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Finding Harmony Recipe of the Week: Celebration Carrot Cake!

May 24, 2014

 

P1050599Two weeks ago we had a magical weekend celebrating my daughter’s graduation from grad school with her masters in earth sciences.

P1050616She studied the impacts of changing human population densities on biodiversity in forest patches, especially between urban and suburban or forest areas. Specifically carabid beetles, who became her friends for the last two years.

P1050588We also celebrated Mother’s day—the first mother’s day for our two daughters with babies. The obvious quip is two are working on their mother’s degrees, and one got her masters. Much much to be thankful for!

P1050622P1050620So this took a special cake that I had never made before. Carrot cake. Blogging friend and nearby neighbor Jennifer over at Mama’s Minutia had shared HER mother’s never fail recipe here. I like carrot cake because it is probably the only cake that can claim to serve up a healthy amount of Vitamin A along with the sugar and carbs.

carrotcake1

I knew that Doreen liked carrot cake and that she would enjoy it more than a store-bought decorated cake with tons of icing. So for her quick after-grad party lunch, we had homemade cake and store bought Jimmy John’s sandwiches, chips and veggies, shared in a motel suite. Easiest grad party ever, for me. And finished celebrating with dinner out that night at a fav spot Doreen had found with some friends.

I adapted Jennifer and Shirley’s cake only in the raisin and topping department: I knew Doreen didn’t like raisins much so I lowered that quantity to ¼ cup, and for frosting, put slivered almonds on top for a slightly festive look without lots of globby decorations. My main learning was that I think I should have left the cream cheese at refrigerator temperature than room temperature to whip it, because it was a little less firm than ideal.

But. It. Was. Good. So good I didn’t get great pictures of plated pieces, but oh well. (See Jennifer’s pretty pictures here.) I made the 2 cake layers at home, froze them, and put them in a picnic thermos for the 5 hour trip, then frosted them at my daughter’s house. TIP: I always freeze cake layers before frosting them as it makes that job go much easier in my opinion.

P1050630

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from Jennifer Murch)

2 cups flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ scant teaspoon salt
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs
3 cups grated carrots
¼ cup raisins (Jennifer says she prefers currants and used ¾ cup)

Mix together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil and eggs. Whisk the egg-oil mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir in the carrots and raisins.

carrotcake1[Melodie’s addition: I cheated on grating the carrots. I bought one bag of grated carrots and chopped them finer with my very small food chopper. That worked great.]

carrotcake4

Divide the batter between two greased and wax paper-lined 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 50-55 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before running a table knife around the edge of the pan and flipping the cakes out onto a cooling rack. Peel off the wax paper. When the cakes are completely cool, ice with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter
3 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat until creamy. Spread on cake.

***

For a podcast of a radio interview I did with Jennifer a few years ago, go here.

***

And a few more weekend photos here:

P1050586Doreen’s cat, left at home, wonders why she can’t go to grad, too.

 P1050623Sam, Tanya, James and Doreen unwinding in the motel room.

P1050625Sam has graduated to sitting up. Yay Sam!

 

 

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From → Family Life, Food, Recipes

8 Comments
  1. Carrot cake has been my husband’s favorite, and I hae often baked a similar recipe with cream cheese frosting for his birthday. It’s still his favorite cake, but I’m not much into baking any more though I enjoy (vicariously) the results of your baking skills. Nice compilation of family photos too!

  2. Trying to come up with dishes/recipes to share on the blog has given me new impetus in cooking, since the empty nest isn’t too inspiring on that account, right?

  3. Next time try toasted chopped pecans on top. I don’t know that I’ve ever eaten carrot cake for the
    Vitamin A–thank you for happy slant.

    • I have been away — can you tell! I think toasted chopped pecans on this sound great–but why toast them? Do you really think that adds a lot of flavor? Too often I burn nuts in that process. ??

      • THAT happy slant, I should’ve said. Toast them please. In the oven.

  4. oh, never did it that way.Good idea.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Another Way to Fix Cucumber Salad | findingharmonyblog
  2. Cooking with Lizzy, Part 3: Whatever happened to the perfect carrot birthday cake | findingharmonyblog

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