The other Sunday when we had dinner at our friends’ house and I was charged with bringing dessert, I took carrot cake.
I hardly ever make carrot cake. Actually, I hardly ever make lots of desserts. There are so many good desserts that it takes me months, sometimes years, to cycle round and make a repeat visit. This is the problem with variety.
I like to think of myself as consistently making certain desserts. Sweet rolls, for instance. I want my kids to grow up with abundant memories of fresh-from-the-oven sweet rolls. But truth is, I only make them several times a year. It’s kind of sad.
The same is true with pie. I go through dry pie spells, sometimes not making pie for weeks on end. But I wish pie were more of a staple in our home. Pie-filled homes feel so much more wholesome and cozy.
Fact is, one can only eat so many desserts (and some people say its actually healthier to not eat them too often, can you imagine?), and these days, my kitchen time is spent trying to knock out nourishing, well-rounded, tummy-filling meals and all the accoutrements. Out of necessity, pie crusts and glazed, yeasted goodies have taken a backseat.
But I did make carrot cake. Actually, I made two. (And this, after telling you that I don’t make many desserts. I’ll understand if you decide to never believe a word that comes out of my mouth.) I had first tried a new (ie., not my mom’s) recipe to see if there was something better out there, something with less sugar and oil, perhaps, or a maybe a bigger wallop of spice.
The newbie cake was good, but nothing special. So for the dinner we were going to, I reverted back to the good old carrot cake I grew up with. Perfection, it was. I don’t know why I ever strayed.
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
The only difference I’ve made from my mom’s recipe is that I use currants instead of raisins. I prefer their less obtrusive and evenly dispersed bits of chewy sweetness.
2 cups flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ scant teaspoon salt
1 cup canola oil
3 cups grated carrots
3/4 cup currants
Mix together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil and eggs. Whisk the egg-oil mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir in the carrots and currants.
Divide the batter between two greased and wax paper-lined 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 50-55 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before running a table knife around the edge of the pan and flipping the cakes out onto a cooling rack. Peel off the wax paper. When the cakes are completely cool, ice with cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter
3 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat until creamy. Spread on cake.