Healthier Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

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This is my healthier version of my Nutty Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting. I substituted 1/2 a cup of vegetable oil (8 tablespoons) of coconut oil to make it much more healthier and palatable. The coconut oil gave a warm and fragrant aroma to the cake even after it has been baked!

img_4065The carrot cake batter

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The brand that I’ve used

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In all making this carrot cake was a huge success! I halved the cream cheese packet to make a thinner frosting and layered it on top of the cake. Look at that moist and fluffy goodness! You can see specks of spices and traces of dried fruit and nuts!

BIRDY Live Concert 2016

I had the most absolute luck to have attended my first ever concert. It was the Birdy concert on the 2nd of August, 8pm and watched her perform live infront of me! I have waited for 5 years and was just amazed that she came to Asia for her tour ‘Beautiful Lies” to perform! I was like all the way at the front just two people away. I was literally awe struck and blown away by her vocals and by her band! Just unbelievable, one of the best highlights of 2016! These were some of the photos that I took!

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A few of my favourite songs has to be Growing Pains, Give Up On Me, Wings, Wild Horses and Keeping Your Head Up! Still remember vividly when Wings was sung, everyone was raising their hands and clapping to the beat! She also sang Young Blood and Words As A Weapon from her first and second album. Going to a concert is so much fun and I had an amazing time and experience.

The first time I came to know her was when I was scrolling through channels on the television, and I accidentally pressed the MTV channel. And there was the screen playing Birdy’s music video ‘People Help The People’. Back then, I was around 16 years old. From there I went on YouTube to discover all of her other songs. I was really impressed by her vocals when I listened to her one take cover on’ Skinny Love’. She even commented a drawing I did of her on Facebook! She commented, “Did you draw that? It is so wonderful! I replied, “Glad you like it! 🙂 on the 22 of June 2013.

Outfit details: Dress from Zara, bracelets – Aldo, rings – H&M, necklace – Sister, shoes –  Converse

I have found 3 new songs that has been my recent favourites. I have been listening for quite a while and kept on replaying those songs. So without further due, these songs are

  1. Bridget Mendler – Atlantis
  2. Sigma – Find Me featuring Birdy
  3. Leighton Meester – Heartstrings

 

Nutty Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

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The moment when the whole kitchen smelled like warm cinnamon goodness, I knew that I was in for a treat. I was deciding on what to bake and in a whim, I thought of why not make a carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting? And so my search began, scrolling and typing words such as ‘moist carrot cake’ or googling images of it that had only one layer. Majority were images of layered carrot cakes with a generous amount of frosting and looked absolutely divine. However, I was on the mission to find a single layer carrot cake that could fit my 8 inch by 8inch cake pan and I think may have just found the one!

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A generous layer of cream cheese frosting, what’s not to love?

I’ve modified the recipe by converting the measurements into cups because I find it much more easier and convenient. I already had 5 blocks of cream cheese in my refrigerator, a staple in my family household. So what better way to use it as frosting instead? I’ve also added a variety of nuts and dried fruits as I had some left. But feel free to add whatever your heart desires! Why not add chocolate chips for a touch of decadence? Or even lemon or orange zest to add another depth of flavour?

After grating the carrots, you will notice that it leaves quite an amount of juice, I removed about 3 tablespoons full and drank it – because free natural carrot juice anyone? I decided to leave the remaining juice to incorporate into the cake batter. To plump up your dried raisins, you could leave it in a bowl of hot water till it just submerge or you could replace it with rum or prehaps orange juice.

After grating the carrots, you will notice that quite an amount of juice is left. I’ve removed about 3 tablespoons full and drank it – cause natural carrot juice anyone? 🙂 I decided to leave the remaining juice to incorporate into the cake batter.

Optional: why not plump up your raisins by soaking it in a bowl with rum until just submerge or perhaps even using orange juice?

img_3571My working bench!

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                                            Almonds, raisins, walnuts and cranberries!

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A warm golden top with traces of fruits and nuts

Making the cream cheese frosting in progress!

Dollop spoonfuls of that thing of a beauty!

   Add walnuts for that extra crunch!

This is by far the most absolute carrot cake EVER

Recipe for Nutty Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

(Carrot Cake)

  • 1 cup of carrots, grated (2 medium size)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil (note to self: try to use coconut oil instead, healthier)
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tsp of white sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon + 1 tsp of cinnamon sugar (1 1/2 tsp of cinnamon + 1/2 tsp of white sugar)
  • 1/4 cup ( a handful each) of – almonds, dried cranberries, dried raisins and walnuts

(Frosting) 

  • 7 tbsp of softened butter
  • 3/4 cup of icing sugar
  • 1 packet of softened cream cheese (250g)
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp of milk

Directions

( Nutty Carrot Cake)

  1. Preheat your oven to 170 celcius and prepare your cake pan by buttering it.
  2. Grate you carrots in a bowl and remove most of the juice and leave it aside.
  3. In a large bowl, sift your flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Add in your cinnamon sugar if you have. Mix it well altogether.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk in the brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and oil until homogenous.
  5. Chop your almonds, crush your walnuts and mix it into a bowl with your other dried fruits of you choice.
  6. Pour your dry flour mixture into the wet batter and fold it well. Add in the carrots and lastly the nuts. Mix it using a spatula until just combine. Limit your strokes.
  7. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan.
  8. Let it bake for 40mins till a toothpick inserted comes out clean and after 25mins or so place an aluminium sheet over the surface to prevent it from browning too much.
  9. Let the cake completely on a wire rack before applying the frosting.

(Frosting)   

  1. Whisk the softened cream cheese in a medium bowl till smooth. Add in the softened butter and continue to whisk. Sift the icing sugar and gently fold it in. Add the vanilla extract and milk, stirring it continuously until it forms a thick cream consistency.
  2. Dollop and spread that over the cooled cake using a spoon. Crush or place some walnuts for decoration and a layer of crunch.  Enjoy!

Do let me know what you think about it! 🙂


Simply Homemade Garlic Bread

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A secret ingredient is used to get that oh so perfect golden hue

A household staple when it comes to having Western food for a dinner night has to be garlic bread!  It’s loved by my whole family. Eat it on its own or even soaking it in onion soup. It just proves to be an absolute comfort food! I love a bread where it has really deep strong flavours and I owe that to herbs especially dried herbs in bottles. I just simply adore it, flecks of dried herbs scattered all over the bread. You can always feel free to dash more over your bread to make it extra flavourful. You bake it in the oven however you could always eat it straight for that extra garlic-ky kick!

For a really deep golden brown colour, the secret is to add a dash of paprika + chili powder to really enhance that golden colour. Here is foolproof recipe for an aromatic, garlic-y and golden garlic bread! It was dinner time and it totally slipped my mind to capture an after it has been cooked! But fret not as I will definitely have a chance to post it very soon!

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Garlic + butter + herbs = ultimate garlic butter

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Garlic bread + herbs w/0 secret ingredient (before it goes into the oven)

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Garlic bread + herbs  w/ paprika (before it goes into the oven)

 

Ingredients

  • Around 13 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 loaf of bread sliced into triangles/squares (palm size)
  • 1/4cup or 7 tbsp of softened butter
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tsps of black pepper
  • 2 tsps of italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp of dried thyme
  • 1 tsp of dried basil
  • 1 tsp of chili powder
  • 1 tsp of paprika powder
  • a handful of dried rosemary

 

Directions

  1. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Set aside in a bowl
  2. In the same bowl, add the softened butter, salt and sprinkle all the dried herbs to it. Mix it well till it forms a garlic butter paste.
  3. Slice your bread into even pieces and cut to desired shapes. Apply the garlic butter onto only one side of the bread.
  4. Preheat your oven to 180 celcius. Place the bread on an aluminium tray.
  5. Bake the bread for 10 to 15mins till its golden brown and flip it so that the underside browns as well.
  6. Serves well when its eaten hot!