Carrot Cake 101

A couple of years ago I was gifted a fantastic cookbook called “Flour”. It is based on a bakery in Boston called Flour Bakery (duh). I love this book. I’ve made many of the recipes. I even went and found the bakery in Boston. Like all pilgrimages, there was a little bit of let-down (what? you aren’t impressed that I have your cookbook and love it? I’m not the first person to come in and want to chat about it?) – but in the end I felt validated. Croissants have a way of validating me.
My two go-to recipes are the banana bread and the carrot cake.
My two biggest fails from the book are the granola bar cookies and the chocolate almond dacquoise. That’s another story.

I made the carrot cake this weekend. Try it. People will hug you for it.

As always – here’s the recipe and the visual. You know I like pictures.

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Notice I added raisins. My man likes raisins. What can I say.

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Sift the flour, baking soda and powder, salt and cinnamon. My “sifter” is a strainer that I warped in the dish washer. Just an fyi.
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Cream the oil, sugar and eggs. 

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Add your carrots. Please don’t use the pre-shredded ones. They are covered in some sort of nuclear coating so they don’t stick together. But that coating also make it impossible for them to soften in the cake. So go old school and shred by hand. 
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Add vanilla. This is a homemade bottle my little bitty sister gave me a while ago. I keep adding store bought vanilla and trying to extend the life. Poor me. If only SOMEONE would make me more. Anyhoo.

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Add raisins if you want to or if you’re maritally committed to.
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Combine the dry and wet ingredients.

Divide amongst your pans. If you are are suspicious of non-stick pans like I am – add some non-stick spray. Otherwise, be normal and healthy and skip this step. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes .
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I forgot to add pecans to the ingredients photo. So sorry. These very very important. Toast a cup and let cool.
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Then using a highly evolved Ziploc bag/bottom of a plastic bowl method – pound them into pieces.
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Make the frosting by creaming butter, powdered sugar, vanilla (poor poor me) and cream cheese together in an empty kitchen, better to do multiple tastings.
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Frost between layers and frost. You only have to make the top look pretty. 
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Take the pecans and use them like Spanx all around the cake. They push and tuck all the unruly bits into place. You have a tight, toned and together cake. 
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Refrigerate for an hour before serving and then sit back and accept all the love. 

Just another Scorpio Sunday

I’m a Gemini mom married to a Cancer dad livin’ in a Scorpio world with my two kiddies.  My oldest, my goldest, turned 14 today. Gulp.  I know she doesn’t want me to post about her, but I have to. It’s a blogging law.

So in 1998, at 5am ish I woke my hubby up. He was sleeping on the couch because we’d had a fight and I needed the entire queen mattress to myself to get over it…..we walked down our railroad apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan (passing uncle Larry as he was about to walk Gracie).  We hailed a cab and headed to Lenox Hill Hospital – about 10 blocks South of us. My water broke in the cab but the driver had us there in 5 minutes (we tipped big for the clean up!).

She was born shortly after, the first grandkid for both our families. There have been lots of great moments in between, each worthy of its own post. Like when she was a few months old and I fell asleep feeding her on the couch and dropped her, or when she ate so much cake at her 1st birthday party that she passed out from the sugar high, or when everyone told me she was turning yellow from all the baby food and I told them it was just her skin tone. Good times.

Smart, Beautiful, Funny, and most importantly ours!

9 year old pumpkin

On October 25, 2003, I had planned on waking up and going pumpkin picking with my little girl.

Instead we welcomed a little pumpkin of our own.

 

You’ll be shocked to know that he was just perfect.

He slept for most of his first year of life. Went in at 7pm and woke up sometimes at 8am (no joke).

When he was awake he just stared at you with that face. And those eyes. It was killer. Still is.

 

Then the hyper speed went into effect.

He grew and grew and grew. Notice the curls. The perfect, insane curls.

 

 

And grew

 

Cut to today.

Cake for breakfast with a 9-year-old silly, funny, happy but sleepy boy. Two seconds after this picture was taken, and right before he blew out this candle, he lifted his leg and farted. True story.

 

 

 

this and that and this

this….

My girl and her good friends from our old town. That’s the Justin Bieber wall behind them. The Biebs, the Biebster. They love him. Who am I to judge, I have posters of mandolins and pies on my wall. And that’s them making strange faces without me asking them to. Had to share with the world.

that….

Look at this cake. This cake was made by a good friend (mother of the Bieber girls above) for her little boy who loves George Washington. Not LEGO George Washington….just plain old George! His working-full-time-and-raising-4-kids mom whipped up a homemade cake with Mt.Vernon on it for his birthday. I could cry thinking about that. She’s like a superhero.

and this…

The girls went to the boardwalk and decided to brave a scary, puke-inducing, ride. Look at my brave, crazy girl to the left – smiling and excited. Look at her two pals to the right – having normal reactions – gripping the handles and saying the lord’s prayer. I love this picture. That’s my girl in a nutshell.

Happy 4th!

We’ve been driving up and down the East Coast in the last few days having some fun in the very hot sun.  We made it back today just in time (ok a little late) for our neighbor’s annual Independence day bash!  This is what I’m bringing.  Homemade?  Not really.  But I did chop up the strawberries myself.

Hope your holiday is filled with fun and fireworks – and some store bought coconut cake.

40 is the new black

At 10 I was living in Albany,NY with my parents enjoying my last year as an only child, having as much fun as I could, happy as a clam.

At 20 I was in NYC, going to college, shacked up with my boyfriend, his family became my family, my friends were my life, I was completely clueless and again, happy as a clam.

At 30 I was married to that boy, we moved out of NYC, we had our first house, our first baby, and absolutely no idea of how we were going to make it, and I really was happy as a clam.

At 40 I am still shacked up with that same boy (legally),  we have another house, in another town, 2 punky kids that are surrounded by love (thanks to our unstoppable family and friends), and, well, you know. Clam. Happy. Me.

Cake for breakfast

 You know those families that have dinner every night at 6?  That has never been us.  My husband walks in the door at 7:30pm on most nights – if we’re lucky.  When the kids were younger we lived even further from his job.  He’d leave at 6am and walk in the door at 9pm.  If someone had a birthday during the week – cake for breakfast was the only way to celebrate.  Since then we’ve done it whether we needed to or not.

I guess the other option would have been to not have cake at all – but that’s just crazy.  What are we, savages?

ps – that shirt fit him the night before this picture was taken.  Also – she requested the store bought cake – I swear.

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