Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Carrot Cake

My paternal grandmother passed away when I was 5 years old.  My memories are few-the coziness of her lap, the smell of powder on her skin, and her most amazing rice pudding. It’s hard for me to know what parts of my physical self I got from her but what I know are hers, and am proud to carry on, are her recipes.  One of them is the best carrot cake ever made.  It’s my dad’s favorite cake and I have been making it for his birthday (and other dad honoring occasions) for years.  It is really easy to make and the only thing I have modified is the frosting because in our family (save my mother, who does not like cream cheese frosting.  I know...), we liked to be slapped in the face with cream cheese flavor when we take the first bite.  Nana’s frosting was much more subtle and cream cheesy in a very polite way, a reflection of her refined English heritage I suppose.  I have Americanized it and taken it to the extreme because that’s just what we do here.  

Here’s the recipe:
Carrot Cake
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups grated raw carrots
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon,  and allspice and set aside. In a mixer, combine oil, eggs, and vanilla.  Add sugar to mix and combine.  Add sifted dry ingredients and continue mix until combined.  Lastly fold in carrots and nuts. Pour into to buttered round cake pans and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and not gooey in the center.
When the cakes are cooled, you  can whip up the frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Two 8 ounce bricks of cream cheese
1 pound of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat the cream cheese with the vanilla until light and fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar little by little and continue to beat until desired sweetness and creamy consistency are obtained.  Frost away!
***if this is too cream cheesy for you (gasp) you can sub some of the cream cheese with butter.  It will cut the sharpness, but maintain the richness and texture. 



Note:  These flowers are Nasturtiums and are completely edible. They grow really well here in Southern California.  I planted these about 5 years ago and they have come back every Spring all on their own.  



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