We celebrated Jeffrey and my brother’s birthdays yesterday. Yes, they share the same birthday…many years apart. I remember sitting on the couch dreading each new contraction while my family celebrated my brother’s birthday with big juicy rib eye steaks off the grill. The meal was cut short when I “exclaimed” through gritted teeth, “I think I need to go to the hospital, you (referring to my brother) will have to take your birthday cake home.” That was twenty-two years ago. Wow, time flies.
The tradition of celebrating every birthday with Wes’s delicious carrot cake would not exist if not for a college girlfriend (his roommate’s), a classmate’s birthday and a bag of carrots. After finding a lone bag of carrots in their fridge, John’s girlfriend decided to bake a carrot cake for their classmate’s birthday. Thus began a long and beautiful friendship between Wes and carrot cake. He can’t recall the girlfriend’s name or for that matter the classmate whose birthday they celebrated. But luckily he jotted down her recipe and the rest is as they say, history. Over the years he has modified the recipe to his liking. Out went the nuts and shredded coconut, in went dark raisins. He doubled the luscious cream cheese frosting, you can never have too much frosting, and cut down the sugar in it to temper the sweetness. This is a classic American cake; spicy, moist, sweet, peppered with pineapple and raisins and finished off with a buttery sweet cream cheese frosting. YUM.
This is a one bowl recipe. That’s how simple and easy this cake is. And yet, whenever I try my hand at it, it just never tastes as good. Wes pulls out an old goldenrod tupperware bowl (yes goldenrod, circa 1987), a whisk and a grater to make his signature cake. That’s about it. The carrots are grated on the small holes of the grater. He likes a denser cake and will often throw the pineapple in without draining. For a drier, lighter texture cake drain the pineapple. This recipe can be baked in a 9×13 rectangular cake, in 2-2 x 9 inch circular pans or in muffin tins to make cupcakes. If you like nuts go ahead and throw some in. Tips for the cream cheese frosting: don’t overbeat the frosting after adding the powdered sugar. This will cause the frosting to lose its structure. Start with slightly softened butter but not warm, whip the butter first, add the cream cheese and continue to whip the two until light and creamy before adding the sugar. Once the sugar is added, beat just long enough to fully incorporate the sugar and then STOP.
So there you have it, hubby’s two favorite recipes, Good Cookies and Carrot Cake. I hope you’ll try them, both are absolutely delicious. In fact….
I think I will go have a slice of cake right now.
Happy Birthday Anson and Jeffrey!
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3/4 cup low fat buttermilk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups grated carrots (use small holes of grater)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 small can (8oz) crushed pineapple (in pineapple juice)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1 8-ounce brick of cream cheese
- 1 stick (4oz) salted butter
- ~3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350. Rack should be in center of oven
- Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan.
- Beat oil, eggs and sugar together in a large bowl
- Combine the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda in a small bowl
- Add the dry ingredients to the oil-egg mixture along with the rest of the ingredients and stir with a whisk until well mixed.
- Pour into pan and bake for 45-50 minutes.
- Bake for 60 minutes if using the 10 inch round cake pan.
- Bake for 25 minutes if making cupcakes.
- Cake is done when the top is a rich golden brown, a tester should come out with just a few crumbs and relatively clean.
- Using a mixer, on medium speed beat butter until softened and slightly creamy.
- Add cream cheese and vanilla, beat until well incorporated and mixture is light and creamy
- Sift sugar over mixture and mix until combined and to desired consistency. Don't overbeat!
- Use 11/2 recipe of frosting for 9x13 cake, single layer or cupcakes
- For two layer cake double frosting recipe