Happy Birthday Mariana!!!
I can’t think of a better day to celebrate my daughter’s birthday that on Easter. As a reflection of her life, she will be officially a teenager in a day that represents hope, new beginnings and happiness. Things that any parent will love for their kids for sure.
In Mariana’s case, those circumstances have been present during the course of her wonderful life. Hope is the mantra that makes us move forward as a family everyday. Mariana has been blessed with a few of new beginnings every time she overcomes a health or physiological challenge. Happiness of course is the only way of life she knows, because we as a family have created a unique world for her filled with love and a friendly environment, something that can sound kind of crazy but as a mother this has been more a survival thing.
So this Easter we will be celebrating her 13th birthday with no other thing than with her favorite carrot cake. I have made this recipe a couple of times for her. What I like to do is to incorporate pureed carrots and grinded nuts inside the batter, so that way she could benefit from the nutritional goodness of those foods. For this time I made the cake in a mini Bundt cake pan to get little cakes, glazed them with white chocolate, frosted them with an Italian meringue buttercream to create a nest, placed some jelly beans around as eggs and used a frozen tart dough I had in my freezer to create the little chickens (thank goodness for dough leftovers!!). You can decorate them of course with any other confection you prefer, maybe robin eggs or peeps chickens for the top!
I wish you have a wonderful Easter Sunday! We have been in Philadelphia, which is basically our second home, for some of Mariana’s medical appointments and will be spending Easter with family at Hershey, so this will be a sugar loaded weekend : ) so you’ll be seeing lots of fruit bowls and veggies during next week at my Insta.
1. This recipe yields a lot of little cakes, ideal for any celebration. You may cut in half or freeze the extra cakes for future enjoyment. You can use as a guide the notes for the original carrot cupcakes, that is the recipe for the cake I'm using here.
2. The white chocolate glaze is a very simple mix of white chocolate chips with some heavy cream. You may use more heavy cream for a thinner glaze or less for a glaze with more coverage. If the glaze hardens just pop it in the microwave for a couple of seconds and reincorporate everything with a fork.
Mini Carrot Bundt Cakes
16 to 18 mini cakes
Total time – 50 minutes (including cooking time of the carrots) Active time – 15 minutes
Equipment – mini Bundt cake pan, medium or large food processor
Sliced carrots, boiled without salt - ¾ cup (2 medium carrots approximately)
Unbleached wheat flour - 2 ¾ cup
Baking powder – 1 Tsp
Baking soda - 1 Tsp
Ground cinnamon - ½ Tsp
Ground nutmeg - ¼ Tsp
Kosher salt - ¾ Tsp
Pecans - ½ cup
Natural or raw sugar - 1 ½ cup
Black sugar, pressed - ½ cup
Large eggs – 3
Greek plain yogurt – ¾ cup
Coconut oil – 8 oz
Preheat oven to 325°.
Boil the sliced carrots until they are completely soft and reserve ¾ of a cup.
In the food processor bowl pour the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and baking soda and pulse various times consecutively until everything is integrated. Pass it to a medium bowl.
Again, in the food processor bowl, pour the walnuts and grind until they are finely minced, from 1 to 2 minutes. Add the boiled carrots and process for 1 minute, reincorporate the content that adhered to the wall of the bowl and process for 1 to 2 additional minutes. Verify that the content is integrated. You may still see little pieces of carrots, that’s okay.
Add to this the sugars, the eggs and the yogurt. Process for 1 minute and then, with the processor running, start to slowly integrate the coconut oil through the bowl aperture. Process for 2 more minutes, until the mix looks homogeneous. Pour this to the flour mix and with a wooden spoon, gently mix everything together.
Spray the mini Bundt pan with a thick layer of baking spray (I use organic grape seed oil spray) With an ice-cream scoop or a measuring cup fill ¾ of the cupcake liners, leaving the border free so the mix has space to grow. If you are using two pans fill with a little bit of water any empty spots. If you only have one pan, save the remaining mix to bake later. Bake for 30 minutes. Take out of the oven and let it cool for various minutes. Take the cakes out of the pan and fill with the remaining mix, filling with water the empty spaces and bake for 30 minutes. You can also freeze the remaining mix for up to 3 months in a plastic freezer bag. Let them cool before decorating.
White chocolate glaze
White chocolate chips – ½ cup
Heavy cream – 2 to 3 TBSP, depending on the desire consistency
In a microwave safe bowl place the white chocolate chips and pour over the cream. Heat for 20 seconds and mix vigorously with a fork. If the glaze still has little pieces of chocolate heat for 10 seconds more. Pour over each cake and wait a few minutes for the glaze to set.
Italian Meringue Cream Cheese Buttercream
Total time - 50 minutes (including cooling time) Active time - 20 minutes
Water – 2 TBSP
Light corn syrup – ½ cup
Raw sugar – ⅓ cup
Egg whites – 2
Cream of tartar – ¼ Tsp
Unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut in cubes- 2 sticks
Cream cheese, at room temperature and cut in cubes- 8 oz
In a medium sauce pan combine the water with the sugar and syrup and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until strong bubbles form and the syrup reaches 240° on a candy thermometer, about 10 to 15 minutes of total cooking time. Do not overcook the syrup, pace the eggs so as soon as it is ready you can transfer it to the mixer.
While the syrup is cooking, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk in medium speed (4) just until very soft peaks form. As soon as the syrup is ready turn the mixer to medium high (6) and slowly, in a thin stream start to incorporate the syrup into the egg whites down the very side of the bowl so it doesn't adhere to the whisker, until stiff peaks start to form, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and let the meringue cool completely, that you don't feel the mixer bowl warm anymore.
As soon as the meringue is cooled down, start the mixer again in low speed (2) and start incorporating a couple of butter cubes at a time, until all the butter is integrated. Then do the same with cream cheese cubes. Mix everything just until everything is well incorporated. Do not overmix. The frosting may look broken when you start to add the butter, just keep mixing and everything will come together again after you add the cream cheese. Use for decorating the cooled dowm mini Bundt cakes.
Tart dough or sugar cookie dough- for making the cookies (this tart dough recipe may help)
Roll out as thin as possible the dough and with a chicken cookie cutter cut it and place the cookies over a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicon mat. Bake in 350° for 10 minutes approximately, until firm to the touch and golden brown. Use jelly beans to place on top of the frosting and fit in the center of the frosting the cookie.