“Maaaaaaaa, no tat-ting pittures…..I WANT CAAAAAAKKKKKEEEE!!!!”
That was “C” the whole time I was trying to snap pictures of the cake we made together.
A few weeks ago, Lulu’s Hypermarket opened about 5 minutes from our villa. If you’ve never heard of a hypermarket, it’s like a super Wal-Mart or Target. It has everything from electronics, to home goods to groceries, usually at a discounted price. They also have a bunch of international produce and other items, which is fun to look at, but our first visit I almost fell over when I saw a silicone Christmas tree cake mold. It’s not that I’ve never seen a Christmas tree shaped cake pan before, I just wasn’t expecting to find one in the Middle East. Especially amazing was that is was only one Dinar (that’s about $2.65!) I may or may not have actually screamed a little bit out of excitement! But we got home and I tucked it away, waiting until a bit closer to Christmas to use it.
Then a few nights ago, we went to a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at my husband’s job. They put together a wonderful celebration complete with fake snow, a visit from Santa, a live nativity, and a real camel dressed up for Christmas. The kids were still buzzing about the event the next morning so I decided today would be a good day to pull out our tree pan and bake a cake (plus it would probably make “M” stop reminding me about the part of the evening where the Christmas camel pooped on us while trying to take a picture with him. Yeah, it was gross!)
I didn’t really feel like making a cake from scratch, so I pulled out a box of cake mix and some food coloring. I’ve seen this on several blogs, but I’ve been dying to try these rainbow cakes/cupcakes. Since I was only able to find red and green color at Lulu’s, I thought it was the perfect time to try a Christmas version of the rainbow cake.
There really is no recipe (especially since I used a box cake mix.) All you do is divide the batter, color each and alternate pouring the colors into the mold and bake as directed. I thought it turned out pretty cool, but I did learn a few things over the last few days:
1. Don’t get too excited about baking a cake that you forget to grease the cake pan, even if it is silicone.
2. Don’t try to take pictures of food the kids will actually want to eat while they are actually around. They will just whine, cry and try to stick their fingers in every shot.
3. Don’t try to take pictures of a Christmas camel while standing close to it’s rear-end. It’s just gross.
Filed under: Breakfast, Dessert | Tags: cake, carrot, dried cherries, muffin, orange
So I’ve mentioned before that my family recently moved to a new country. And of course being a foodie (or at least a wanna be) many of my favorite things about our host country are food-related. Walking around the market in a new country is one of the best experiences! Sometimes it can be frustrating if you are looking for a particular ingredient or food and you can’t find it, or the labels aren’t in English. But sometimes, I find something new that makes me wonder how I’ve spent almost 30 years of my life without knowing it existed. This time, the “it” I am referring to is Orange and Carrot juice. I was intrigued, so I bought it. Man, am I glad I did. Both my husband and I were surprised how good it was! It wasn’t like the V-8 juices that cover up the taste of the veggies with the fruit juice. The flavor of the carrot was just as pronounced at the orange, yet in still, it was light, crisp and sweet. To date this is one of my favorite local finds.
So my family likes something sweet in the morning for breakfast, and when I was looking through the fridge to see what I had on hand to decide what to make, I saw the bag of oranges I had just bought, and a bag of carrots. Light bulb! I would make orange and carrot muffins. I then thought of one of my hubby’s favorite kinds of cake: carrot cake. I didn’t have any raisins, on hand, but I did have a bag of dried cherries. I think the addition made for a nice unexpected chewiness with a tart bite. I love this recipe, and I think this one will stay in the regular rotation in our house. The only changes I think I will make next time are to add maybe one or two more tablespoons orange zest so the orange flavor is more pronounced; and I will also see if I can find some vanilla beans for a little added flavor.
I forgot to buy muffin liners the last time I was shopping, so while “M” was helping me scoop the batter into the mini-bunt pans, she said, “Ohhh Mommy, I can’t wait to eat these mini-cakes!” So Orange and Carrot Mini Cakes with dried Cherries, they are!
Orange and Carrot Mini Cakes with Dried Cherries
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk (I used 2%
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon (packed) finely grated orange peel
2 large eggs
1/4 cup dried cherries
1 large carrot, shredded
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease muffin pan or mini bunt cake pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, and baking soda in medium bowl. Whisk milk and orange juice in small bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter, and orange peel in large bowl to blend. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition until mixture is light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl (“M” liked helping with this part!) Beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with milk mixture in 2 additions. Mix just until blended.
Fold in carrot and dried cherries. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
Bake muffins until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes. Cool in pans 5 minutes. Remove muffins from pans and cool on rack.