Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Carrot cake monkey bread (homemade and store-bought dough versions)

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

Carrot cake is a classic Easter dessert. In fact, I’ve made several variations for the holiday in years past. This year I’m putting an entirely new spin on it by making carrot cake monkey bread.

Most people make traditional carrot cake with carrots and a combination of warm spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. I also like to make my carrot cake with pineapple and pecans. This monkey bread encompasses those flavors but in a unique form.

So what is monkey bread? Monkey bread is a cake formed from pieces of dough coated in cinnamon and sugar, covered with a sugary sauce, and baked in a bundt pan. You eat it with your hands, just like a monkey. Most people serve it as a sweet breakfast treat or as a dessert.


I’ve made several variations of monkey bread in the past, including a blueberry lemon monkey bread and a pineapple upside down cake monkey bread, using store-bought biscuit dough. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! But with this variation, I really wanted the carrot cake flavors to stand out in the individual pieces, so I made the dough from scratch. But don't worry! I still included a recipe with store-bought dough.

There are a few differences between the version with the homemade dough and the version with the store-bought dough. The homemade dough is an enriched dough meaning it has fat and sugar. It is important to add the butter after the structure is established, otherwise the gluten network may not properly develop.

In the store-bought version, I can't incorporate the carrots into the dough, so instead, I scattered the carrots across the dough in the bundt pan with the crushed pineapple and pecan filling. Another difference: the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves are mixed in with the orange zest/sugar coating in the store-bought version.


Once your dough is ready, the process moves quickly. I like to set up an assembly line with my bowl of dough, melted butter, sugar coating, and bundt pan. Just dip the dough in the melted butter, then the sugar, and then place it in the bundt pan. Repeat the process with half the dough. Then add the pineapple and pecan mixture, and continue the assembly line with the rest of the dough.


Before baking the dough, I made a simple sauce by combining melted butter, brown sugar, and juice from the can of crushed pineapple. I poured it all over the top of the dough which will allow it to seep through to the bottom and coat each piece as it bakes.


Carrot cake isn't complete without cream cheese frosting! I used Challenge cream cheese for this recipe because I know they use hormone-free milk from local dairies, resulting in all-natural and high-quality products. 


Carrot cake monkey bread with homemade dough

Yield: 10 servings

Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 1 cup (240 grams) whole milk, lukewarm
  • 2 eggs (100 grams), beaten, room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups (540 grams) bread flour
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (7 grams) instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (9 grams) salt 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) Challenge unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c (200 grams) carrots, grated

For the coating

For the filling

  • 8 ounces crushed pineapple, drained but juice reserved for sauce and frosting
  • 1/2 cup (65 grams) pecans, chopped

For the sauce

  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) Challenge unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup reserved juice from can of crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup (213 grams) brown sugar

For the frosting

  • 4 ounces Challenge cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (57 grams) confectioner's sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons reserved juice from can of crushed pineapple
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

For the dough

  1. Combine milk and eggs in large mixing bowl. Add bread flour, sugar, yeast, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
  2. Knead everything together, using a mixer or by hand, to form a smooth ball of dough. Mix on first speed for 5 minutes to combine the ingredients, increase to second speed until dough develops and pulls away from sides of bowl. This may take up to 10 minutes. Dough will be sticky, but it should pull away from sides of bowl. If it doesn't, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time.
  3. Add half of butter on first speed and mix 2-3 minutes or until fully incorporated. Add remaining butter and mix on second speed 4-5 minutes until fully incorporated and dough “sheets” when window is pulled.
  4. Add carrots and mix until evenly distributed throughout dough.
  5. Place dough in oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let double in volume at room temperature, around 90 minutes to 2 hours. 
  6. De-gas dough and transfer onto pastry mat or lightly floured surface. 

For the coating and the filling

  1. Prepare bundt pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Mix sugar and orange zest.
  3. Create assembly line with melted butter, sugar mixture, and bundt pan.
  4. Divide dough in half. Starting with first half, cut off small sections about 25 grams in size and shape into balls.
  5. Dip 1 ball in butter, then sugar mixture, then place in bundt pan. Repeat with remaining pieces from first half of dough.
  6. Mix pineapple and pecans and spread evenly over dough in bundt pan.
  7. Repeat dough assembly line with second half of dough until there is no more dough.
  8. Cover top of bundt pan with plastic wrap and rest for 20 minutes.

For the sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Heat butter, pineapple juice and brown sugar until mixture comes to boil.
  3. Remove plastic wrap from bundt pan and pour sauce over dough.
  4. Transfer bundt pan into oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Or until golden brown on top. If top browns too quickly, cover with aluminum foil. Double check to see if dough is cooked through by testing with thermometer. Inside should register between 190 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto serving platter.

For the frosting

  1. Beat together cream cheese with sugar, pineapple juice, and salt until smooth.
  2. Once monkey bread is cool, pipe frosting down sides of monkey bread.
  3. Serve monkey bread with any extra frosting for dipping.



Carrot cake monkey bread with store-bought dough

Yield: 10 servings

Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Ingredients

For the rolls

  • 24 frozen dinner rolls, thawed, or 2 (16 ounce) cans refrigerated biscuit dough
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) Challenge unsalted butter, melted

For the filling

  • 1 1/2 c (200 grams) carrots, grated
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapple, drained but juice reserved for sauce and frosting
  • 1/2 cup (65 grams) pecans, chopped

For the sauce

  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) Challenge unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup reserved juice from can of crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup (213 grams) brown sugar

For the frosting

  • 4 ounces Challenge cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (57 grams) confectioner's sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons reserved juice from can of crushed pineapple
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

For the rolls

  1. Prepare bundt pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Cut each roll or biscuit into 4 pieces and shape into ball.
  3. Mix sugar, orange zest, and spices.
  4. Create assembly line with melted butter, sugar mixture, and bundt pan.
  5. Dip 1 dough ball in butter, then sugar mixture, then place in bundt pan. Repeat with half of dough balls.

For the filling

  1. Mix carrots, pineapple and pecans and spread evenly over dough in bundt pan.
  2. Repeat dough assembly line with second half of dough balls. 

For the sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Heat butter, pineapple juice and brown sugar until mixture comes to boil.
  3. Pour sauce over dough in bundt pan.
  4. Transfer bundt pan into oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Or until golden brown on top. If top browns too quickly, cover with aluminum foil. Double check to see if dough is cooked through by testing with thermometer. Inside should register between 190 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto serving platter.

For the frosting

  1. Beat together cream cheese with sugar, pineapple juice, and salt until smooth.
  2. Once monkey bread is cool, pipe frosting down sides of monkey bread.
  3. Serve monkey bread with any extra frosting for dipping.







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