Sunday, November 21, 2010

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing, Plus Redstone Cornbread with Maple Butter

Dear friends,  

I love hosting Thanksgiving at my home in Florida for my family and friends, but I sure miss being "up home" in Maryland for the feast with my parents, grandmother, siblings and their families -- especially since my sister-in-law Dana is an extraordinarily talented chef.  She is fixing everything except for the turkeys!  She jokes, "You might be going overboard with the holiday baking if you're actually wondering whether 20 pounds of flour is enough!"  Since I can't be there with them, I asked Dana to share some of her favorite holiday recipes.  

My daughter Lydia is making the carrot cake for Thanksgiving. (Update on November 26: Absolutely delicious!) Fortunately, Thad brought home some real maple syrup from his trip to New England last month! Enjoy!

Our menu for last year's Thanksgiving is here with several recipes linked to it.

Virginia Knowles

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups grated peeled carrots
  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • 2 Tbs minced peeled ginger
  • Nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and other spices as desired
  • 10 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 5 Tbs butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups 10X powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • Pecans for garnish

  1. Preheat to 350°F.
  2. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans.
  3. Line bottom of pans with waxed paper.
  4. Butter and flour paper; tap out excess flour.
  5. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in medium bowl to blend.
  6. Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended.
  7. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time.
  8. Add flour mixture and stir until blended.
  9. Stir in carrots, walnuts, ginger and other spices.
  10. Divide batter between prepared pans.
  11. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
  12. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes.
  13. Turn out onto racks.
  14. Peel off waxed paper; cool cakes completely.
  1. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy.
  2. Add powdered sugar and beat at low speed until well blended.
  3. Beat in maple syrup.
  4. Chill until just firm enough to spread, 30 minutes.

Redstone Cornbread with Maple Butter


  • ¾ cup cornmeal
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 7 oz creamed corn
  • ½ cup butter

Maple Butter: 
  • 1 lb butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup maple syrup


  1. Preheat to 400.
  2. Combine dry ingredients and add wet ingredients.
  3. Pour into greased 8” or 9” iron skillet or a square baking pan. Bake 35 minutes.
Maple Butter:
  1. Whip butter.
  2. Slowly drizzle maple syrup into mixture until well blended.

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