My twin grandchildren turn two today, and I got to make the cake for their party yesterday. They don’t eat sweets often, so they were pretty excited. The recipe seems like a good fit for a Monday Meals blog post today.
A little controversy preceded the choice of cake. Among the adults, that is, not the twins. My husband and son are particularly fond of Best Chocolate Cake from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook. It’s their perennial request for their birthdays. A few weeks ago, I baked one for my daughter’s birthday, and the babies (as I’m still wont to call them) enjoyed having some. My husband and son were convinced that if I didn’t bake this favorite for the little ones that the little ones would be disappointed. (Whose actual disappointment were they worried about?)
I replied that if you’ve tasted cake only a few times in your whole life, there’s no way you’re going to be “disappointed” in whatever cake you’re given. I fixated on carrot cake, another specialty of mine that I don’t get to prepare often, since Betty Crocker’s chocolate cake has elbowed everything else out.
To be clear, my interest in carrot cake has nothing to do with health and wellness. I wasn’t thinking carrot cake would be good for the kidders. I like it, I like making it, we haven’t had it for quite a while, and my son-in-law is especially fond of carrot cake. So that’s what I made.
This recipe came from a home-ec teacher at Lake High School in Hartville, where I taught forty years ago. It’s easy, although I’ve complicated it a tiny bit. There are also similar versions online, like this one. The shortcut is that you use baby food carrots instead of grating actual carrots.
Ruth Kardos’s Carrot Cake
Grease and flour 9 X 13 inch pan. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Sift or whisk together: Beat together: 2 cups flour 4 eggs 2 teaspoons soda 2 cups sugar 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1 cup vegetable oil 1/2 teaspoon salt 12 ounces baby-food or junior carrots Add liquid ingredients on right to dry ingredients on left and beat thoroughly. (Add 1 cup walnuts and 3/4 cup raisins if you like. I never do.) Pour batter into pan. Bake about 50 minutes in 300 degree oven. Let cool before frosting.
My revision is to add an actual grated carrot or two to the batter. I like seeing actual strands of carrot in the cake, and it adds to the texture and moisture. The salt is also my addition to the recipe.
For the frosting, beat together one pound of confectioners sugar (sifted if it’s lumpy), a quarter cup (one half stick) of softened butter, two teaspoons vanilla, and one package (eight ounces) softened cream cheese until smooth. Schmear all over the top of the cooled cake.
The target audience seemed to enjoy the “happy birthday cake.” Daddy’s quiches plus Mommy’s scones plus Grandma’s cake provided energy to play with the new toys, like this raceway from Uncle Doug:
What’s the best cake at your house?