Chuck Hughes' delicious holiday desserts

Chef and host of the Food Network’s “Chuck’s Day Off,” Chuck Hughes, suggests these two recipes for a yummy end to your holiday feast. Give these two tasty desserts a try!

Carrot cake

Serves 12


  • Cake

    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 1 cup canola oil
    • 4 eggs
    • 3 cups peeled and grated carrots
    • 1 cup chopped pineapple
    • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
    • 1/2 cup dried cherries
    • 1/2 cup dried golden raisins
  • Frosting

    • 2 packages cream cheese, softened
    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    • 2 1/2 cups icing sugar
    • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Maple walnuts

    • 1/2 cup maple syrup
    • 1 cup toasted walnuts


Baking Directions:

For the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) with the rack in the middle position. Line two 8-inch (20-cm) springform pans with parchment paper. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, combine the sugar, oil and eggs with a whisk. Gently stir in the dry ingredients. With a spatula, gently fold in the carrots, pineapple, walnuts, cherries and raisins. Divide the batter between the pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in the pans on a rack. Run the blade of a knife around the cakes and unmold.To make the frosting, in a bowl cream the cream cheese with the butter and icing sugar with an electric mixer. Add the zest and juice and continue beating until the frosting is smooth and creamy. Spread the frosting over the top of the cakes and stack them on a platter. For the maple walnuts: In a skillet, bring the syrup to a boil. Add the walnuts and stir continuously until the syrup has crystallized around the walnuts. Pour onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and let cool. Garnish the cake.Prep time: 30 minutesCook time: 1 hour

Sucre a la creme with Maldon salt and pecans

Makes 12 squares


    • Oil, for greasing pan
    • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
    • 1 cup 35-percent cream
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup maple syrup
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • Pinch salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped, for garnish
    • Maldon salt, for garnish


Baking Directions:

Line an 8-inch (20-cm) square pan with plastic wrap and lightly oil. In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cream, sugar, maple syrup, butter and salt and bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar. Attach a candy thermometer in the center of the pan and simmer over medium heat without stirring until the thermometer reads 237 degrees F (114 degrees C). Add the vanilla extract without stirring. Place the pan in a cold water bath. Cool, without stirring, until the thermometer reads 113 degrees F (45 degrees C), about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the water bath. Using an electric mixer or a wooden spoon, stir vigorously until the mixture begins to lighten in color and become creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Please note that if you whip too much, the sugar and cream mixture will harden before you have time to pour it into the pan.Pour immediately into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Garnish with crushed toasted pecans and Maldon salt. Cover with plastic wrap. Let cool for about 1 hour at room temperature or 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Remove from the pan and remove from the plastic wrap. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.Prep Time: 25 minutesCook Time: 10 minutes