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Video: Yum! Tasty twist to traditional carrot cake

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    >>> and this morning on "today's holiday kitchen" a new spin on seasonal desserts. chuck hughes is the host of chuck's week off mexico and the upcoming special chuckmas. he's here with tips on preparing the perfect carrot cake . chuck, good morning, nice to see you.

    >> nice to see you.

    >> we're making mom's recipe this morning.

    >> yep.

    >> this is traditional north of the border with a twist.

    >> a little bit of a twist. christmas or chuckmas, if you will, is all about family. at my house, my grandmother and my mom are always the ones that are inviting everybody into their homes and inviting the family. this is one of my mom's recipes that i'm doing this year.

    >> we're going to make your mom's carrot cake . the first thing i notice is no mixers involved.

    >> no mixer, everything by hand, less cleaning.

    >> and also a different consistency.

    >> this is kind of a take of fruitcake mixed with a little carrot cake . nobody really likes fruitcake, everybody likes carrot cake .

    >> so bring it to the middle. what do you have here?

    >> flour, a little baking powder , baking soda .

    >> tell me about the spices.

    >> cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice ground up, toss it in there. super simple. i've got some eggs, some sugar, some oil. you can mix that up. like i said, this is one of the easiest recipes you'll ever make. just mix everything together. so we have our dry, our wet. that's the most important part of the recipe really. the rest is just to toss everything in there.

    >> let's talk about what you're tossing in there because this is where the fruitcake side of this comes. you've got some carrots.

    >> carrots, pineapple, walnuts, dried cherries and some raisins. basically, like i said, a mix between the both but a mixture that everybody enjoys and actually eats it.

    >> so we combine these two together.

    >> combine all of this together until you have a nice, thick, smooth paste.

    >> couple of eight-inch baking pans with a little parchment paper below.

    >> i love to do that because it's simple, easy and nice as clean but you can use any kind of pan. whatever you have at home, go ahead and use.

    >> any carrot cake -- by the way, your maple syrup is really boiling over there. any great carrot cake has to have great icing and you've got a little difference with yours. you start with the basic.

    >> really really basic, cream cheese, sugar, icing sugar , a little bit of orange zest , a little oerrange juice and the most important par, you've got to try it.

    >> that's so good.

    >> you go ahead and get that one and i'll do this.

    >> and then you're going to stack these.

    >> i just really -- this is where you like to get the kids involved. in my family all the kids kind of come in and just have a good time.

    >> it doesn't have to be perfectly neat.

    >> it's cake, it's christmas, it's all about family and fun.

    >> talk to me about the sauce here.

    >> well, basically what i do is to garnish my cake, as you can see it over here, i've got these walnuts. all i've done is heated up some maple syrup . i'm going to toss those in here, stir them up.

    >> how long do they cook in here?

    >> this is all about getting them coated until you have no maple syrup in the pan. toss them on there, let them cool down and you have candy crystallized maple syrup .

    >> hi.

    >> speaking of nuts, look who's come in.

    >> well, we like to be part of the nut mix.

    >> exactly.

    >> i'll have you try one of my traditional french -- this is a staple. if you're a grandmother in quebec, this is what you make. it's kid of like a brown sugar maple syrup fudge. you guys want to try that out.

    >> well, happy holidays, merry chuckmas. nice to see you. chuck, thank you very much. we'll

TODAY recipes
updated 12/5/2011 1:33:22 PM ET 2011-12-05T18:33:22

Recipe: Carrot cake

Ingredients
  • 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
Preparation

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 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

Serving Size

Serves 12

Recipe: Sucre a la creme with Maldon salt and pecans

Ingredients
  • 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
Preparation

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 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Serving Size

Makes 12 squares

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