SMS - Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting PLUS St. Patrick's Day Irish Soda Bread with smoke salmon and chive butter

Sweet Melissa Sunday is Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting by Julie of A Little Bit of Everything.

The only part of the recipe I altered was adding pecans instead of walnuts. We love pecans in this house . . . okay, I LOVE pecans in this house.

The recipe was simple and easy to put together. I learned a couple of interesting points for myself. First, I was worried about the 1 1/2 Tablespoons of cinnamon called for in the recipe for the cake along with the orange zest from a whole orange in the frosting. The cinnamon in carrot cake was not a dominate flavor. Just the opposite for us; kind of like a nice mellow addition. The orange zest definitely shows up as an accompaniment to the carrot cake but compliments to our taste bud thinking. I have been baking carrot cakes for over 20 years and never would have thought to add quite that much of either ingredient.

The third point that interested me was the butter, flour, parchment. Yes, I always butter and flour my pans but for parchment, my combo is to use shortening then parchment (the shortening keeping the parchment in place) then shortening on the parchment for easy release. Melissa had us butter, flour then parchment - the process was done. I liked it and the process worked perfectly!

The last surprise I wanted to mention was the top crust on the carrot cake. The crusty shell was a bit alarming to me but once the cake is assembled, the cake tasted great with no texture issues. Hubby thought this was the best carrot cake he ever had. . . which almost got a pillow thrown at him because I thought my go to carrot cake recipe was pretty darn amazing.

Thank you Julie for a wonderful choice for this week! To get the recipe and check out Julie's own perfect carrot cake, go to Julie's blog.

I thought adding a quick, versatile bread nibbling, appetizer accepting recipe would be a nice end to this post. If you like whole caraway seeds, then add the ingredient as a whole seed. I do not, so grind my caraway seeds in a coffee grinder set at espresso. The small grinder is kept just for grinding spices in a hurry =o).

Irish Soda Bread:
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, ground up (I use a coffee grinder for my seasoning grinding)
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Put the oatmeal into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Pour into a bowl and add the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and ground caraway seeds. Stir well to combine. Pour the buttermilk in and stir quickly until well combined. Shape the dough into a round about 6 inches in diameter and put onto a baking sheet. Place into the top half of the oven and bake 30 to 40 minutes, until lightly brown on top. When tapped, the bread will give off a firm, hollow sound. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Chive Cream Cheese butter

4 T. butter, softened

4 T. cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon chopped chives
8 ounces smoked salmon, sliced

(optional) garnish with dill sprigs

Slice the soda bread into thin slices, about 1/4-inch, and cut each slice into a rough 2-inch square until you have 16 pieces. Wrap the remaining bread in plastic wrap and store in a cool dry place. Mix the butter, cream cheese and chives together and spread a small amount onto each square. Top with a small fold of salmon and (optional) garnish with a sprig of fresh dill.


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