I wouldn’t call myself a “baker”. I love to cook but baking has never really been my thing. Growing up baking was pretty limited to cakes from boxes, brownies from boxes, and Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies (I have the recipe on the back of the package memorized… seriously, try me). I think part of the reason I don’t bake much is my very limited self control when sweets are in my living space. I don’t have too much trouble turning them down at catered meetings or parties, but if they’re living with me… welllllll it’s not just a “one and done” kind of deal. Also, I’m not particularly precise in my cooking. I tend to eye ball ingredients, leave things out if I feel like it, and go on look / feel. This isn’t particularly conducive to highly scientific and precise baking. However, this winter I put on my Winter To Do List that I wanted to try my hand at two “new to me” desserts. My wonderful, devoted, Saint of a boyfriend turned 29 last Friday and I offered to bake him whatever he wanted as part of his gift. He asked for a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Hmmm cake from scratch ay? Alright, I’ll bite.
I used this recipe because I definitely didn’t trust myself to go without one. Here’s one thing about my kitchen though. Even though its MUCH bigger than my old kitchen… I don’t have a food processor. So I had to shred the carrots by hand with a cheese grater. You have to love someone a WHOLE BUNCH to shred three cups of carrots by hand (also almost the tips off several fingers.. duh). These pictures are meant to give you an accurate representation of what a disaster my kitchen became during the shredding process. No artsy cooking photos here my friends! Hurricane Carrot!
But once the carrots were shredded, things were moving very smoothly. Remember how I mentioned that I’m not particularly precise when cooking? Well I started thinking when adding the dry ingredients that this cake required a TON of ingredients. I was skeptical but shook it off thinking “carrot cake is really dense… so that’s probably why I need so much of everything.”
The batter also seemed runnier than usual to me but my cake experience is almost completely limited to box cakes so I figured I had little frame of reference. The recipe called for a 9 x 13 in pan but I accidentally left mine at a friend’s house over the holidays (FYI Sarah K… you have my 9 x 13 in glass pan…) So I used an 8 x 8 pan instead. I figured, “Oh whatever it’ll just be a thicker cake… more cake for me!” I started getting nervous though when the batter filled the pan almost up to the top. Rut roh. Then I looked back at the recipe. Holy GOD this cake makes 24 servings!!! How did I miss that? I couldn’t easily halved the recipe. Oh well… in the oven you go!
While I had a silent panic attack that the cake would bubble over in the over and set off my fire alarms, I whipped up the icing. Cream cheese icing is the BOMB.COM and it is SO easy to make. When I was young my mom would occasionally make butter cream icing from confectioners sugar and eggs but I remember that took FOREVER to “form peaks”. Whatever… No thanks.
Mercifully, the cake didn’t bubble over in the oven! However, it took approximately 100 years to cook all the way through. Lesson learned… one should really follow the directions. When the cake was FINALLY done, I let it cool overnight before extracting / icing.
I also wouldn’t say I have a particularly “gentle” touch either, so I had some trouble getting the cake out of the pan. I lost a little bit of it but was able to cover most of the damage with icing. Go me! Sprinkled with pecans and VOILA! Carrot Cake for my main man 🙂 And oh… my… GOD… It was amazing. It was so dense and sweet though, both of us could only manage a small piece. We will literally be eating carrot cake for the rest of our lives. I did put a large chunk of the cake in the freezer for a certain someone (cough cough Sarah Jenkins cough cough) who will be visiting in a few weeks 🙂
Also… how could you not love this guy? He and Fig had a dance party while I was baking. We were listening to Songza (which is an awesome app if you don’t already use it) and the occasion Mike selected was “Getting Ready to Go Out” (even though we were going absolutely no where because we’re not cool enough to go on Thursdays anymore), the station was titled “Vodka Jams… Ladies Be Pre-gamin”. Love ❤