What IS it about this last month of summer? All of a sudden there's a whirl of accidents, openings, last minute plunges into a social life of sorts, sidesteps, and the pleasure of watching the little ones grow and blossom. Walking into a silent house, I never knew my beloved Domino made so much noise with her greetings, her mouse chases in the night, her rumbling purr of welcome, her cranky days. Life marches on, without her. Old photos pop up of my father, and a few of me in my twenties, twitching me off guard. I would never trade who I am now, for who I was then. And having a 6 year old and an 18 month old around now and then centers you right properly, until you break a toe taking a photograph of a stunning violet twilight sky. Which explanation had the doctor laughing.
On my daughter's birthday, she requested our favorite cake: freshly shredded carrots, pinch of cinnamon, a mound of our favorite cream cheese frosting with the zing of fresh lemon juice, and once again, all was right in the world. We feasted on rosemary chicken, roasted potatoes, and shredded golden beets and romaine salad, and laughed a lot. So many blessings. If you've never made this cake, you're in for a treat.
I made this in an 8"x 8" square pan, but doubled the recipe and used 3 six inch round cake pans for the birthday cake, which promptly fell over. My advice is to stick with two 8 inch round cake pans if you double the recipe.
The Carrot Cake:
Grease an 8"x8" square pan with shortening. Press a long piece of waxed paper into the pan, leaving a good 4 or 5 inches of wax paper overhanging. This will assure you can remove the cake without it sticking, badly. Grease the waxed paper as well and set aside.
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola or light olive oil
1 1/4 cups King Arthur flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots ( I use the fine grater cone that came with my KitchenAid mixer)
In mixer bowl, beat the eggs and sugar and canola oil.
Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and carrots.
Scrape into the pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake bounces back when gently pressed in the middle. Remove to cooling rack for 15 minutes.
Run a dull knife around the sides of the cake pan, then gently lift the cake out by the waxed paper overhangs. Remove to another cooling rack until completely cooled. The frosting will melt if the cake is not completely cool.
The cream cheese frosting:
1 large package of cream cheese , room temperature
1 stick of soft unsalted butter
juice of a lemon
1 box confectioner's sugar (3 cups)
Whip ingredients well in mixer bowl . Fit a pastry bag with a star tip and fill the pastry bag, then pipe away. You can also use a knife or spatula to spread the frosting. You will have some frosting left over, maybe. It freezes very well, but because it's so amazingly delicious, you probably won't have any left over.
Happy End of Summer!