream cheese, cold
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon zest OR extract (optional)
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, measure then sifted
  1. With the mixer on a low speed, beat the cream cheese and butter till blended.
  2. Mix in vanilla and lemon extract.
  3. Slowly add the powdered sugar a cup at a time.
  4. Once all the powdered sugar is added, increase to a higher speed to whip up the frosting till light and fluffy.

Cream Cheese Frosting

I made the BEST-EVER cream cheese frosting last Friday and I just HAD to share it! I made it to go with some red-velvet cupcakes (that were more pink-ish because I had absolutely no interest in adding a WHOLE bottle of red food coloring as the recipe called for – I have a great idea for my next batch though that involves ZERO food coloring – check back soon 😉

Now let me tell you, I’ve tried a good share of different cream cheese frostings in my day, and this was by far, hands down, the best one out there!

SO without further ado, I present to you…

BEST EVER CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • one 8 oz. bar cream cheese, cold
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon zest OR extract (optional)
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, measure then sifted
  1. With the mixer on a low speed, beat the cream cheese and butter till blended.
  2. Mix in vanilla and lemon extract.
  3. Slowly add the powdered sugar a cup at a time.
  4. Once all the powdered sugar is added, increase to a higher speed to whip up the frosting till light and fluffy.

Strawberry Danish Crescent Rolls

These rolls were absolutely delicious and very easy to make.

For the LIFE of me I couldn’t figure out how they explained to roll up the Grands Crescents, so I made it up as I went along and everything turned out WONDERFULLY!

As long as you seal the edges so your cream cheese doesn’t leak out, YOU’RE GOLDEN…Much like the Rolls when they are done 😉

Mum’s old hand mixer <3Ingredients together for easy Prep.

Strawberry Danish Crescent Rolls

Not exactly how I imagined them turning...but REEEAAALLLLY close

Not exactly how I imagined them turning...but REEEAAALLLLY close

Danish

4 oz. or 1/2 Cup Softened Cream Cheese

1/4 Cup Sugar

1/2 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

1 Can Grands Crescent Rolls [4 per package]

Jam – To Taste, I used my homemade Strawberry ❤

Glaze

1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar

1/4 – 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla

1 – 2 Teaspoons Milk [Add milk until desired consistency is reached]

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together Cream Cheese, Sugar and Lemon Juice on Low speed until fully incorporated, wiping down sides of bowl as needed.
  3. Separate dough into 4 sections and spread 1/4 of cream cheese mixture on middle of dough.
  4. Roll up crescents starting with the long side, reaching towards the point. This is where you need to be a little creative. On ungreased cookie sheet stretch out the dough in your hands so it spans about 10 inches and slowly coil, tucking end underneath and sealing up any openings.
  5. Wash hands and poke deep hole down the center of the Danish and scoop in desired amount of Jam.
  6. Insert into oven and cook for 20-25 minutes depending on your oven time. Danishes will be a deep golden brown and hold shape when finished.
  7. While Danishes are cooking mix together in a small bowl Powdered Sugar, Vanilla and Milk until your desired consistency is reached.
  8. Let cool slightly and drizzle finished danishes with Glaze.  ENJOY ❤

I adapted the recipe slightly but here is where the inspiration came from. Original Danish Crescent Recipe

Chef’s Tip: Since it’s just Chris and I here I like to use only two crescents at a time and I wrap the other two up in tinfoil for later use…although I wouldn’t recommend leaving them more than a day in the fridge with the broken seal as they tend to lose some of their ability to rise after 24 hours.

Caramel-Walnut, Strawberry and Blueberry Cheesecake MINIS!

I have been wanting to try this recipe for quite some time since we’ve had a giant tub of cream cheese lingering in the back of the fridge, nearing expiration, but have always been a little stand offish when it comes to cheesecake recipes from past ‘not so great’ experiences.

I went ahead and tried a cream cheese related recipe – CRESCENT CREAM CHEESE DANISH ROLLS. They rolls were AMAZING
and it gave me the confidence needed to whip up these cheesecake minis!

I used the Strawberry Jam that Momma and I made the other day, Caramel Ice Cream topping and Walnuts, and a Blueberry glaze that I whipped up from some fresh berries 🙂

After Chris stopped making giddy lil’ kiddie noises, he gave me a big smile and thumbs up on all the flavours. [Although I made him pick his favourites for future reference…he said Blueberry and Strawberry, while I really liked the Caramel Walnut!]

The recipe DOES NOT call for a “minis” springform pan, just a paper and tin baking cup!

Caramel Walnut, Strawberry and Blueberry Cheesecake MINIS!

It is really important for this recipe that you take the cream cheese and egg out of the fridge a few hours prior to the commencement of baking. Cheesecake works best when cream cheese and egg are at room temperature. Another thing to remember is not to overbeat your batter. Batter is done when a smooth and creamy texture is reached [on LOW SPEED]. If a few lumps still remain, let batter sit at room temperature for 10-15 more minutes and then beat again.

For a full list of cheesecake tips and techniques I found this great website! Check it out before you begin! Cheesecake 101

Caramel, Blueberry and Strawberry Cheesecake Minis!

Caramel, Blueberry and Strawberry Cheesecake Minis!

For Approximately 24 Cheesecake Minis:

Crust:

1 Cup Graham Cracker Crumbs

1/4 Cup Butter, Room Temperature

1/4 Sugar

  1. Mix all ingredients until all crumbs are incorporated. Should look darker and damp.

Crust in the making

Filling:

1 1/4 Cup Cream Cheese

1/2 Cup Sugar

1 Egg

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla

I also added a big spoonful of sour cream for some extra kick!

1. In a mixing bowl, beat room temperature Cream Cheese and Sugar on low until smooth.

2. Add egg and Vanilla and beat again on low until smooth.

3. Scrape down edges of bowl periodically so that all batter hits blades.

Smooth Creamy Batter
Smooth Creamy Batter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line tin cups with paper cups.

  2. Place a bit of Graham Cracker into each cup and press firmly into bottom. [Probably around a Tbsp. or so. If Crumbs are not pressed firmly, crust will fall apart]. Make sure to save a bit of Graham Cracker crumbs to sprinkle on top of finished minis.

  3. Once all crumbs are pressed down spoon batter into cups almost to the top.

  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on your oven time and keep a close eye on cheesecake in the last 10 minutes of baking. [While baking cheesecake will look shiny, when it’s finished it will look dull].

Enjoy!!! 😉

Cool for a few hours or even overnight and top with preferred topping.

Another way to tell if cheesecake is done: if you tap cups and batter jiggles they are not done, or if the center of cheesecake falls when cooled. Cheesecake is DONE BEFORE IT CRACKS! It also continues to cook for a few minutes [much like meat] when you first take them out of the oven because of the residual heat…if cheesecake looks “done” in pan, it will overdone on your plate.

I decided to whip up a BLUEBERRY GLAZE for some of my minis and here is THAT recipe! [You can use this for Strawberries as well].

1 Cup Berries

1/2-3/4 Cup Sugar

1 Cup Water

3 Tbsp. Cornstarch

Blueberry Glaze thick and bubbly
Blueberry Glaze thick and bubbly
  1. Crush berries and cook [med-high heat] in water for two minutes.

  2. Add Sugar and Cornstarch and stir until thick and bubbly [increase heat as needed

For strawberries add a few drops red food colouring.

More Cups before they hit the oven and my reserved crumbs for sprinkling.
More Cups before they hit the oven and my reserved crumbs for sprinkling.
Cooking cups look SHINY
Cooking cups look SHINY
Finished cups look DULL
Finished cups look DULL
Pretty Carmel-Walnut, Strawberry and Blueberry Glaze Mini Cheesecakes
Pretty Carmel-Walnut, Strawberry and Blueberry Glaze Mini Cheesecakes

This recipe is a definite keeper <3
This recipe is a definite keeper ❤

BE CREATIVE and pick whichever flavours you like best! Crush up some Oreoes, or Nilla Wafers to use for Crust instead of Graham Crackers. And be sure to let me know how it works out for you 🙂