I like to think this recipe is a good stepping stone between people who like to bake, but haven’t yet stepped out of their comfort zone and away from the box desserts.
Sometimes, you are just craving a warm brownie, or are responsible for making a birthday cake for a friend, so you turn down the baking aisle at the store and stare down all the options that are out there. Do you want a chocolate cake, a dark chocolate cake, a german chocolate cake, a devil’s food cake, or vanilla? Do you want cookies, muffins, cake, or bread?
With so many options, it’s hard not to cut corners and pick up a premade mix that typically just requires a few eggs, oil, and some water. Sometimes you can fix them up, make them fancy, and no one knows the difference. Other times, it tastes like a box cake.
I want to say that’s okay, but sometimes it’s nice impressing your friends, and not letting them know you didn’t spend hours whipping up the batter.
So, this is a recipe that adds a little flavor to your typical, boxed vanilla cake mix. And it’s perfect for this time of the year! As far as cakes go, this an easy, and fun way to disguise the fact that part of it came from a box, and spicing up those pumpkin spice, boxed cakes vibes.
1/2 cup chopped pecans
15 ounces can pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
1/4 cup water
1 package yellow cake mix
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup rum
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a bundt pan; roughly 10 inches. Sprinkle pecans onto the bottom of the pan.
In a large bowl, beat pumpkin, sugar, oil, eggs, and water until well blended. In another bowl, whisk cake mix and spices; gradually beat into pumpkin mixture until well combined. Transfer to the prepared pan.
Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and onto a wire rack.
In a small saucepan, combine sugar, butter, cinnamon, and cloves; cook and stir over medium heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat. Stir in rum; cook and stir 2-3 minutes longer or until sugar is dissolved.
Gradually brush glaze onto warm cake, about 1/4 cup at a time, allowing the glaze to soak into the cake before adding more. Cool completely. This takes a long time, and there seems to be a lot, but it is worth it!
Serve with some homemade vanilla icecream and enjoy.
I am always on the lookout for alternative ingredients for baking. For a little bit of my life, I was fully committed to a vegan lifestyle when dairy products had my stomach doing somersaults until the aching pain began. After moving to New York City and dining on delicious Italian food and dollar pizza weekly, my stomach began to tolerate the dairy I slowly reintroduced it back into my diet. Since then, I would not consider myself vegan or vegetarian, but I do try my best to eat at least one meal a day that is either vegan or vegetarian; even if that meal is dessert!
With autumn in my sights, I am ready to celebrate with rich, spicy treats. This carrot cake is something I came across in my search for delicious desserts that I would love, and my vegan friends could enjoy with me. Below you will find the recipe, steps, and gifs that will guide you on experience this milk, butter, and egg-free cake yourself!
Also, stay tuned for the coming months as I use this recipe to make some autumn-themed treats as I finally pull out my flannels, put out my fall decor, begin binge-watching Hocus Pocus, and pinpoint all the orchards I want to visit over the next three months.
Full Disclosure, the frosting is not dairy-free, hence its absence from the post. I will include my cream cheese frosting for this final product at the end of the post, but I am currently experimenting with other dairy-free icing recipes!
2 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar1 tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/3 tsp. nutmeg
2/3 tsp. salt
2 cups of almond milk
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted or liquid state
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/3 cups finely grated carrots
1/3 cup raisin
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts for decorating
Preheat your oven to 350°F and prep two 8-inch rough baking pans with spray oil, parchment paper, and flour. Spray the pan a bit, so the paper you cut to size sticks, and dust the pan with flour.
4. Mix together the dry ingredients until they look well combined.
5. Combine almond milk, applesauce, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar in another mixing bowl.
6. Whisk together the wet ingredients, so they are no longer separated and form a rich caramel color.
9. Add in those finely shredded carrots. I left this process out because of how messy it can be. I used a tapered shredder that has a fine side and used about 2 VERY large carrots. Your hands will be orange, and you will be finding carrots for days after, but it’s worth it.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
8 oz of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
With an electric beater, cream together butter and cream cheese until well combined.
Add in vanilla, mix.
Sift in powdered sugar slowly, possibly a cup at a time at low speed with an electric beater, until the final cup is combined. If you want a richer vanilla flavor, and a touch more.
I’ve been missing the warmer weather, but this soup is perfect for a rainy summer evening when you don’t want to spend a lot of time prepping dinner (also it’s great for lunch and leftovers the following days). I definitely recommend letting the flavor simmer for some time, but otherwise, this dish will only take 45 minutes from pot to bowl.
1 tbsp. Trader Joe’s Garlic and Herb butter
1 sweet onion, diced
1 tbsp. minced garlic
3 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp. Red pepper flakes (will add a kick to the soup)
3 tbsp. flour
3 c. chicken broth
2 (14.5 oz) cans of Trader Joe’s Diced and Fire-roasted Tomatoes
3 tbsp. Tomato paste
1 pkg. of Trader Joe’s Cheese Tortellini
1/3 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan
3 c. spinach, roughly 3 large handfuls
Kosher salt to season
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Basil, sliced for garnish
In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter.
Add onion and cook until translucent, roughly 5 minutes.
Add garlic and cook until you call smell the flavors.
In a small bowl, mix the Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and flour and whisk to combine, then add seasoning to the pot and mix with the butter. Cook 1 more minute.
Add broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, and bring to a boil,
Add the tortellini and cook until the tortellini is floating, around five minutes.
Reduce to a simmer and stir.
Add the cream and Parmesan and stir to combine, the soup will thicken
Add spinach and let wilt. Stirring to make sure all is combined
Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with basil and serve in warmed bowls
Let me know if you would like more TJ’s recipes I am definitely getting into more vegetarian and vegan recipes!