My cake molds are commanding structures. They’re stacked in front of our mirror like miniature skyscrapers. Sometimes I forget they’re even for baking. They remind me of Metropolis and charcoal cityscapes. Maybe if I baked more, they wouldn’t remind me so much of an urban underbelly.
This is not to say I’m not a good baker. There’s a long history of baking in my family. On Friday nights, my mom and I baked cinnamon buns, pound cake and cupcakes to sell in front of the house the next morning. My dad sat in the living room, watching Frontline and listening to us crack eggs in the background. The next morning I got out my chalkboard and set up my stand, complete with daffodils and doilies.
In the afternoon my dad emerged from his studio to see how business was going. He stood on the stoop and cheered “home baked!” Eventually I shooed him inside, too embarrassed to have him pitch my baked goods from the top step. I sat back down in a huff and my mom always laughed.
My bake sales went on for years. In the summer, I entered the Topsham Fair Baking Contest. We always baked from scratch. Even now when I’m on the phone with my aunt and mention that I’m baking something, she immediately lowers her voice and asks “but not out of a box right?” Before I reassure her, I imagine she coils the phone cord and hugs the wall a bit. “No, Aunt Anne, I don’t.”
I baked a carrot cake this weekend for my friend’s birthday and our Oscars Party. I don’t like carrot cakes that are overly stuffed with raisins and nuts. My carrot cake is not a confused fruit cake, damn it! I didn’t add any walnuts or raisins to mine. It was incredibly moist and spongy. I covered it in a cream cheese frosting that I still have in my fridge. I like to dip strawberries in it for breakfast. I imagine this is something Jean Dujardin would enjoy as well. I digress but I still swoon.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups oil
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups grated carrots
Note: My sugar, carrots, flour and eggs were all organic.
- Sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and baking powder.
- Mix sugar, oil and eggs.
- Combine flour and grated carrot with wet mixture.
- Grease and flour baking pans.
- Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Remove from pans and let cool.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 8 oz organic cream cheese, room temperature
- 4 oz organic butter, room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Mix cream cheese and butter until light and creamy.
- Gradually add sugar and vanilla extract. Mix until airy.
- After frosting the cake, refrigerate.
I plan on making this cake again soon. It pairs well with white wine. Maybe when Zeke wins Brooklyn’s Mutt Show at the end of March, he’ll get to taste some too.