Spiced Carrot Cake Loaf with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Spiced Carrot Cake Loaf with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Hello Everyone!

AMCARMEN’S KITCHEN TURNS EIGHT TODAY!

And what a journey it has been indeed! So much has happened this year that it’s been extra difficult to keep up with the blog and my social media accounts associated with Amcarmen’s Kitchen. Just before my blog turned 7 last year, I started a foodie community group on Instagram together with a foodie friend of mine, Chamaine (she also participated in my Auguest 2021 series). From there, we started organising and hosting food collaborations amongst the IG foodie community, internationally. Aside from that, I also expanded my social media reach into the world of TikTok and started uploading video content there. It was also from TikTok where I placed third in a virtual cooking competition, and was invited to join in food campaigns where I won prizes weekly.

To be honest, with all that going on side-by-side with my work and social life, I actually didn’t prepare anything for my blog’s anniversary today. In fact, I was going back and forth with myself whether to whip up something or indulge in a lazy Easter long weekend. Prior to this weekend, I spent the last two weekends (Friday to Sunday) in a classroom from 9am – 7pm where I did a Premiere Pro and After Effects course. So yes, I totally deserve a do-nothing weekend after all that *cheeky grin*.

Luckily, because of my oh-so busy schedule, I had this recipe for a Spiced Carrot Cake Loaf with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting that didn’t get posted towards the end of March. Still, it’s perfect for a celebration!

Spiced Carrot Cake Loaf with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

This carrot cake turned carrot cake loaf is dense, yet ultra soft, moist, and flavoured with fall-favourite spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. You can serve it plain, or spruce it up with your choice of nuts, dried fruit, and/or top with some cream cheese frosting. Now if you want to be a little bit extra, all you need is a pinch or two of cinnamon powder to take your frosting to another level. The delicious cinnamon-flavoured cream cheese frosting really heightens each slice of carrot cake loaf!

I’ve made this carrot cake loaf three times now, the first time was just because I wanted to bake something that was easy to take to work for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. The second time I baked this loaf was with my boyfriend when he visited for the weekend a few months back. The third time, I was searching for a recipe where I could feature Binda Valley’s Vanilla Bliss Natural Greek Style Yoghurt, which I received courtesy of Gourmet Direct PH a few months back. This is also one of my achievements from last year, to be recognised by a brand and create promotional content for them.

This recipe makes two carrot cake loaves, feel free to double or downsize the recipe, but trust me, you don’t want to be downsizing because one loaf disappears fast! If you can turn a cake into a loaf, you can most definitely turn this loaf into muffins as well!

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 55 – 65 MINS | MAKES 2 LOAVES

INGREDIENTS

Spiced Carrot Cake Loaf Ingredients

For the carrot cake loaf

Dry ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup roasted walnuts, roughly chopped

Wet ingredients

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

For the cinnamon cream cheese frosting

  • 1 block (225g) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4) and line two 9×5-inch loaf pans with parchment paper.
  2. Carrot Loaf: Whisk all the dry ingredients, except for the walnuts, together in a large mixing bowl until well combined. Set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk all the wet ingredients together until well combined.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently whisk together until just combined. The batter should be semi-thick in consistency. Fold the chopped walnuts into the batter.
  5. Equally divide the batter between the prepared loaf pans and bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean as baking times may vary.
  6. Remove from the oven once done and leave it to cool completely in its pan on a wire rack.
  7. Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting: Using a handheld (or stand) mixer, beat the cream cheese in a medium-sized bowl on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy.
  8. Beat in the butter, and then followed by the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt over low speed until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust to your liking.
  9. Once the carrot cake loaf has cooled, frost with the cinnamon cream cheese and top with roasted walnuts and shredded carrots.
  10. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Spiced Carrot Cake Loaf

Storage tip: Store your carrot cake loaf without the frosting! Cover and store leftover loaf/slices at room temperature for up to 3-4 days or in the refrigerator for up to about 10 days. Store the frosting separately in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Before I end tonight’s post, I just want to say a special thank you to my Mom. She was the one who patiently taught me how to cook my favourite dishes when I was growing up. She was my #1 supporter. Thank you Mama for passing down your knowledge and love for food on to me. I know you’re proudly watching from above. I love you.

Spiced Carrot Cake Loaf with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

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Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Plum & Quinoa

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Plum & Quinoa

Hello Everyone! I hope the week has been good to all. Tonight will be the last of my Muffin Making Monday series on Amcarmen’s Kitchen and I will be back to sharing recipes with y’all on my usual Wednesday night uploads. I’ll still be continuing the overall theme for the year of Breakfast Foods, but next week I’ll be sharing a completely new sub-theme on the blog so stay tuned for that!

Yesterday was such a tiring day overall that I think I crashed in bed right after dinner and probably had one of the best sleeps that night – it would’ve been even better if I hadn’t had to wake up so early for work. We held a garage sale yesterday morning from 7am to (officially) 10am, but people still kept coming by the house past 11am that morning. The night before we invited our close friends to the house so that they could have the first choice in picking out what they wanted before we sold our stuff to others the following morning. We made almost $500 that night and morning for all our small items such as clothes, jewellery, bags, accessories, toys, etc. and about $1000 more on our large furnitures. After a tiring morning of turning our unwanted things into money, I spent the afternoon catching up with friends and food at one of our friend’s open house. That was my day in a nutshell.

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Plum & Quinoa

Moving on, plums are extremely nutritious, offering a wide variety of health benefits. They contain over 15 different vitamins and minerals, and in addition, fibre and antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of several chronic diseases. To have a further read on the health benefits of Plums (and Prunes), head on over to Health Line. Moving on, in addition to the many vitamins and minerals packed into these breakfast muffins, quinoa also gives them a major protein boost. Check out the original recipe from The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen.

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Plum & Quinoa Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 15-20 MINS | SERVES 12 MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 & 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup full-fat plain yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup honey, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/3 cup raw white quinoa
  • 113g unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 2 plums, 1 roughly chopped and 1 sliced, thinly
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F or gas mark 6). Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases. Set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl, whisk the flours, quinoa, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and salt together.
    In another mixing bowl, medium-sized, whisk the eggs, yoghurt, melted butter, and honey together. Gently fold the egg mixture into flour mixture until just combined; then stir in the chopped plum.
  3. Divide the batter equally among the prepared muffin cases (about 1/4 cup each) and top each with a couple of plum slices.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centres of the muffins comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool down completely.
  5. Drizzle with honey, if desired, before serving and enjoy!

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Plum & Quinoa

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Plum & Quinoa

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Plum & Quinoa

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

… on a bed of Pistachio Crumble with a Quenelle of Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream drizzled with a Red Wine & Orange Reduction *drools*

Hello Everyone! I’m really bad at this, and I sincerely apologise. I know I said that I would get back on track with Amcarmen’s Kitchen until the end of the year but once again I have fallen slack and behind for God knows how many weeks now. The truth is that I have been super busy towards the end of last month and into early November with a hectic and stressful event that definitely took a toll on my high blood pressure for sure. Though the past 2 weeks have been quiet, I spent most of it recovering and relaxing from that hell of an event.  I worked at least 15 hours a day from 8am until almost midnight on most nights. I’m just glad that it’s all over… For now.

But anyway, the recipe that I will be sharing tonight is one that I actually made waaaaaay back somewhere in June when I was left home alone (my mom and my sister flew out to Singapore to visit my other sister), during a long weekend too, and I had no plans of stepping out of the house unless I had to *cheeky grin*. So why didn’t I upload the recipe for this back then? Simple – it didn’t comply with the theme I had set out to accomplish for this year on Amcarmen’s Kitchen. So then why now? It’s still 2017. Stop asking so many questions! Haha! I amuse myself sometimes. Well, this is actually part of a special recipe that I will be posting (hopefully) next week, which will also most likely be the last recipe for the year unfortunately. I’m going to use the rest of my time before the year ends to plan and prepare recipes for the upcoming year. I already have a theme in mind to tackle for the whole year and I’m already excited for it!

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

Moving on, sorry that introduction went on way longer that I thought it would (as always though right?). If I can recall, I decided that I wanted to practice my dessert-making skills, you know to a MasterChef quality level worthy of a place in the competition ONE DAY. I have to say that I’m quite impressed with how this dessert played out in my head, to paper, and to the actual deal. The pears were soft on the outside, but still had a nice bite and a bit of crunch to it on the inside; beautifully spiced and contrasted well to the mild sweetness of the vanilla bean ice cream. And everyone loves pistachios, or at least I hope they do so throw that onto the plate for another added texture to the overall dessert dish.

You may want to get a head start on the ice cream so that it’ll have time to set in the freezer. You can either make it the day before, or early in the morning so that it’s ready for dessert time after a hearty dinner.

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears Ingredients

PREP TIME 4 HOURS* | COOKING TIME 25-35 MINS | SERVES 6

*Includes the minimum freeze time for the no churn vanilla bean ice cream; see below for the freeze time range

INGREDIENTS

For the spiced red wine poached pears

  • 6 large pears, peeled and keeping the stems intact**
  • 1 bottle (750ml) red wine
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 10 cloves
  • 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange

For the no churn vanilla bean ice cream

  • 2 cups thickened cream
  • 1 can (300g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 vanilla bean pod
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

For the pistachio crumble

  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted pistachios
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

**Make sure that you use fairly large pears for this recipe. I found that using smaller pears overcook easily as they need a while to absorb that beautiful red wine colour as well as the flavours.

METHOD

  1. No Churn Vanilla Bean Ice Cream: Using a mixer, beat the thickened cream on medium speed until heavy peaks start to form. Add the can of sweetened condensed milk and beat further. Be careful as to not over whip the mixture. Add the vanilla beans into the mixture along with the pure vanilla extract and gently stir it into the ice cream mixture. Place the ice cream mixture into a container and freeze for a minimum of 4 to 6 hours or overnight.
  2. Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears: Add all the ingredients for the poached pears into a large pot or any that’s a suitable size. Cut out a piece of parchment paper and place it directly on the pears so they remain submerged in the liquid, or alternatively you could also use a small plate.
  3. Bring the wine mixture to boil and then turn it down to a simmer and cook until the pears are soft on the outside are still a little crisp in the middle instead of soft all the way through (about 25 minutes); cooking time will however depend on the size of the pears. For softer pears, cook for a further 10 minutes.
  4. Once the pears are cooked through, use a slotted spoon remove the pears and set aside to cool. Keep cooking the liquid until it reduces to a syrup. Then, strain the wine reduction and discard the spices and zest. If you find the sauce too sweet, add some lemon juice to it to cut through some of that sweetness.
  5. Pistachio Crumble: Preheat oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4) and line a rimmed baking tray with parchment paper. Process the pistachios in a food processor until roughly chopped. Add the flour, sugar, and salt; processing further just until combined. Add the unsalted butter, and continue processing until the mixture is thoroughly combined and forms pea-size crumbs.
  6. Spread the pistachio crumble mixture on the prepared baking tray. Press gently with damp hands, flattening the crumble to about 1/2 inch thick and bake in the preheated oven until the crumble starts to brown at the edges, about 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, and, using a flat spatula to lightly crumble the mixture. Return to oven, and bake until the crumble is golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes further. Once done, transfer to a wire rack, and set aside to cool on the baking tray completely, about 20 minutes, before roughly crumbling.
  8. Assemble your dessert by spreading the crumble onto the middle of each individual serving plates. Place one pear on top of the crumble and drizzle with the orange and wine reduction syrup. Quenelle the vanilla bean ice cream and place atop the crumble on the side of the pear.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Spiced Red Wine Poached Pears

BON APPÉTIT

Ps: speaking of desserts – this is completely unrelated by the way, but I just thought I’d share this because it’s hilarious! A week ago or so, my friend asked a question on our whatsapp group chat and the question was: if you were a dessert, what would you be? Without hesitation, my other friend quickly replied “cactus” and to her hasty realisation, she retracted and said “oh I thought you meant desert” and everyone went spiralling down into a pit of undignified laughters – well I couldn’t stop laughing out loud and looking like an insane freak in front of my colleagues at work during that time. God bless her.

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Carrot

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Carrot

Hello Everyone! Back with another muffin (borderline cupcake) recipe for you! This week, I decided to whip up some lovely spiced carrot muffins while Jialing made some yummy raspberry and white chocolate muffins with a lemon crumb top. I had a bag of about 400g of baby carrots sitting in the fridge, given to me by my housemate Vidhya before she flew off to South Africa. She was telling me how she went out and bought a lot of food, not realising that she’d be jetting off in a few days for a month. So hence why I got the bag of carrots! Now, for those of you who don’t know me that well, I am actually not a fan of carrots. There’s just something about the taste (raw and/or cooked) that I don’t like. I remember how I’d use to add it to my stir-fry just for the colour. I’d eat a slice or two and I’d just be like, no. So when I got this bag of carrots, I had no idea what I was going to do with them. I wanted to give them to Lydia, but I know for a fact that she also does not like carrots. She only eats them because she knows it’s good for your eyes. But other than that, she tries to avoid eating them too.

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Carrot

Solution? Spiced Carrot Muffins! At least this way I won’t taste much of the carrot… I hope. And I still even have 3-4 baby carrots lying in my fridge! No clue what to do with them next. In the end I think my Spiced Carrot Muffins turned out to be Spiced Carrot Cake Cupcakes because I decided to top the muffins with a yummy cream cheese frosting (I know, so much cream cheese for the past week – for those of you who didn’t see it, I made a Red Velvet Cheesecake on the weekend for my birthday!) I know, this week I was supposed to make savoury muffins as I was unintentionally alternating between sweet and savoury. I feel like it’s a mix? Remove the cream cheese frosting and you have a sort of savoury muffin? Maybe. Please also check out the original recipe over on Williams-Sonoma. The original recipe uses raisins, and if you know me, another thing I don’t like. So add them if you want to (about half a cup), otherwise, I replaced them with roughly chopped walnuts. I also tweaked up the spices by adding ground allspice, cloves, and nutmeg. Much yumminess indeed!

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Carrot Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 15-18 MINS | MAKES 12 MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

For the muffin batter

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and finely shredded (2 large carrots, or 4-5 baby carrots)
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour cream
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 250g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 60g butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 220C. Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices into a large bowl and stir together until combined. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and brown sugar until blended. Whisk in the buttermilk, and then butter.
  3. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula, stir just until evenly moistened. Fold in the carrots and walnuts just until evenly distributed (reserve some for decorating later).
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them 3/4 of the way full. Bake for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Once done remove from the oven and set aside to completely cool down.
  5. Meanwhile, as the muffins bake in the oven, smooth the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla together using an electric handheld mixer. Fold in the icing sugar, and then use the mixer again to beat it until it is light and fluffy. Place the icing mixture into a piping bag (or a regular zip lock bag if you don’t have one in handy like me, and snip off a corner to allow the frosting through). Frost the muffins/cupcakes, and top with some crumbed walnuts and shredded carrots.

Breakfast Muffins: Spiced Carrot

I think I may have gotten Lydia into a dilemma; she now can’t choose between my Banana and Cinnamon Crumb Top Muffins, my Pumpkin and Cheesecake Muffins, and now these babies!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com