Shrimp Cakes

Forget cupcakes and cake flavored vodka (all great things!), I’ll take shrimp cakes.  They just might be one of the most crispy, delicious bites you’ll eat, especially if you make them yourself.  And I’ll never have a pre-made crab cake again.

So maybe that’s a bit drastic, but this all started last week when dinner was in the oven, an hour or so away from being served, and Jan was rummaging around the kitchen for an appetizer for us.  I asked if we had any crab cakes, because on occasion, we’ll buy frozen crab cakes as an appetizer to serve with a Sriracha-spiced mayo/yogurt sauce and lemon wedges.  After a quick look in the freezer, Jan told me that we did not have any crab cakes, to which I said “OK.”  It was just a suggestion, after all, and we had plenty of cheeses to make a mini plate, or some other “fast” foods to rustle up. Continue reading

Battle of the Birthday Cakes

It seems that everyone has a cake they prefer to get on their birthday, and in our family, it’s come down to two frontrunners, one a flashy store-bought treat, the other a homemade favorite. In one corner, we’ve got what we call the “choo-choo-train cake” from Baskin Robbins. Many of you might remember this cake from your childhood: chocolate cake and ice-cream (usually strawberry or vanilla flavor) rolled into a cylinder and decorated to look like a train. Large cookies form the wheels, an upside-down cone forms the smoke stack, and the rest of the details are created with large quantities of frosting. Continue reading

Will work for carrot cake

I’ve had a few requests for the carrot cake I made for St. Patrick’s Day (I didn’t know what an appropriate Irish dessert would be, and carrot cake seemed festive enough at the time). Jan’s coworker Ken loved it so much I decided to make it for a yard clean-up party/barbeque he was hosting, hoping that would get me out of doing any yard work. Besides, I was arriving with Jan, chainsaw and chaps in tow, so I think that together, we were covered.

This recipe is adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, and it turns out so moist and carrot-ey. I’ve toned down the sweetness of the cake, and the frosting tastes like pure cheesecake.

Favorite Carrot Cake

4 eggs (let sit at room temperature for half-an-hour)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1.5 cups granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 cups finely shredded carrots, lightly packed (make sure carrot is finely grated or it will sink to the bottom during baking)

3/4 cup cooking oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease and flour a 13x9x2 pan. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, combine beaten eggs, carrots, and oil, then add to the bowl of dry ingredients. Pour into a pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool, keep in the pan. While the cake is cooling, prepare the frosting.

1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla

1.5 cups powdered sugar

Combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer. Gradually add the powdered sugar. When the cake is cool, frost (don’t do this too soon while the cake is still warm or the frosting will melt). Top with chopped pecans. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.