A Cookie Jar favorite! Alison Sweeney is not only a brilliant baker onscreen — but the Hallmark actress has created a tasty carrot cake recipe just for Us!
The Carrot Cake Murder: A Hannah Swensen Mystery star, 46, shared her special recipe exclusively with Us Weekly ahead of the premiere of her all-new Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film on Friday, May 19.
“My favorite recipe for a carrot cake comes from Jocelyn Adams aka “Grand Baby Cakes,” she told Us. “The pineapple makes all the difference!”
Sweeney, who first played baker and amateur sleuth Hannah Swensen in the Murder, She Baked movies from 2015 to 2017, reprised the role in August 2021.
At the time, she slipped back into character for the first installment of the revived Hannah Swensen Mystery franchise alongside Cameron Mathison, who portrays her now-fiancé Detective Mike Kingston.
“I love making those movies,” the A Magical Christmas Village actress exclusively told Us in October 2022, teasing the possibility of more crime-solving films. “I wish I could offer you some hint in that direction right now. I cannot, but believe me, I am a big fan of Hannah Swensen and if I can make that happen, I will.”
The Days of Our Lives alum called the baking-filled adventure movies her “favorites” to film.
In February, Hallmark Media gave fans — and Sweeney — what they wanted by announcing a second film in the Hannah Swensen Mystery catalog. A Carrot Cake Murder will once again follow a story from Joanne Fluke’s novels. (The Wedding Veil Journey star acquired the TV rights for the books ahead of the 2021 relaunch.)
“In this movie, the discovery of a skeleton amid the rubble of a building undergoing renovation reveals that one of Lake Eden’s beloved citizens is not who he claimed to be,” the synopsis reads, adding that Hannah will investigate the crime on her own in order to help “learn the victim’s true identity.”
Two days before the Carrot Cake Murder premiere, Sweeney confirmed that a third Hannah Swensen Mystery movie was greenlit by Hallmark Media.
The Open by Christmas actress — who is also an executive producer for the mystery franchise — will be back for A Zest for Death: A Hannah Swensen Mystery.
“I love this book from Joanne Fluke and its adaptation for TV because the mystery really leans into Hannah’s family dynamics, her sleuthing skills and her romantic relationships,” Sweeney said of the third installment in a Wednesday, May 17, press release.
Keep scrolling to learn how to whip up Sweeney’s delicious carrot cake — and watch A Carrot Cake Murder: A Hannah Swensen Mystery on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries on Friday, May 19, at 9 p.m. ET.
For the Cake
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour, usually has salt in it which is why it was omitted here but if you want a bit more you can add 1/4 tsp of salt as well
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste
4 large eggs
3 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1 cup chopped roasted walnuts optional
For the Frosting
1/2 cup unsalted butter
16 oz cream cheese somewhat softened but still a little stiff/ 16 oz is 2 (8 oz) packages
3 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar if you want the frosting more stiff, add another 1/2 cup going up to 4 cups total
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and baking soda and set aside.
Next line the bottoms of 3 9” inch round cake pans with parchment paper and lightly grease.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat sugar, oil and vanilla together at medium speed. Next add eggs, one at a time, blending after each incorporation.
Next slow down the mixer to the lowest speed and add the flour mixture in increments.
Fold in carrots, crushed pineapple if desired and walnuts if desired.
Evenly pour batter into cake pans.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool cake layers in pans for 10 minutes then flip cakes onto cooling racks to cool completely.
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For the Frosting
In a small saucepan, add butter and melt over medium heat. Once the butter has fully melted, a white foam will begin to appear over the top of the butter.
Watch carefully as the butter’s color changes to brown and the smell of the butter becomes somewhat nutty.
As soon as the butter is an amber-brown color, remove from heat and cool in the refrigerator until it the butter has become solid again (can take about an hour or so).
Add cooled brown butter and cream cheese to the bowl of your mixer and beat on high speed until it begins to thicken and fluff.
Next slow down mixer and carefully add in confectioner’s sugar. Once all sugar has incorporated, turn mixer back to high to continue whipping.
Add salt and vanilla extract and continue whipping until it is smooth.
Spread frosting between layers and around cake and serve.
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